The all new MFC platform: Will it be a one-stop portal for all mutual fund transactions?

#invest, #Mutual Funds, mutual fund, bank, SEBI

Investing in a mutual fund (MF) is quite simple these days, more so if you are tech savvy. But it is not that easy to register your complaints and get them resolved. This is because different fund houses follow different procedures. A change of bank mandate or transmission of units (to your name after the first holder dies) would mean following different processes for different fund houses.

To overcome these issues, a new MF Central (MFC) platform will be launched on September 23. The Indian MF industry has come together for rolling this out. The Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) had asked the industry to launch in July 2021.

How is MFC different from other online investing platforms?

MFC doesn’t need you to open a new account. By entering your Permanent Account Number (PAN) and mobile number, you can fetch all your investments – made across Statement of Account format and demat – in a consolidated list.

In a regular online portal, you still have to open an account, fill up forms, complete the Know-Your-Customer (KYC) formalities and so on.

But, what if you are already a MF investor? After opening your new online account, you still have to transfer all your existing investments spread across multiple platforms and distributors onto your new portal, to get a consolidated view.

I get a view of all my MF investments in the Common Account Statement (CAS).

Again, true. But MFC doesn’t just give you a consolidated view. It allows you to transact (in phase #3; coming soon), initiate a variety of non-financial transactions, register and monitor all your MF service requests or complaints.

I am happy transacting with my existing online platform. What is the need for me to log on to any other platform?

Most of the existing platforms are merely order-taking platforms. They do not allow you to do non-financial transactions – changing bank mandates, updation of mobile number and so on.

Mutual Funds Utility (MFU) – an exhaustive platform also sponsored by the MF industry – also allows you to make non-financial transactions. But it is imperative for your fund house to tie up with MFU. Today, MFU has ties with 40 fund houses, so you’re well-covered there as well. In MFU, you’ve got to open an account by filing in a form and later separately map your existing investments, add bank accounts (even though your existing investments would have a bank account already linked) with the centralised identification number (CAN) that you get upon opening an account.

MFC works faster. You do not need to open an account. By just entering your PAN and mobile, you can pull out all your existing investments.

Is it that important that my platform allows me to make non-financial transactions?

Yes. There are several other service requests.

You can update your email addresses and mobile numbers in any of your existing MF folios. You can consolidate your folios or add a new bank or two in your folios. You can also initiate a transmission request if your loved one has passed away and has bequeathed MF units to you. Ordinarily, these processes differ across fund houses. But MFC has ensured that these processes are standardised across fund houses. This is the biggest advantage of MFC. This, experts say, will help investors in crucial tasks such as transmissions, change of bank mandate and so on, which otherwise takes days if you opt for the physical route.

How does MFC help me in complaints redressal?

Firstly, you can register a complaint or initiate a service request with any fund house on MFC. But MFC will also fetch all your pending complaints and service requests that you may have initiated in the past and are not yet resolved. That way, it gives you a consolidated view of your complaints filed with SEBI, fund houses or registrar and transfer agents.

There is a section on unclaimed dividends. What is that about?

MFC also shows a list of all unclaimed dividends and redemptions against all your MF units. This is a useful feature that many experts say would help investors track down unclaimed dividends and redemptions against their investments.

How soon can I start using MFC?

MFC is getting launched on September 23. But that is phase #1. So, it will allow you to make non-financial transactions on its website, in addition to providing a single view of your portfolio, CAS and unclaimed dividends on its website. In Phase #2, it will launch a mobile app. You could then do the same things via the app. Phase #3 will allow you to buy and sell MF units. In later phases, it will also allow your distributors to log in and execute your transactions, on your behalf.

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