• DECEMBER 15, 1999

Fidelity arrives in India

Fidelity, world's largest mutual fund, has made elaborate plans to launch its mutual fund operations in the country.

Fidelity with more than US$ 1 trillion assets under management is the largest mutual fund (MF) in the world. Fidelity Magellan, which is the largest fund, manages assets of around US$ 20 bn, which is not very far from the total size of the Indian fund industry.

According to news reports, Fidelity is already registered with the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) as a foreign institutional investor (FII). It had earlier appointed a head-hunter who has been trying to poach MF industry honchos for Fidelity's Indian operations. Its local operations will in all likelihood be headed by an expatriate.

Industry sources are not certain whether Fidelity will take a local partner, or whether it will go ahead without one. Should it decide to settle down without a local partner, it will have to invest a minimum of Rs 500 m in the asset management company (AMC). However, Fidelity is here for the long haul, and Rs 500 m will be loose change for the company.

Given Fidelity's presence and standing in the global MF industry, it was conspicuous by its absence all along. Now that it has arrived, it lends credence to the belief that the Indian MF market has solid potential, else Fidelity would be wasting its time and money here. Given its expertise and exposure to global markets, Fidelity can be expected to introduce products and services at least matching those of existing players like Kothari Pioneer, Birla Sun Life. In any case, its entry in the Indian MF segment will turn the market more competitive, and the investment options at the disposal of the investors will increase manifold.

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