13 February 2010

SEBI's white elephant - Fund ATMs

I have no idea what a Super-ATM centre for mutual fund means. But that is what SEBI wants 2000 of. Seems they are contraptions which dole out information on mutual fund. Whoa, that sounds like a lot of money on a white elephant project of no value. No one will go to a 'super-ATM' to print out offer document details.

"To facilitate investments in mutual funds and availability of information to investors, we need to create a huge infrastructure. We are trying to build this through a concept of super-ATM centres around the country," SEBI's executive director, KN Vaidyanathan, said at a mutual fund award function in Mumbai.

At the press of a button in super-ATMs, investors would be able to transact and get all the information about mutual fund schemes. It will also send queries and receive information as well, he said."

Anyone heard of computers at SEBI - you don't need an ATM costing, say Rs. 10,00,000 each (and 2000 of which would cost Rs. 2 billion - if I understand what a super ATM costs) to dispense this information which no one anyway reads. You also don't need an ATM to send queries about mutual funds - specially at this cost.

I think the real problem is that SEBI finds it incredibly difficult to spend the Rs. 1,500 crore odd rupees it is sitting on collected from intermediaries and exchanges (Rs. 15 billion). A far better use of the money (and at a fraction of the cost) would be to fund an upgraded Edifar or Corpfiling.co.in (which doles out information on companies) which is managed by an accountable private entity. This platform can also have mutual fund data on it.

No comments: