No wrongdoing by officials in shut schemes: Franklin Templeton on SEBI notice


With SEBI issuing showcause notices to Franklin Templeton Asset Management Company (AMC), and its key managerial employees and trustees over alleged fraud and unfair trade, a spokesperson of the company said that none of the key persons have redeemed any units post the trustees taking the in-principle decision to wind-up six debt mutual fund schemes in April last year.

In a detailed response to the showcause notice issued by SEBI, the company said, “We believe it would be inappropriate to comment further on speculation and request the investors not to draw conclusions based on conjecture.”

The schemes under winding up continue to have significant investment from the employees and management of Franklin Templeton and all redemption applications submitted by the unit-holders until April 23, 2020 were processed in the normal course of business, as per the spokesperson.

“Our interests remain aligned with those of our investors. None of the key persons have redeemed any units post the trustees taking the in-principle decision to wind-up the schemes,” said the company.

As per the fund house, its focus remains on returning monies to the unit-holders at the earliest, by supporting the SBI Mutual Fund management in the monetisation process.

The schemes have already distributed Rs 9,122 crore to the investors and have accrued another Rs 1,180 crore in cash as on February 26, 2021.

The capital market regulator issued the show-cause notices as the audit directed by SEBI after the fund house discontinued six debt mutual fund schemes in April 2020 showed breach of code of conduct.

SEBI also asked Franklin Templeton India as to why action should not be taken against the company for not carrying out its fiduciary duties towards the investors and for lapses in the risk-management process.

The notices have been served to key managerial employees comprising Vivek Kudva, head of Asia Pacific (APAC) for Franklin Templeton, his mother, and his wife Roopa Kudva, MD, Omidyar Network India.

Further, the Enforcement Directorate (ED) has also registered a case of money laundering against Franklin Templeton and its senior officials.