Karvy, CAMS launch online platform for small distributors

Karvy, CAMS launch online platform for small distributors

Your neighbourhood financial advisor just got some new hi-tech tools. Leading registrar and transfer agents Karvy Computershare Pvt. Ltd and Computer Age Management Services Ltd (CAMS) have launched a web-based platform called FINNET to help small distributors buy and sell on behalf of the investors, and prepare and mail consolidated statements to them.

“The platform which went live on Monday will cater to the 50,000 individual financial advisors (IFAs) in the country," says V. Ganesh, country head, Karvy Computershare. He adds that the platform will enable the distributor organize his activities better and, thereby, help the investors plan their portfolio efficiently. At present, distributors have to physically keep track of the investments of their clients and few of them are able to provide a wholesome picture of investments.

The platform will also provide electronic time stamping, which will spare the distributor the effort of physically delivering the application in the registrar’s office and get the time stamped. Time stamping is key for mutual fund (MF) applications as it decides what net asset value (NAV) the investor gets. All applications received before 3pm get the same day’s NAV.

Distributors will need to pay a nominal fee to sign up for this platform.

N.K. Prasad, executive director and chief operating officer, CAMS, says, “For now, we will not charge for transactions, though there will be a registration fee. With the industry moving towards an advisory model, it becomes important for the distributor to make customer see value in his service."

Jaydeep Kashikar, director, Brain Point Investment Centre Pvt. Ltd, a Mumbai-based financial advisor, feels Karvy and CAMS were in the best position to understand the requirements of distributors as they are in touch with thousands of distributors.

But, he is still cautious: “I am not taking a call yet. There are a couple of more platforms coming up, including one from the Association of Mutual Funds in India.."

CAMS serves 16 asset management companies and represents 57% of the total assets under management (AUM). Karvy serves the remaining, apart from Franklin Templeton Asset Management (India) Pvt. Ltd and JPMorgan Mutual Fund India Pvt. Ltd. Funds of Franklin Templeton will be available on FINNET.

This is the first time that two of the biggest agents, who service 95% of the MF industry between them, have come together to offer a product. “FINNET will empower distributors and IFAs access information and transact in schemes of nearly all MFs through an Internet-enabled user interface," a press release said.