NEW DELHI: Franklin Templeton Mutual Fund on Friday said its commitment to India remains ‘steadfast’ and the fund house has no plans to exit its operations in the country.
This comes following media reports suggesting intervention by the fund house’s US-headquartered parent seeking the diplomatic route for a “just and fair” hearing by market regulator Sebi in the investigation pertaining to six wound-up debt schemes.
According to the reports, Franklin Templeton had threatened to exit India if it was not given a fair hearing.
In a letter to investors Franklin Templeton Asset Management (India) Pvt Ltd President Sanjay Sapre said, “we have no plans to exit our India business. Any speculation suggesting otherwise, or any rumours around sale of business in India are incorrect and simply that-rumours”.
He reiterated that Franklin Templeton’s commitment to India remains steadfast.
Sapre said that Franklin Templeton was an early entrant in the Indian mutual fund industry and remained a part of the industry even while many other global asset managers decided to leave.
He, however, did not deny reports of engaging with government authorities.
“Our engagement with government authorities, in India and globally, is also something we, and many companies do, as a matter of course. We have endeavored to keep all stakeholders, including the relevant government and diplomatic authorities, appropriately informed of developments, and will continue to do so,” Sapre said.
According to him, the intention in reaching out remains bringing the current matters to an appropriate and satisfactory conclusion.
The fund house said it has full confidence in Securities and Exchange Board of India (Sebi) and all regulatory and statutory authorities.
Franklin Templeton MF said the fund house has been fully transparent with the regulator and extended fullest cooperation to them, to help them examine the circumstances surrounding the winding up of the six schemes by Franklin Templeton last year.
The fund house had closed six of its debt funds in April 2020, citing redemption pressures and lack of liquidity in the bond markets.
These schemes, together having an estimated amount of over Rs 25,000 crore assets under management, were Franklin India Low Duration Fund, Franklin India Dynamic Accrual Fund, Franklin India Credit Risk Fund, Franklin India Short Term Income Plan, Franklin India Ultra Short Bond Fund and Franklin India Income Opportunities Fund.
Sapre said the fund house’s primary focus over the last several months has been, and remains, on returning money to unit holders as quickly as possible.
In this regard, the fund house said it has directed its efforts to support SBI Funds Management, the liquidator appointed by the Supreme court, in monetizing the portfolios of these schemes and returning monies to investors at the earliest.