Most of the aspiring young adults aim at pursuing higher education. Their ultimate aim is to have a great career and high income through employment or entrepreneurship. Though higher education instils confidence in young adults and makes them competitive in today's cut throat competition, ignorance still prevails in terms of having a common knowledge on one's investments. And this ignorance of investors results in bad investment decisions, which are also many a times induced by the self-centred distributors.
For example, recently mutual fund houses while sending Consolidated Account Statement (CAS) to their investors have classified some of the mutual fund accounts as 'Dormant account' owing to the fact that there have been no transactions in a particular mutual fund scheme since the last six months. But not being well-versed with the term many investors have panicked and rushed in for redemptions by citing the word 'Dormant account' in their CAS.
This is because most investors fear that once their mutual fund account has been tagged as 'dormant', it would be transferred to the Investor's Protection Fund. Moreover, the banking sector rules, under which customers are required to "reactivate" if a savings bank account is classified "dormant or inoperative", have added to the panic.
According to para 14.3.4 of the Master Circular for Mutual Funds titled 'dormant account holders', "mutual funds shall also provide statement of accounts to those unitholders who have not transacted during the last six months prior to the generation of the statement of accounts." This classification unfortunately brings most of the investors under this category as generally in case of lump sum investments in mutual funds do not have series of transactions and one invests with a long-term investment horizon, whereby no transaction is done every six months. Only investors in Systematic Investment Plans (SIP), where there are regular monthly or quarterly investments have escaped this classification.
What should investors in case of their 'dormant account'?
We think that investors need not panic, if they see their CAS classifying any of their folios as dormant. It is noteworthy that with the folio / account being classified as 'dormant', it merely indicates that you have not transacted in the last six months. Also, the mutual fund account will in no case be transferred to the 'Investor's Protection Fund'.
Apart from checking your account status, one should also read the mutual fund account statement well for other details such as name, address of communication, the mutual fund scheme name and the option selected, bank account details and nominee details if any.
Since the term 'dormant' creates confusion and panic in the minds of many investor, we are also of the view that the matter should be taken up by the industry body AMFI, which should direct all the mutual fund houses not to use the word 'dormant account' in the CAS; and even if they do, they should give a proper clarification before using such ambiguous terms which makes investors nervous and ultimately redeem their investments from mutual funds. We think that simply stating that "there are no transactions in the last six months", would be most appropriate.
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