Associate distributors have provided stickier assets to some of India’s largest fund houses, even as troubles in debt schemes have prompted withdrawals that have led to erosion in the amount of money they manage.
The share of such distributors has risen since the outbreak in March. It continued to hold even after the panic withdrawals prompted by Franklin Templeton’s wind-up move, according to data from the Association of Mutual Funds in India (Amfi).
As regards the five largest asset managers, the share of such distributors stood at 9.2 per cent as of end-2019. It rose to 9.5 per cent in March, when the lockdown began, and was 9.4 per cent at the end of April.
Associate distributors include banks that sell their own MFs to customers. Three of the top five MFs are backed by banks, including SBI MF, HDFC MF, and ICICI Prudential MF.
These had an average 12.5 per cent of assets coming in from associate distributors. The number is significantly lower for asset managers that are not backed by banks. It is just under 2 per cent for Aditya Birla Sun Life MF, and zero for Nippon India MF.
Sundeep Sikka, ED and CEO of Nippon Life India Asset Management, said garnering assets using group entities was not a problem if there was no conflict involved, and consumer interests were protected.
E-mails sent to the remaining fund houses did not receive a reply.
The largest share is for SBI MF. As much as 23.7 per cent of the total assets comes from associate distributors. It is 5.3 per cent for HDFC MF and 8.5 per cent for ICICI Prudential MF.
Ramanathan Krishnamoorthy, founder and CEO of Spectrum Wealth Solutions, said garnering assets from group firms was no issue if the funds are performing well.
The top five MFs witnessed significant decline in assets when the equity markets tanked and debt funds saw withdrawals. Total assets dropped from Rs 15.7 trillion in December 2019 to Rs 13.8 trillion in April 2020.