16 December 2009

Art funds – time to act

Yesterday’s Mint carried the top story “Osian’s art fund fails in art of investing” about several malpractices in the area of art fund management. The Mint story says: “Five months after the scheme closed, Tuli and his colleagues are still “trying” to return money, many investors claim. While some of them are yet to receive any payment at all, others have been given around 30% less than their entitlement, according to the net asset value (NAV) declared by the fund.”

The key point is that this could easily been have prevented had SEBI acted on its warning put on its website way back in Feb 2008 which clearly stated that Art Funds were illegal unless they registered with SEBI as ‘collective investment schemes’. None were.

I have blogged about this in the past, see here my blog post of Feb 2009 where I conclude:

Since these entities have been given enough time to wind up or register their schemes, it is high time SEBI should take civil and criminal action so that the investors are compensated fully for these dubious investments. Or should we all wait till it blows up like Satyam?

Now that the blow up has occurred, we need some swift action by SEBI even if nearly two years too late.

Endnote: Just saw this very interesting blog where the founder of Osian’s calls all journalists crooks and some particularly egregious words against the authors of the Mint piece. Wow, the person running an illegal scheme calling the journalists who exposed him – crooks! What temerity. See the blog post.

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