Bajaj and Allianz, partners in general and life insurance in India, are setting up another joint venture, this time in mutual funds and asset management space. The new company, tentatively named Bajaj Allianz Global Investors, is expected to start managing India-specific domestic funds by mid-2010.
Allianz Global Investors, the asset management arm of Allianz, would own 51 per cent in the new joint venture, while the rest would be owned by Bajaj Finserv, the Bajaj Group-owned financial services company. “We feel this is the correct time for India-specific asset management,” said Joachim Faber, CEO, Allianz Global Investors.
“We would want to buy assets cheap on the stock market. I would be happy if the market stays low till the time we start the business formally,” said Rahul Bajaj, chairman, Bajaj Finserv.
The Indian mutual funds space has around 35 players who manage funds worth well over Rs 5 lakh crore, according to the Association of Mutual Funds of India (AMFI). Stock markets have faltered since 2008, putting funds under pressure and pushing net asset values or prices of mutual fund units, to 2003-2004 levels.
Bajaj would sell its funds and products through its network of agents, as well as through its channels with Bajaj Auto’s 800-odd dealers and 4,000-odd sales and service centres, said Sanjiv Bajaj, managing director, Bajaj Finserv. Bajaj Auto is the automotive arm of the Bajaj Group. The joint venture is currently waiting for government approvals, including that of the Securities and Exchange Board of India.