Commercial breaks between tear-jerker soap operas on your TV channel are about to get a bit educational. At least that is what the Association of Mutual Funds of India (AMFI) believes.
Starting August, AMFI will embark on an advertisement blitz. It has commissioned ads that will be shown on television. Amfi has spent about Rs 8 crore towards the making of this advertisement. All fund houses were asked to contribute and most have done so.MFs have for long advertised on television about their individual schemes, especially the new ones, that get launched periodically. However, this is the first time that an industry body such as AMFI will advertise. At its core, these advertisements will induce the TV audience to invest in MFs.
What’s more, unlike usual MF advertisements that are shown on business channels, AMFI aims to showcase these on general entertainment channels. “Those who watch the business channels would have typically already invested or at least know what MFs are,” said V Ramesh, deputy chief executive officer, AMFI. “But we are trying to reach out to people who are yet to invest.”
Further, to ensure that AMFI taps in new audience, these ads will be in Hindi and seven regional languages such as Marathi, Tamil and Bengali. The industry regulator has been planning for these commercials since January but it wasn’t able to give them shape until last month when most of the fund houses agreed to contribute. All fund houses were asked to contribute a sum depending on their average assets under management.
Ever since SEBI abolished entry loads in August 2009, the Indian MF industry has struggled with convincing investors to put money in funds. According to AMFI data, the number of investor folios (the industry average is about three folios per investor) under equity funds have fallen (see table).
Most fund houses feel such a move has been long overdue. “Whenever there is any initiative and talks about the Indian MF industry, transparency and why people need to invest in MFs, it always bodes well,” said Vijai Mantri, CEO, Pramerica Asset Managers.
Whether or not this campaign will yield any results only time will tell.