Opinion | The backstory of reserve bank of India’s cash window for mutual funds

In the weekend that went by, little housework got done in the homes of officials of the Securities and Exchange Board of India (Sebi), Reserve Bank of India (RBI) and some fund house leaders. On Friday, 24 April, the full impact of an announcement late the previous night by Franklin Templeton Mutual Fund was digested by the markets, regulators and investors. The fund house had frozen six of its high-yield debt funds with over 30,000 crore of investor money. Friday saw panicked investors, some on the advice of bank wealth managers, selling their credit funds across fund houses without a thought to how much risk they really carried. The panic threatened to spill over to other non-credit risk debt funds as well. Mutual funds have a certain calculation of how much redemption will take place on a day and have cash ready for that. But when there is a sudden rush of redemptions, funds can borrow up to 20% of their net assets to meet this redemption. What happened with Franklin Templeton MF is that even with that borrowing the sell requests piled up, leading to this first-of-its-kind decision to freeze the funds.

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