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MF Central (mfcentral.com), a transaction platform for mutual fund investors launched its first phase today. It provides investors a dashboard of all their mutual fund investments and accepts service requests like change of email, phone number and nomination. The platform has been launched jointly by Computer Age Management Services (CAMS) and KFintech or KFin Technologies Pvt Ltd, the two registrar and transfer agents (RTAs) of the mutual fund industry. Sreekanth Nadella, CEO, KFintech talks to Mint’s Neil Borate about the new platform. Edited excerpts:

When will MF Central onboard new mutual fund investors?

The new investor registration will happen in phase 3. In phase 2, we will launch a mobile app. We will also have a Common Account Statement (CAS) equivalent for service requests, grievances etc. In phase 3, where we will include financial transactions and onboarding of new investors. Amongst the many features we will launch, there will be a zero base folio. Imagine a world where you don’t want to invest at all, but you want to be a mutual fund-ready investor. On this platform you will be able to put this into place, with the ability to invest across mutual funds whenever you decide to.

Why isn’t there any call center number in MF Central?

We don’t have a call center at the moment. We are launching a chat. Mutual fund investors will be allowed to use screen sharing and requests will be handled online. We are doing this digitally rather than going back to the analog world

What about showing holding period in the mutual fund statements?

Yes, it will be part of the next release. This does not have to wait for phase 2. For instance consolidation of capital gains statements.

Will there be separate login for distributors? For example to give service requests for their clients?

The architecture required for a distributor login is complex with application reference numbers (ARNs) and sub-ARNs and the associated data movement. A separate distributor login is on the cards. However, the whole purpose of making this platform is for investors to be able to give service requests themselves. I don’t think there is any process in this platform that takes more than 30 seconds. Take an analogy. With net banking, I haven’t had to walk into a bank branch or call a branch manager for anything. I hope investors don’t share usernames and passwords with distributors. Investors should not have to bother distributors for such basic work.

You will be providing APIs to fintech platforms. Will that entail charges?

Yes. The platform needs to be sustained. Significant investments have gone into it. However, it is hard to say what the charges will be at this point. We will be providing APIs only in phase 3 of the platform and that’s when we will have a better sense of costing.

You are going to enable transmission on the platform. Will it be end to end online?

Note that there are AMC-specific rules on transmission. Transmission puts the RTA in a difficult place – on the one hand, we want to make it fast and convenient but there is potential for fraud. We are making the transmission process available pre-login and post-login. This is because the legal heir of the deceased may not be a mutual fund investor. The process itself is a series of workflows with digitized and scanned copies of documents being shifted to the AMCs involved. It will be 90% digital. Only if the documents do not corroborate the transmission claim there would be a physical aspect.

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