Mumbai: Deepak Kumar Chatterjee is at the helm of one of India’s largest fund house SBI MF at a critical juncture in the mutual fund industry. Training SBI employees in mutual funds and expanding his branch network are among his key priorities. Chatterjee talks to Ravi Samalad of Cafemutual about his plans in his new role
What kind of initiatives and changes are you taking in your new role?
The State Bank group has 18,000 branches. We have 18,000 qualified employees who can sell mutual fund products. So there is a huge potential there. But not many of them are active. We are making a lot of effort in training a lot of these employees about mutual funds. Employee education and investor education are the main focus areas where I would like to concentrate on. The idea is to encourage more employees to take NISM test.
Is SBI’s banking channel also selling rival MF products?
Yes. The bank sells three or four other funds too.
What would be your strategy to penetrate in smaller towns?
Our penetration in the rural space is pretty good. If you take the institutional flow out, the spread between the top eight towns and the rest is almost half and balanced. That’s a good sign. It goes well with SBI Bank’s philosophy of financial inclusion and reaching out to the smallest investor.
Is SBI MF planning to add any new offices?
We have more than 100 points of presence currently. As we ramp up our AUM, we will add new offices. It’s difficult to put a number, but adding 20 offices in a year is imminently possible.
You have assumed office at a very critical juncture in the mutual fund industry. What would be your strategy to stay ahead of the game?
I am happy that there is a regulatory oversight. I firmly believe that regulation is always good for the industry and the investors. It might look difficult initially but eventually everyone emerge stronger. That is also true with the banking sector in India. In 1990s it was under strong regulations when the new norms were introduced. Thereafter the banking industry went through some pain but it is now one of the robust sectors in India and among the strongest in the world. Within the confines of the regulations, it’s possible to reach out to investors and bring value on the table. The idea is not to come out with too many products in a hurry.
You posted a net profit of Rs 75 crore in the last fiscal. What are your estimates for this year?
We are very well placed in terms of AMC profitability. It will be definitely higher than the last year.
Finally, how much are you targeting to collect from this NFO?
Around Rs 200 crore should come in.