The Securities and Exchange Board of India has barred Kotak Mahindra Asset Management Company Ltd. from launching any new fixed maturity pPlans for six months.
The regulator found that the AMC invested in zero coupon non-convertible debentures of insignificant and financially handicapped entities of Essel Group, including Konti Infrapower & Multiventures Pvt. Ltd and Edison Utility Works Pvt. Ltd.
The AMC should’ve realised that “high reward” is generally concomitant to “high risk”, the regulator said. And that retail investors are not able to take high risk especially when FMP schemes are expected to be conservative in investing the unit holders’ money.
The regulator has imposed a penalty of Rs 50 lakh on the AMC and directed it to refund investment management and advisory fees, along with interest, collected from the unitholders of the six FMPs.
The investigation began when SEBI noticed that the investors of these FMPs were not paid their full proceeds based on the declared net asset value of the schemes as on their respective maturity dates.
Upon investigation, the regulator has found the AMC guilty of:
Lack of due diligence and proper care leading to not rendering high standards of service.
Failure to consider research reports and analyse various factors.
Extension of maturity date of NCDs beyond the maturity date of the scheme.
Partial redemption and FMPs not wound up at the end of maturity. The regulations require an AMC to wind up the close-ended scheme at the end of its maturity period, dispose of its assets as per the best interest of the unitholders, discharge the liabilities of the respective schemes, and then distribute the funds among the unitholders by redeeming their units within 10 days of such winding up. The AMC failed to follow this process.
Wrong method of valuation of securities. The liability for erroneous valuation lies with the AMC if the third-party valuer failed to do proper valuation to reflect the value of the securities closer to market realizable value.
Kotak AMC is yet to respond to BloombergQuint’s request for a comment on SEBI’s conclusions.