Market regulator Sebi has put Religare Asset Management Co on notice for a misleading PMS advertisement.
Sebi, during its course of inspection, has found that the financial services firms ad did not comply with its code of conduct and therefore served a notice to the Delhi-based company. Sebi, said sources, was on course to bar Religare from taking on any fresh PMS business for a certain period. However, the company sought a settlement by filing a consent application with Sebi. This was rejected by Sebi, a person close to the development said. The company has now filed a revised consent application.
In response to an email query from ET, a Religare AMC spokesperson said, Religare AMC wishes to clarify that the order pertains to Religare PMS department (for an issue of June 2006) and doesnt affect its MF operations in any manner. The order has been passed for an ad in an overseas publication dated June 3, 2006, when Religare PMS was under Religare Securities.
Religare PMS was subsequently transferred under Religare AMC only in December 2009. The order has been passed based on a difference of interpretation issue and is not for any fraud, manipulation, insider trading or investor-complaint related issues. Religare AMC has filed for revised consent to Sebi on May 21, 2010, the statement said.
A consent application mechanism enables settling of disputes in the capital markets through an agreement between the regulator and the alleged violator. The terms, which are often the subject of intense haggling between the regulator and the accused, may include a monetary penalty or a voluntary ban on the alleged party.
In case of consent applications, usually, a bargain is struck depending on the stand of the parties over the proceedings. At the end of the exercise, if the alleged violator is unable to meet Sebis terms, the regulator may not accept it. Similarly, even if the internal committee of Sebi accepts the terms, a high-powered committee may still find it unacceptable. In either case, it is always open to the parties seeking consent to make a fresh application with revised terms and seek renegotiation.
In the past, Sebi has entertained second consent applications for review, provided the offer is an improved version of the previous offer. Religare Enterprises, promoted by brothers Malvinder and Shivinder Singh, offers a wide range of products and services from insurance to asset management to broking to investment banking and wealth management.
At the end of March 2010, Religare managed assets worth about Rs 200 crore through its PMS business. SBI MF, ICICI Prudential MF, Reliance MF, HSBC MF and Kotak are some of the major portfolio managers in the country. According to Sebi data for the last fiscal year, there are 220 portfolio managers registered with the regulator, managing around Rs 2.8 lakh crore serving more than 60,000 clients.