It is the passing of an era, perhaps. Anil Ambani's Reliance Mutual Fund has emerged as the country's leading firm in the category by getting past the grand old Unit Trust of India (UTI), which was set up decades ago by the Parliament to usher in an equity cult among small investors in a much poorer India.
Reliance's rise to the top this week in rankings based on assets under management (AUM) last month has been made possible in an India very different from the one UTI dominated.
Rising stock markets, high disposable incomes and a growing interest among small savers to park surplus funds in equities, besides stiff competition among a host of mutual funds, are among factors that have changed the game.
The AUM of Reliance MF at the end of January stood at Rs 39,020 crore, followed by UTI Mutual Fund (Rs 37,535 crore) and Prudential ICICI Mutual Fund (Rs 34,745 crore).
Reliance Mutual Fund, which has mopped up over Rs 5,000 crore under new schemes in the last two months, witnessed an increase in its AUM to Rs 36,928 crore in December from Rs 34,637 crore at the end of November.
UTI Mutual Fund, however, appeared unfazed by slipping into the second slot in January. "The rank is not important for us. What is important is the value we provide to the stakeholder. Since May last year, the top 3 positions have been fluctuating between Reliance, Prudential and us", Chief Investment Officer (CIO) of UTI Mutual Fund, AK Sridhar, told Hindustan Times.
A Reliance MF spokesman said that the fund's plan to keep retail expansion as a key focus will result in a thrust on increasing its investor base from the current 3.1 million customers.
The assets under management (AUM) of UTI Mutual Fund, witnessed a decline Rs 574 crore in the month of January from December, when its AUM was Rs 38,109 crore.
Prudential ICICI Mutual Fund, which has slipped to the third position, has registered an increase in its AUM from Rs 33,305 crore to Rs 34,745 crore.