Sebi to focus on sachetising SIPs by making Rs 250 bets viable to grow mutual fund industry: Buch

Sebi chairperson Madhabi Puri Buch on Friday said the capital markets regulator wishes to sachetise mutual fund investments going forward. Speaking at an event hosted by Business Today here, Buch said the mutual fund industry feels investments of Rs 500 per month in a systematic investment plan are viable, but Rs 250 are not and the focus will be to try to look at ways of making such investments rewarding.

“We are working with them (MF industry) to see where is the cost, what can Sebi do to facilitate making it possible to bring that viability down to Rs 250 a month, because then it is the equivalent of what Hindustan Lever did with shampoo sachets. You just explode the market,” Buch said.

The comments come on a day the MF industry reported its highest-ever monthly investments through SIPs at over Rs 17,000 crore for November. It also comes amid expectations of an aggressive entry by the Reliance Group entity Jio Financial Services into the MF space.

Buch said such sachetisation will help the financial inclusion agenda, and also help the Indian capital markets.

Citing the experience of over the last one year, Buch said hardening of rates in the developed markets made foreign investors sell Indian equities, but India was not impacted as much as other emerging markets because the domestic investors held fort and also forced the foreign investors to come back because of the yields the market was offering.

“In effect, the benefit of our domestic flows and the retail flows had a double impact. The impact of them coming in and the impact of the foreign money returning because they couldn’t afford to miss the Indian story,” she added. Buch said she will focus on this aspect in the last year of her three-year term, and added that the attempt will also be to institutionalise the reforms and initiatives done over the last few years so that it lasts as long as possible. She reiterated that rather than ticking boxes by appointing women on boards, it is necessary for companies to employ women across the hierarchy, starting from the key management personnel on top to down below, and added that it is because of this view that Sebi focuses on making the top-1,000 listed companies disclose the share of payments to women in the overall wage bills.

Buch said she is very passionate about technology and data, and uses both in her work.

The investment banker-turned-regulator said her knowledge of the way the market works and the loopholes used by practitioners helps her perform better at the job as the chair of Sebi.

She called herself lucky, saying throughout her career — right from her days with the ICICI Group — there was no special consideration offered to her as a woman and that the same has continued in Sebi as well.


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