PFRDA tightens investment monitoring, plans consultant to assess fund managers

Written by fe Bureau | New Delhi | Updated: Nov 13 2012, 07:31am hrs
The Pension Fund Regulatory and Development Authority will soon appoint a consultant to assess the performance of fund managers, even as it is in the process of granting more licences.

The decision to appoint a consultant and auditors becomes all the more important in the wake of a growing National Pension System (NPS) corpus and the need to track investment in complex instruments.

Though NPS schemes are offering good returns, sources said the regulator wants to make sure PFMs are able to optimize the return on investments and exercise all due diligence in carrying out their duties and protecting the rights and interests of the subscribers.

The PFRDA has laid down a stiff criteria for the job the company should have at least 10 financial analysts, evaluated 50 firms, including 5 PSUs and has at least 20 clients.

"The bidder should have completed evaluation and produced a report in respect of at least 5 funds with a minimum corpus of R250 crore each. Out of these 5 funds, at least 3 should have equity component of R150 crore each and at least 3 should have debt instrument component of R150 crore," PFDRDA said in a statement. The bid proposals should come by December 7.

Earlier, the PFRDA invited bids from chartered accountancy firms to audit financial statements of each PFM.

Although the PFRDA had set up a NPS trust for taking care of the assets and funds under the system, the appointment of consultant and auditors were felt necessary as the regulator does not have the expertise in handling such work.

PFRDAs workload is slated to go up as it is in the process of awarding fresh registrations to more PFMs, an official said.

Like the central board of trustees of the EPFO, the NPS trust under PFRDA can issue instructions to the custodian, PFMs and trustee bank, issue investment guidelines, provide directions to PFMs for protecting the interest of subscribers, ensure compliance through audit by independent auditors and oversee performance review of PFMs.

In 2007, the PFRDA allowed state-owned Life Insurance Corporation, State Bank of India and UTI AMC to set up pension fund companies and manage the long-term savings of government staff.

After two years, PFRDA allowed four private players IDFC Pension Fund Management, ICICI Prudential Pension Funds Management , Kotak Mahindra Pension Fund and Reliance Capital Pension Fund into the market. These seven PFMs now manage assets worth over R20,000 crore of 3.75 million subscribers in government, private and unorganised sectors.