Sebi proposes MF Lite norms for passively managed mutual fund schemes

The regulator has also proposed for roles and responsibilities of a trustee as well as the board of AMCs in the proposed MF Lite rules.
Last Updated : 01 July 2024, 14:50 IST

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New Delhi: Markets watchdog Sebi on Monday proposed a relaxed regulatory framework for the passively managed mutual fund (MF) schemes in a bid to reduce compliance requirements.

Considering the lesser risk inherent in managing passively managed MF schemes, the proposed MF Lite intends to reduce the compliance requirement, foster innovation, encourage competition and promote ease of entry for the MFs interested in launching only passive schemes, Sebi said in its consultation paper.

Passively managed MF schemes replicate an underlying index such as ETFs and index funds where portfolios of index funds can be easily tracked. Active fund schemes requires expert fund managers who define investment philosophy and select securities.

The present regulatory framework for MFs is however uniformly applicable for all MF schemes and does not differentiate regarding the applicability of provisions relating to entry barriers -- net worth, track record, profitability -- and other compliance requirements for entities who may be desirous of launching only passive funds.

Accordingly, various provisions of the existing regulatory framework may not be relevant for passively managed schemes, a relaxed framework with light-touch regulations has been proposed as MF Lite Regulations for passive MF schemes.

Under the proposed framework, MFs desirous of managing only passive schemes (such as Exchange Traded Funds and Index funds) should be covered under the MF Lite Regulations.

However, there may be mutual funds existing as on date, who may opt for management of both active and passive schemes under their existing registration. Hence, to ensure uniform applicability of proposed relaxations and to provide a level playing field across all passive MF schemes, a two-pronged approach has been adopted in this consultation paper.

Sebi has proposed for ease of entry and relaxed provisions for MFs intending to launch only passive schemes under MF Lite registration, and ease of compliance, relaxed disclosures and other regulatory requirements for passive schemes under existing MFs as well as schemes that may be launched under the MF Lite registration.

The Securities and Exchange Board of India (Sebi) has sought public comments till July 22 on the proposals.

In its consultation paper, the regulator has proposed the eligibility requirements for sponsors and AMCs under the main as well as alternative eligibility route, in the proposed MF Lite framework.

A minimum net worth of Rs 35 crore for AMCs should be appropriate under the main eligibility route, financial experience of five years may not be relevant under the main eligibility route of MF Lite Regulations.

With regards to the alternative eligibility route wherein the sponsor’s profitability and sound track record are not required to be considered, Sebi has suggested a minimum net worth of Rs 75 crore for an AMC and a lock-in period of three years of minimum shareholding of the sponsor should be mandated so to ensure entry of serious players under the MF Lite regime.

The regulator has also proposed for roles and responsibilities of a trustee as well as the board of AMCs in the proposed MF Lite rules.

Published 01 July 2024, 14:50 IST

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