Franklin Templeton Mutual Fund has reiterated its commitment to India by saying that it remains steadfast and has no plans to exit its operations in the country.
This statement 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. Reports state that the company had threatened to exit India if it was not given a fair hearing.
Franklin Templeton Asset Management (India) Pvt Ltd President Sanjay Sapre, in a letter to investors, said the company has no plans to exit India. “Any speculation suggesting otherwise, or any rumours around sale of business in India are incorrect and simple that-rumours.”
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.
However, he 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 endeavoured to keep all stakeholders, including the relevant government and diplomatic authorities, appropriately informed of developments, and will continue to do so.”
Sapre said the intention in reaching out remains bringing the current matters to an appropriate and satisfactory conclusion. The company 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 has closed six of its debt funds in April 2020, citing redemption pressures and lack of liquidity in the bond markets.
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.