SBI Mutual Fund is planning to set up branches in the Middle-East and South Asia regions once the regulatory approvals are obtained from the respective countries.
The fund is also planning to launch a slew of schemes, including one for investing abroad.
“We have our representatives in Dubai and Doha (in the Middle-East). But we want to set up our own branches in West Asia and Singapore once it is possible under the exisitng regulations,” said RS Srinivas Jain, Senior Vice-President and Chief Marketing Officer of the fund after launching an infrastructure fund.
“There is a lot of scope for attracting non-resident Indian investments into Indian markets,” Jain added.
Though there is no restriction for domestic mutual funds in setting up branch offices abroad, they have to obtain necessary approvals of the country in which they want to open such offices.
SBI Infrastructure Fund is a 3-year close-ended growth fund with an aim to take advantage of the planned rapid development of infrastructure in the 11th plan ending 2012, and its impact on stocks in the sector.
The Centre proposes over Rs 14,00,000 crore ($320 billion) of investment in various infrastructure projects during the next five years.
The mutual fund is also planning to launch a fund that could take exposure to investment opportunities abroad, to facilitate those interested in diversifying their investment across several geographies. SBIMF wants to take advantage of its JV partner and French banking major Societe Generale in accessing international markets.
“A three member team is working on the fund. Though emerging markets seem to give higher returns than the developed ones, there are a range of options available, including US treasuries and equity portfolio in emerging markets, Europe and Japan,” Jain said.
In its annual credit policy announced on April 24, 2007, RBI had hiked the aggregate ceiling on overseas investment by mutual funds from US$3 billion to $4 billion.
The Mutual fund is also mulling to launch an Islamic Sharia-compliant funds in due course. The mutual fund is awaiting approvals for a capital protection fund and a debt fund from the Securities and Exchange Board of India (Sebi).