Leading businessman Anil Ambani today said more than creating wealth for himself, his father late Dhirubhai Ambani derived greater happiness from creating wealth for masses. “If you ever asked what part of being an entrepreneur he (late Ambani) enjoyed the most, he would say, ‘I enjoy creating wealth. But what I enjoy even more is in creating wealth for the people of the country,'” the Anil Ambani Group chairman said while addressing an industry event here. It can be noted that the late Ambani, who had a humble beginning as a primary school teacher’s son in Gujarat, is regarded as the father of capital markets and the equity cult, who made millions of investors millionaires with the IPO of Reliance Textile Industries in 1977.
A person who had put in Rs 1,000 then in the IPO is worth over a million today, going by the price of RIL. Stating that the launch of Kothari Pioneer Mutual Fund, which was country’s first private MF in 1993, was his (Dhirubhai’s) idea of achieving wealth creation for the masses, Anil said the launch of Reliance MF in 1995 was an added effort to achieve the same. He claimed that the launch of Reliance Growth and Reliance Vision funds in 1995 is justifiably regarded as a watershed event in the history of mutual funds in the country as these brought millions of retail investors into the capital markets and generated unprecedented wealth for them.
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He said Reliance MF has grown from an AUM (assets under management) of under Rs 60 crore in 1995 and Rs 2,200 crore in 2002 to Rs 2.25 trillion now, which is an over 100 times of growth, while the total AUM of the AMC (asset management company) currently is Rs 3.58 trillion. At the same time, the domestic mutual fund industry, with 5.7 crore individual accounts, has expanded its AUM to reach Rs 20 trillion.
Describing free markets as the best invention, Ambani said that of all earthly inventions, the free market is perhaps the greatest force for economic good in human history. Hailing the government’s focus on financial inclusion, he said the national rollout of JAM (Jan Dhan, Aadhaar and mobile-as-digital-platform) has prepared the ground for bringing hundreds of millions of unbanked and excluded citizens into the financial system.
Calling for a deeper penetration of financial products into the markets, he lamented, “Even though 9/10 of us have a mobile phone and 3/10 of us have a smartphone, only 1/25 has an investment in a mutual fund.” Urging the MF industry to follow e-commerce in reaching out to the hinterland, he said, “If e-commerce can exploit the power of technology to reach out to our hinterland and create better consumer experience, so can our financial sector.” Ambani added: “It is time we made buying mutual funds as easy as buying a smartphone on the Net.” He wanted Sebi to “allow anyone with a legitimate bank account to invest in financial products since their bank KYC is already in place”.