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UTI wants more time for agents' certification

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(From right) Mr M. Damodaran, Chairman, UTI, Mr D.R. Mehta, Chairman, SEBI, and Mr A.P. Kurian, Chairman, AMFI, at a press conference to launch AMFI's new initiative to develop a cadre of mutual fund advisors in Mumbai on Tuesday.

MUMBAI, Feb. 19

UNIT Trust of India has urged the Securities and Exchange Board of India to extend the time beyond March 2003 for its agents to pass the certification programme.

As per SEBI norms, agents have to pass the Association of Mutual Funds in India (AMFI) certification programme.

Mr M.Damodaran, Chairman, UTI, said, "looking at the reach and number of distributors/agents UTI has, there should be some relaxation in the SEBI stipulation.''

He was addressing a function organised to distribute AMFI certificates to mutual fund intermediaries.

Reacting to Mr Damodaran's request, the SEBI Chairman, Mr D.R. Mehta, who would be retiring on Wednesday, said he would ask his officials to look into the matter.

Mr Damodaran suggested that agents selling UTI schemes should be given the AMFI registration based on the various parameters such as experience in selling mutual fund units, whether in urban or rural areas.

He also said the programme should be done in a phased manner spread over four-five years. The UTI Chairman's request comes in the wake of SEBI making it mandatory for the intermediaries selling the mutual units to pass the AMFI certification programme. While all the newly appointed intermediaries have to pass this certification course, the existing ones have to obtain this before March 2003.

Several UTI agents are in rural areas and have not got through this programme due to various factors. The programme would help in better ethical standards in the business.

Mr Mehta said "the market regulator would consider relaxing some norms for large mutual funds with large network and problems being faced in the agents getting registration.''

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