Securities Exchange Board of India (SEBI): S.K. Mohanty, Whole Time Member while imposing penalty under Section 11B(2) read with Section 15D(b) and 15HB of SEBI Act, 1992 on Kotak Mahindra restrained it from launching any new FMP scheme for a period of six months.

In the instant case, SEBI observed that the investors of certain Fixed Maturity Plans (FMP), by the Kotak Mahindra Mutual Fund (KMMF), were not paid their full proceeds based on the declared Net Asset Value of the schemes as on their respective maturity dates and the case of the Noticee was that it did not indulge in segregation of portfolio.

During investigation, the violations that the show cause notice thus alleged were :

  1. Lack of due diligence and proper care leading to not rendering high standards of service.
  2. Failure to consider research report and analyse various factors.
  3. Non-disclosure of adverse information to the unit holders.
  4. Extension of maturity date of NCDs beyond the maturity date of the scheme.
  5. Partial redemption and FMPs not wound up at the end of maturity.
  6. Creation of segregated portfolio.
  7. Wrong method of valuation of securities.

The Tribunal believed it was a deserving case for holding the Noticee liable for issuance of appropriate directions for disgorgement of a part of the management fee that it had unjustifiably charged from the unit holders of the six FMP schemes. Therefore, imposed a penalty of Rs. 5000000/- Section 11B(2) read with Section 15D(b) and 15HB of SEBI Act, 1992, and also restrained the Noticee from launching any new FMP scheme for a period of six months. The Tribunal very blatantly stated,

“Keeping in view the foregoing factual exposition about various acts of indiscipline, utter neglect of due diligence, inordinate delay in communicating with the investors, violation of the statutory sanctity of the maturity dates of the FMP schemes, permitting extension of the maturity of the ZCNCDs of the Issuers in contravention of extant regulations etc., there remains no doubt in mind that the Noticee has acted in gross violation of provisions of the SEBI Act, 1992, MF Regulations, 1996 as well as various circulars issued by SEBI from time to time hence, the Noticee is inter-alia liable to be held guilty of failure to exercise due diligence, care and render high quality of service as well as for failure to disclose information having negative impact on the six FMP schemes to its investors on time”.

[Kotak Mahindra Asset Management Company Limited, In re, WTM/SM/IMD/IMD-I DOF2/13158/2021-22, decided on 27-08-2021]

Agatha Shukla, Editorial Assistant has reported this brief.

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