Days after investing Rs 650 crore in UTI Mutual Fund for a 26 per cent stake, Edward C Bernard, vice-chairman, T Rowe Price Group, expresses confidence in the Indian mutual fund sector in an interview with Hindustan Times. Excerpts...
On the deal taking so long?
We are delighted with the strategic investment. It took time because there were four shareholders involved.
On not going it alone in the Indian market?
UTI is a strong brand and it is a leading player. I think that in India if you find the right company and work out the terms to make investment then it is a more practical approach rather than starting from scratch. It is also difficult to build a distribution model in a market like India.
On the Indian market’s value?
We have a very long-term objective in India. If you see India, it has a large population, there is a fast growing working population, high savings rate and a robust GDP growth. All these are ingredients for a very large mutual fund industry in India. At this particular moment the regulation is a cause of worry. I don’t know how it will be sorted out but India is such a big story and it seems unlikely to me that a regulation that prevents growth of the mutual fund industry will stay.
On the association with UTI?
We won’t enter the management. We basically plan to collaborate with them.
On plans for UTI AMC public offering?
No plans as of now. I think the issue is that the four shareholders who have their own AMC business can’t enter the management of UTI AMC and so eventually they will have to sell out their stake.