AMC & RTA (Registrar and Transfer Agents) staff being advised to work from work, it would be difficult for AMCs to comply with some of the regulatory requirements
The Association of Mutual Funds in India (AMFI) has written a letter to the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI), addressing to S V Muralidhar, about the impact on mutual fund operations in the wake of coronavirus pandemic.
Moneycontrol is in possession of the four-page-long letter.
With coronavirus spreading across the world causing havoc globally, Indian state and central governments have directed private companies to work from home.
“Under the circumstances mutual funds/AMCs are compelled to function with minimum staff operating from office. The MF Registrars and service providers such as Custodians and Fund Accountants are also impacted and most of their employees are also directed to work from home,” AMFI stated in the letter.
“AMCs at their service providers and their service providers are therefore compelled to invoke/function under Business Continuity Plan (BCP) mode,” AMFI added.
It further stated that, with AMC & RTA (Registrar and Transfer Agents) staff being advised to work from work, it would be difficult for AMCs to comply with some of the regulatory requirements and/or adhere to the stipulated timelines stipulated under SEBI Mutual Funds Regulations.
The mutual fund association stated in the letter that it would be difficult to accept physical transactions from investors. As an alternative to help such investors AMC/RTA agents will accept transaction sent from registered email ids of the unit holders/ registered domain ids of institutional investors.
The redemption payment will be made to the registered bank account of the clients while online transactions through web portals/ mobile apps would continue to be enabled/accepted as usual.
AMFI also wrote that there might be delays in the processing of financial and non-financial transactions as well as KYC requests. Financial transactions will be given priority over non-financial transactions.
There will be delay in dispatching physical cheques for redemptions and dividend payments.
AMFI said, in the current situation, it might not be possible for AMCs to conduct dealing operations from the AMC premises particularly with BMC’s directive to private offices. Hence, the dealer may have to operate from alternate site or their residence.
In such a scenario, access controls presently exercised in the AMC dealing rooms will not be available at such alternate location/residence of the dealer.
Further, call recording of deals and records for submission of mobile phones etc may not be feasible.
If there exceptional redemption pressures on the mutual funds, SEBI may kindly consider relaxation in the borrowing limits allows under the regulations as requested by AMCs on case to case basis, AMFI said.
In a separate letter to investors and mutual fund distributors, AMFI said - In the wake of COVID-19 pandemic - the government and municipal authorities had already ordered private offices to implement social- distancing measures (such as instructing their staff to work from home and keeping their offices closed etc.) to avoid and discourage assembling of people in offices.
Considering the current situation, it is imperative for all offices to ensure that not only their employees but also their customers and visitors follow the social-distancing measures and are dissuaded from travelling and visiting the offices by providing alternative solutions.
Under the circumstances, as a social-distancing measure to ensure safety of investors, distributors, visitors and the employees of the mutual funds and their RTAs, all Mutual Funds shall keep their collection centres/branch offices (official points of acceptance) closed with effect from Monday 23rd March 2020 and allow only online transactions through various electronic modes, such as mutual fund websites /web-portals / various digital platforms /apps or virtual channels etc. till the situation comes under control and until social distancing advisory is withdrawn by the authorities.“All mutual fund investors and distributors are requested to bear with the mutual funds and to use the digital/electronic modes for their mutual fund transactions.Please avoid travelling except for medical reasons or emergencies till the situation becomes normal and stay healthy,” AMFI said.
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