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MF majors court Peerless

Mutual funds companies from India and abroad are courting the Peerless group of companies for setting up a mutual funds joint venture, reports Suman Layak.

business Updated: Nov 21, 2007 22:26 IST
Suman Layak

Mutual funds companies from India and abroad are courting the Peerless group of companies for setting up a mutual funds joint venture, according to its managing director SK Roy.

Peerless General Finance & Investment Company Ltd, the residuary non-banking financial company (RNBC) has been asked to change its current business model of raising deposits from consumers within three years. It currently holds public deposits of around Rs 4,600 crore.

The company is trying to focus on distribution of retail financial products as its new business model. It has also got an approval to start an asset management company and launch its own mutual funds business. "Our presence in 155 towns and our distribution strength of one lakh agents is attracting a lot of big players in mutual funds," Roy said in an interview with Hindustan Times.

Roy said that Peerless would try to launch its own mutual fund some time in the financial year 2008-09.

Roy said that the company was also in the process of launching co-branded credit cards with the State Bank of India and the training of its staff for selling credit cards is going on.

It is already distributing mutual fund products of other companies through its subsidiary. It is also an agent for Iffco Tokio General Insurance and Max New York Life Insurance.

Apart from distribution of financial products the company is also expanding its hotels business. It has three hotels now and is looking out for new hotels at land and ready property available for sale in West Bengal and Orissa. The real estate arm of the company is also looking at expanding its footprint across the country.

Roy also said that the company has written to the Reserve Bank of India seeking an extension of the three-year deadline within which the bank has asked it to migrate to an alternative business model.

Peerless had run into troubled waters in the mid-nineties when the net owned funds of the company turned negative.

At the time former State Bank Chairman DN Ghosh was inducted as the chairman of the company, while Roy continued as managing director. Last year, Ghosh quit as the chairman after 10 years and was replaced by another former State Bank chief Dipankar Basu.