Sunday, February 28, 2021

SBI Funds seeks SC nod to distribute Franklin’s Rs 9,122 crore to unitholders

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The apex court had on February 2 entrusted the SBI Mutual Funds to carry out the disbursement of money to 3 lakh investors of the six debt MFs in “proportion to their respective interest in the assets of the scheme” within 20 days.

SBI Funds Management, an asset management company of SBI MF, on Monday moved the Supreme Court seeking permission to submit the mechanism for distribution of Rs 9,122 crore to the unitholders of the six mutual fund schemes of Franklin Templeton (FT) Trusts Services.

The case will come up for hearing on Tuesday. The asset management company also sought protection from any liability arising from the distribution exercise and wants all the expenses related to such disbursement to be borne by the fund house.

In a big relief to over 3 lakh unitholders, the apex court had on February 2 entrusted the SBI Mutual Fund to carry out the exercise for disbursement of the money to the investors of the six FT Mutual Fund schemes in “proportion to their respective interest in the assets of the scheme” within 20 days. The six debt schemes were wound up by FT on April 23, citing difficulties in the bond market conditions due to the pandemic.

An “overwhelming majority” of unitholders had voted in favour of the move in December. Around 3 lakh investors were affected by the winding up of these debt mutual fund schemes.

SBI Funds Management, a joint venture between SBI and AMUNDI Asset Management, said it would rely solely on the data/amounts provided by FTMF for effecting the distribution to the unitholders. Being the principal, FTMF, its trustees and the management will be responsible to their investors, even for issues arising out of the distribution, it said in its affidavit.

The asset management company said it had held discussions with the concerned officials of FT and Sebi and would execute the distribution after getting all the information about the audited and verified accounts of the schemes, scheme-/plan- wise unit balance, AUM and cash balance for distribution of funds, ratio of disbursement, etc. from the fund house. “A confirmation from the statutory auditor would also be required that there is no change in investors unit balance from the date of winding up of the schemes until the distribution date or in case of changes, then these will also be certified,” the company stated.

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