India's market regulator on Monday tightened risk management rules for mutual funds, including specifying guidelines to identify, measure and report various risks, in an effort to protect the interest of investors in a fast-growing industry. The new rules mandate the appointment of a chief risk officer, creation of risk management committees and maintaining metrics such as investment risk, liquidity risk and credit risk for each scheme, the Securities and Exchange Board of India (Sebi) said.
The new framework comes a month after it barred Kotak Mahindra Asset Management, one of the country's largest mutual fund managers, from launching any fixed maturity plans (FMPs) for six months and fined it for breaking rules.
SEBI also barred Franklin Templeton in India in June from launching any new debt schemes for two years after it found "serious lapses and violations" at the firm when it decided to suddenly shut several schemes.
Franklin has appealed against the decision, but agreed it would not launch any new debt funds for the time being. In its new rules on Monday, SEBI provided detailed guidelines on the risk management roles for an asset management company's board, trustees, chief executive officer, chief investment officer, other senior officials and fund managers.
The mutual fund industry has grown rapidly in India, especially with interest from retail investors in systematic investment plans that allow investment of a fixed amount regularly in schemes. Assets managed by India's mutual fund houses have increased to about ₹ 36 lakh crore ($487.72 billion) in August from nearly ₹ 28 lakh crore a year earlier, according to the Association of Mutual Funds in India (AMFI).
Sebi said fund houses have to adhere to the new risk management rules from January 1 and review their compliance every year.