Which MF Transaction Platform is best for you? A Review by Gajendra Kothari - Network FP
June 23, 2016

Which MF Transaction Platform is best for you? A Review by Gajendra Kothari

Gajendra Kothari
MD & CEO, Etica Wealth Management Pvt Ltd

Review of Mutual Fund transaction platforms

Dealing with Mutual Funds paper work has always been a painful issue both for advisor as well as the investor. Right from getting a KYC done to making investments to finally getting back the money in clients account requires paperwork at all stages. Its surprising to see that the online transactions in buying / selling of shares happened 22 years back (introduction of NSE in 1994) while paperless transactions in mutual funds started just a year back.

Today we have 3 platforms which have emerged as serious contenders. Lets review each of them.

M F Utility

MFU is a “Transaction Aggregating Portal” that connects with key stakeholders including RTAs, Distributors, RIAs, Banks, AMCs, etc., thereby mitigating the risk relative to the current paper based transactions.

MF Utilities India Pvt Ltd (MFUI) is the Mutual Fund Industry’s “Shared Services” initiative formed by the Asset Management Companies (AMCs) of SEBI registered Mutual Funds under the aegis of AMFI, with an objective of investor empowerment, distributor / RIA convenience, consolidation of information to various agencies, operational efficiency for RTAs and benefits to AMCs, thereby benefitting all stakeholders in the industry. The prime objective of MFUI is to consolidate all “Transaction Requests” received by the industry from multiple sources and transmit it to the “Fulfiller” of the request (Transfer Agent), thereby bringing in operational efficiency by reducing multiplicity and duplication of activities. Towards achieving this objective, MFUI has developed the Portal, MF Utility (MFU), which operates as a “Transaction Aggregating System” for transactions in Mutual Funds.

M F Utility

Advantages

Disadvantages

Upcoming features

Free Distributor Registration Online CAN generation is quite tedious process Consolidated AUM at Industry level with breakups at Fund, Scheme Category levels and ranking of the distributor in comparison to the industry
One Time Common Account No (CAN) registration for investors Cheque payment option available but requires purchase form along with it which results in extra paperwork CAS can be generated on demand. Full statement will be emailed to the investor. ARN level will be viewable by the ARN holder.
New KYC and CAN registration can be done at the same Live portfolio feeds is not available Consolidated Download / Mail-back feeds
Possible to create CAN online also Few upcoming AMCs are missing like – Mirae Asset, BNP Paribas, Canara Robeco etc Centralized Alerts, Reminders etc.
All Transactions can be done completely online – No paperwork reqd. Corporate Transactions not allowed CAN opening will be facilitated online as a paperless facility
All major AMCs are present iOS App
One time Bank mandate ensures automatic payment in the future
Option to add multiple bank accounts
Multiple Points of acceptance – CAMS, KARVY, SUNDARAM etc
Single Window for data changes like nominee name, bank a/c changes, email id, mobile nos etc.
Existing folios mapped automatically
Distributor can create investor login Ids. No Direct option available there.
APIs are provided to create white label front office for advisors
Android App available
Multiple User ids for different team members
User interface is better than other 2 platforms

One of the biggest advantage for distributors is that even if they don’t want to sign with MFU, they can still use the Common Transaction forms for making purchase, switch, redemptions etc and can submit these forms to any registrars. In a single form, one can do upto 5 purchases of 5 different mutual funds. That’s a lot of saving of time and efforts. This means that you don’t have to keep any AMC forms at your office. Imagine the de-cluttering as a result of this.

Also a biggest misconception which many distributors have is that MFU promotes direct plans which is not true. It is just an aggregator platform for both distributors as well as investors and hence they have no option but to provide this facility to investors if they wish to. However, the investor will need to approach MFU and ask for the login id and password and only then he can invest online directly.

The Direct Plan feature of MFU may be great for Registered Investment Advisors (RIAs) who may want to execute for their clients under the said plan. All they need to do is sign with MFU under the RIA category and start using it for their clients under the Direct Plan.

Another feature of MFU which can be both good and bad is CAN No created once is valid across all distributors. The data given in the CAN for supersedes the data in the existing folio (like nomination details, bank accounts, email id, mobile no etc)

One thing which perplexes me is if the platform is owned by all the AMC then why not a single AMC is promoting the same. It will help them reduce paperwork, achieve faster turnaround time, reduce errors etc. I have never seen a communication from any AMC to this regard. They are still busy promoting their own online portals which is very short sightedness. Its time each AMC owns the responsibility and push the use of it for their own long term interest.

MF Utility Contact Person: Mr Vikram Sharma

E-mail for getting Demo: vikram@mfuindia.com

NSE NMF II

National Stock Exchange has also launched its Mutual Fund platform for distributors in Jan 2015. Presently they are providing these services free of cost but I guess because NSE is for profit organization they would like to monetise in some way going forward. They may levy an annual membership fee or may charge per transaction. Alternatively, they may charge AMCs per transaction since distributors may be sensitive to paying charges. A lot of small & large IFAs have been using NSE platform for a while now.

NSE NMF II

Advantages

Disadvantages

Upcoming features

Free Distributor Registration Deposit for Rs 15,000 for individual distributors and Rs 25,000 for corporate distributors Risk Analytics and Portfolio Design
One Time Investor Identification No (IIN) registration for investors. Thereafter complete online process New KYC and CAN registration cannot be done at the same. However E-KYC and IIN creation can be done real time 5 banks for instantaneous credit Kotak, Axis Bank, ICICI Bank, SBI Bank, IDBI Bank
Option to pay by cheque with no attached paperwork Unless IIN is active, one cannot do transactions. Also IIN activation can take 2-3 days time Android & iOS App
Switch / Redemption / SIP / STP / SWP is easy User interface is very ordinary Mobile API
Almost all major Fund Houses present POA for execution of transaction
Create user roles for EUIN, Sub -brokers with user specific privilege setting E – IIN creation
Single view of the holdings across all funds. Overnight investments in Liquid Funds
APIs are provided to create white label front office for advisors
One time Bank mandate ensures automatic payment in the future
Facility to do E-KYC on NSE website and then creation of CAN on realtime basis.
NSE NMFII Contact Person: Mr Rohit Bohra
E-mail for getting Demo: rbohra@nse.co.in

BSE STAR MF

BSE Star MF has been also one of the formidable player in the Online MF platforms, however they were earlier mainly known in the demat category. They have many large National Distributors who have been using their platform like NJ India, IIFL etc. Recently, they have been also trying to aggressively woo IFAs to start using their platform.

BSE STAR MF

Advantages

Disadvantages

Upcoming features

Free Distributor Registration User interface is very ordinary STP / SWP will be introduced shortly
One Time Unique Client Code (UCC) for investors. Thereafter complete online process. Instant investment possible. New KYC and UCC creation cannot be done at the same Portofolio Holding statement
Option to pay by cheque with no attached paperwork Multiple Banks registration while creating UCC
Switch / Redemption / SIP is easy
Almost all major Fund Houses present however few fund houses require separate Service Level Agreement (SLA) to be signed
Multiple User ids for different team members
Investments / Redemptions in Liquid Funds in the same transaction upto 30 days timeframe
APIs are provided to create white label front office for advisors
One time Bank mandate ensures automatic payment in the future
Tie ups with 7 banks for Real time payment under the “Direct pay” option
Flexibility / Choice of mode of payment post order placement

Contact Person for BSE Star MF: Mr Omkeshwar Singh

E-mail for getting Demo: omkeshwar.singh@bseindia.com

Conclusion

I would strongly think that platforms are the future and recommend all financial advisors to try out one of these platforms. It makes life so simple for us and for our clients. Many advisors ask us which is the best amongst all the three platforms. Our experience is no one platform is 360 degree comprehensive. Each platform has its pros and cons. One cannot rely on a single platform. Each platform keeps coming out with unique features and enhancements every month. We don’t want to rely on a particular platform and hence we have been using all the three platforms interchangeably.

Depending on which platform is suitable for a particular kind of investor we process the transaction accordingly. The best utility of the platforms is that we are now completely done away with AMC forms (imagine so much of freeing up of office space). Basically, we are one step closer to the complete paperless office.

I would recommend signing your clients on two platforms atleast so that you have a backup as far as the transactions are concerned. With regard to the service levels and response time, again I have got a mixed feedback from different regions for each of the 3. You need to try and see for yourself which one suits your requirement.

All I can say is GET STARTED.

Please note that these are personal views the author.

Authored by,

Gajendra Kothari

Managing Director & CEO
Etica Wealth Management Pvt Ltd


6 Thoughts to “Which MF Transaction Platform is best for you? A Review by Gajendra Kothari”

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  3. RONAK says:

    Mutual fund utility without distributor
    or NSE MF II with distributor whats the difference
    can I open account with both the portals

    As I feel there are significant transaction charges that would be involved in NSE MF II with distributor

    If I link my DP with CDSL, would it necessitate that the distributor gets linked and there would be commission paid to him irrespective for wherever I buy it from

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