RBI releases draft norms for wealth management

Written by fe Bureau | Mumbai | Updated: Jun 29 2013, 10:00am hrs
In a blow to banks offering wealth management services, the Reserve Bank of India on Friday put out draft guidelines aimed at regulating such services and tightening the norms prescribed for them.

If approved in their current form, the guidelines prohibit banks from offering discretionary wealth management services to their customers, wherein a portfolio manager independently manages funds of individual customers and takes their investment decisions.

The discretionary portfolio management service also includes portfolios broadly directed by the customer, or those wherein the customer gives a negative list of investment products at the time of opening the account so that the fund manager ensures that such investment products are not included in the portfolio.

In case of non-discretionary services, the RBI allows banks to work through a separately identifiable department or division (SIDD) or a subsidiary. Such a subsidiary or SIDD would require to be registered with market regulator Securities and Exchange Board of India (Sebi) and comply with Sebi guidelines on providing these services, including the code of conduct, if any.

There should be an arms length relationship between the bank and the subsidiary if the latter is offering wealth management services, the central bank said. RBI has also stated that bank employees involved in marketing or sales of third-party products should not be given any direct incentives in cash or non-cash form linked to their performance to avoid mis-selling of products.