Coronavirus impact: Mutual fund houses to work 'as normal' till March 31

Many asset management companies have asked their employees to work on a rotational basis to ensure their safety and smooth functioning of operations

March 22, 2020 / 02:12 PM IST

The mutual fund industry will continue to function, even though the Maharashtra government announced a complete lockdown on private offices till March 31 in the wake of the fast-spreading novel coronavirus.

A fund official said, “Since stock exchanges will continue to function as normal so all SEBI-registered companies such as mutual funds will remain open. So, financial services have been exempted from this rule.”

Many asset management companies have asked their employees to work on a rotational basis to ensure their safety and smooth functioning of mutual fund operations

“We have asked employees to come on alternate weeks. One lot comes one week then the office gets completely sanitised and the next week other lot comes in,” said a spokesperson from Franklin Templeton Mutual Fund.

IDFC Mutual too has laid down strict rules. An e-mail to employees of IDFC Mutual Fund stated, “In line with the steps taken by central and state governments to stem the spread of Covid-19 and to ensure safety of our employees, partners  and customers, IDFC AMC has encouraged its employees to work from home till there is a visible improvement in the situation on the ground. A lean team of sales and operational staff will brave their way to our offices to handle critical functions. Further, in branches with more than 2 employees, we have instructed employees across functions to operate on a rotational basis."


COVID-19 Vaccine

Frequently Asked Questions

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How does a vaccine work?

A vaccine works by mimicking a natural infection. A vaccine not only induces immune response to protect people from any future COVID-19 infection, but also helps quickly build herd immunity to put an end to the pandemic. Herd immunity occurs when a sufficient percentage of a population becomes immune to a disease, making the spread of disease from person to person unlikely. The good news is that SARS-CoV-2 virus has been fairly stable, which increases the viability of a vaccine.

How many types of vaccines are there?

There are broadly four types of vaccine — one, a vaccine based on the whole virus (this could be either inactivated, or an attenuated [weakened] virus vaccine); two, a non-replicating viral vector vaccine that uses a benign virus as vector that carries the antigen of SARS-CoV; three, nucleic-acid vaccines that have genetic material like DNA and RNA of antigens like spike protein given to a person, helping human cells decode genetic material and produce the vaccine; and four, protein subunit vaccine wherein the recombinant proteins of SARS-COV-2 along with an adjuvant (booster) is given as a vaccine.

What does it take to develop a vaccine of this kind?

Vaccine development is a long, complex process. Unlike drugs that are given to people with a diseased, vaccines are given to healthy people and also vulnerable sections such as children, pregnant women and the elderly. So rigorous tests are compulsory. History says that the fastest time it took to develop a vaccine is five years, but it usually takes double or sometimes triple that time.

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The fund houses have also asked teams to minimise visitations and hold virtual meeting/conferences wherever possible.

“Large corporates/HNI clients are advised to send their transaction requests on dedicated mail ids with cc to your RMs. Similarly, we request our distributor partners to send transaction request to CAMS branch directly rather than asking your staff to go to each AMC’s front office,” IDFC MF’s e-mail to employees stated.

COVID-19, which first emerged in the Chinese city of Wuhan in late 2019, has now spread to 184 countries and territories, killing more than 11,000 people and leaving hundreds of thousands in quarantine.

The highly infectious disease is spreading rapidly in Europe and the United States, forcing the shutdown of offices, schools, cafes, cinema halls and malls - basically upending normal life.

India is also seeing a steady rise in cases. So far, it has reported five deaths and 295 confirmed cases.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi, during his address to the nation, appealed citizens to show "resolve and patience" to tide over the crisis.

He has called for a "Janata curfew" on March 22 to contain the spread of COVID-19.
Himadri Buch
first published: Mar 22, 2020 02:07 pm

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