Nippon takes over Reliance Capital's AMC, renames it as Nippon India MF

Mumbai: After the Rs 6,000-crore acquisition of Reliance Capital's asset management arm, Japanese financial services major Nippon Life will be focusing on regaining the lost market share it has had in the country with its JV with the Anil Ambani group, a top official said here on Monday.

Reliance Mutual Fund, which has been renamed as Nippon India Mutual Fund (NIMF) following the deal, used to be the leader in assets under management till a few years ago, but has slipped to the fifth spot as institutional investors pulled out their money with the troubled company.

Nippon Life entered Reliance AMC first by buying a 26 percent stake in 2012 and now owns as much as 75 percent, making it the single largest promoter. Nippon has paid Rs 6,000 crore for 75 percent stake, chief executive Sundeep Sikka told reporters.

"We will recover the losses in AUM that have happened," he added.

Sikka, who will continue to lead the new company, said the retail investors have stayed with it and it has been able to grow its market share as well.

Nippon Life's global president Hiroshi Shimizu said a strong team led by Sikka, coupled with the opportunity presented by the under-penetrated Indian market made them increase their stake in the venture. Nippon Life globally manages over Rs 50 lakh crore assets.

Sikka said the domestic mutual fund space has only 2 percent penetration and the fund house will focus on rural and semi-urban segments. Beyond its 300 physical touch-points and 78,000 distributors, it will focus more on digital forms of selling.

Answering a specific query if the move to invoke the pledge of Rana Kapoor on his Yes Bank holding as reported in the press recently represents a directional change, Sikka refused to directly answer.

He, however, mentioned that there will better risk management as going forward unit-holders can enjoy the benefits of the same practices. Reliance MF had Rs 2.22 lakh of AUM in June, which had slid nearly 4 percent in the preceding quarter, and was ranked fifth in the list led by HDFC Mutual Fund. Sikka said the fund has raised commitments of USD 200 million from marquee Japanese investors, and will continue to get foreign investors into the country. As of now it manages USD 2 billion of foreigners' money which is invested in the domestic market, he said.

Shimizu said the firm is also working more actively on the Reliance Life in which it owns 49 percent, with teams collaborating on actuarial and strategy side.

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