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Union Mutual Fund explores merger with BOI AXA
State-sponsored fund houses Union Mutual Fund and BOI AXA Mutual Fund are exploring an option to merge. The talks are at a nascent stage. The former is sponsored by Union Bank of India (UBI). The latter is a joint venture between Bank of India (BoI) and AXA Investment Managers, a part of the Paris-headquartered AXA Group. While a merger might not lead to any meaningful addition in assets, it would mean cost synergies, economies of scale and wider distribution, said sources.

Why Sebi’s silence in the NSE case is dangerous
The whistle-blower who put the spotlight on National Stock Exchange of India Ltd’s (NSE) algorithmic trading practices and policies is pleased with Securities and Exchange Board of India’s (Sebi) action on the complaints. “I am glad to note that finally some action has taken place on the complaints,” he wrote in a letter dated 14 February to Sebi. He is presumably referring to the changes in the board as well as the top management at the exchange, besides findings by a third party auditor that confirmed some of the complaints in his letters.

Is regulatory arbitrage more mis-selling?
A typical year-end pitch from a bank relationship manager asks customers to put money in tax-free schemes offering good, often double-digit, returns. A customer who understands financial products will immediately realise there is no mutual fund product that can offer an assured return as well as a tax benefit. Only when questioned more aggressively will the relationship manager or seller admit it is an insurance product and, most likely, a traditional one. The regulatory arbitrage between MFs and insurance products has existed for a long time.

Meet India's stock picking wiz who stays anonymous
“I am a private person. Bull markets create heroes and bear markets create zeroes. So, I’d rather stay anonymous,” was Ashish Kacholia’s response to ET’s request for a meeting in 2015. While the investor wanted to stay anonymous, his gains and profit-making strategies from the equity market separated him from the herd. At present, his stock move pushes share prices up and down.

FY17 a year of 15 mega IPOs, buybacks & record high divestments
Financial year 2017-18 is ending on a high note. The benchmark indices hit new highs, and the primary market observed a euphoria, wherein 15 of the 25 IPOs that hit the Dalal Street during the year witnessed over 10 times subscription. On top that, 18 of the 23 debutants on stock exchanges, jumped over 10 per cent on the listing day.

Not KYC compliant yet? You can still invest in ELSS
Did you drop the idea of investing in Equity Linked Savings Schemes (ELSSs) or tax planning mutual fund schemes to save taxes under Section 80C this year because you are not KYC (Know Your Customer) complaint? Well, you can go ahead and invest in ELSS and apply for KYC simultaneously. In fact, you can invest in ELSS even on 31st March this way. "The investor can submit the KYC form and the required documents along with the purchase application of an ELSS,"

Bajaj Capital to sell 40% stake to HK's Mosaic Capital Asia
Bajaj Capital, an investment service company, is close to raising funds by selling a 40% stake to Hong Kong-based Mosaic Capital Asia in a transaction that may value the company at Rs. 600 crore, according to two people involved in the deal. “We have signed a term sheet with Hong Kong-based private equity firm Mosaic Capital for a significant minority stake in the company,“ said Rajiv Bajaj, managing director. “We needed fresh thinking so we have invited a global expert on board.“

CPSE ETF may enter top 10 equity scheme club
A second exchange-traded fund (ETF) is likely to enter the club of top 10 equity schemes in the country. Because of two sizeable follow-on offers by the government in the Central Public Sector Enterprise (CPSE) ETF, the index could break into the league of biggest schemes in terms of asset size. The only ETF in the top 10 club is SBI ETF Nifty 50, which had assets of Rs 15,520 at the end of last month.

Indians are better financial dreamers than planners
Time and again we have seen reports and surveys depicting low levels of financial literacy in India. A survey conducted by Aviva Life Insurance Company—Aviva Plan India Plan Survey 2017—says that Indians are big dreamers, but poor financial planners. The survey consists of 2 indices: the Dream Index, which shows how aware Indians are of their life goals; and the Plan Index, which is about how well financially planned Indians are to achieving their life goals.

Irdai vs global standards in consumer protection
What would you call a regulation that is titled Protection of Policyholders’ Interests, but is anti-consumer in its direction and intent? The draft regulation by the same name released by the insurance regulator on 1 February 2017 (you can read it here: bit.ly/2l9NpgI) has removed some basic consumer-first provisions that an earlier 2014 draft had suggested. As investors and consumers of financial products, we should worry about this.

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