Religare Aegon gets SEBI nod for mutual fund business

Mumbai: Religare Aegon Asset Management Company, a joint venture of financial services firm Religare Enterprises and Dutch insurer Aegon, has received approval from stock market regulator Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) for entering into mutual fund business in the country.

''Religare Aegon Asset Management Company has received the final approval from Securities and Exchange Board of India to launch mutual fund business in the country,'' Religare Enterprises said in a filing with the Bombay Stock Exchange.

Religare Aegon AMC plans to file for the first offer document, with a possible product launch by the end of the year, Saurabh Nanavati, chief executive of Religare Aegon Asset Management, said.

The joint venture plans to have 15 branches and launch at least seven funds in the first year of operations and increase the number of branches to 25 by March 2009. 

The AMC will focus on increasing its market reach, especially in Tier III and Tier III cities across the country over the next 2-3 years. It plans to set up at least 100 branches in the first two years of operations.

The 35-strong mutual fund industry in India had total assets under management of Rs540,000 crore ($118 billion) as of end-August.
 
French insurer AXA, US financial services major JPMorgan, South Korea's Mirae Asset and Edelweiss Capital have all set up asset management business in India over the past two years.

Religare and Aegon have already launched operations of their life insurance joint venture in India.