Contribution of small towns — known as beyond the top 15 cities (B15) — to mutual funds’ asset base in India has surged 19 per cent to Rs 2.02 lakh crore in last fiscal. Mutual funds’ assets under management (AUM) from B15 grew from Rs 1.7 lakh crore in March 31, 2015 to Rs 2.02 lakh crore at the end of March this year, data available with markets regulator Sebi showed. A major portion of the products sold within this fast growing pocket of the industry are equity-linked unlike the top 15 space, where institutional dominance tilts the balance towards fixed income products, an industry expert said.
The growth in the asset base could be attributed to a positive outlook in domestic markets along with well-timed initiatives by Sebi to re-energise the mutual fund industry. During 2015-16, Sebi has taken a slew of regulatory reforms including introduction of mandatory stress testing of liquid fund and money market MF schemes; modification of product labelling; tightening of exposure limits on investments by MFs and enhancement of scheme related disclosures. Besides, the number of folios or investors’ accounts in B15 cities rose by 16.1 per cent to 2.09 crore during the period under review. Currently, the overall folio base stand at 4.92 crore.