The Securities and Exchange Board of India (Sebi) said on Wednesday that entities that pool public money to invest in art without the market regulator's approval could face criminal and civil action.
The regulator said no fund house had so far been registered with the Sebi for running an art fund, which according to the regulator's guidelines, are “collective investment schemes”, that require regulatory approval.
"This message is issued by Sebi in the interest of investors with regard to their investments in art funds, funds or schemes launched by companies or any entity formed for the purpose," the regulator said here today.
A relatively new concept in India, the art fund industry in the country has an estimated growth rate of 35 per cent a year and is considered a safe investment haven, mostly by rich investors and non-resident Indians.
At present, there a few art funds in India like the New Delhi-based Copal Art, Crayon Capital, Yatra Fund and Osian's Art Fund.
With Indian art claiming high prices in global art markets and the industry maturing in terms of more galleries and artists, market watchers say the asset class is wooing investors for want of phenomenal returns as well risk diversification.