Small towns opting for mutual fund: Reliance Capital's Sundeep Sikka

Chennai, Sep 26 (IANS) The opportunities for mutual fund players is now immense as a good number of investors from small towns are opting for mutual fund, said Reliance Capital Asset Management president Sundeep Sikka, who was elected chairman of the Association of Mutual Funds in India (AMFI) Thursday.

"I am really excited at the appointment," Sikka told IANS over phone from Mumbai after the AMFI board unanimously elected him as the chairman, and Sandesh Kirkire, Kotak Mahindra Asset Management Company CEO, as vice chairman.

Asked about his agenda for the industry association, he said: "The focus will be on increasing the retail penetration. Already the industry is focused on the retail sector. Retail investor education camps will be held in sizeable numbers."

He said investors from smaller cities are opting for mutual fund in sizeable numbers and this is encouraging.

"I see more opportunities for mutual fund sector than challenges. There is will a change in the investor behaviour as mutual fund is the cost effective way," he added.

Sikka has been with Reliance Capital Asset Management, which runs the country's largest mutual fund, Reliance Mutual Fund, since October 2003. He has been instrumental in expanding the company's footprints in both domestic and international territories.

Also speaking to IANS from Mumbai, H.N. Sinor, chief executive of AMFI, said: "The industry size is around Rs.800,000 crore of which 70 percent will be wholesale and 30 percent will be retail."

He said the debt fund was growing well on the retail side for the past one year.

Sinor said the industry body was looking at the long-term perspective of the sector and how to reach out to the retail investors.

"The second important agenda for AMFI will be achieving level playing field with other saving products (like life insurance policies and others) by having some tax concessions. The third agenda will be regulating the distributors and the fourth will be improving the convenience of investors," said Sinor.

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