Franklin Templeton apologises to SEBI, says CEO quoted out of context

New Delhi, May 8 (IANS) Franklin Templeton Mutual Fund on Friday issued an unconditional apology to SEBI for its President and CEO Jenny Johnson’s recent statement where she indicated that the Indian market’s regulator sudden change in guidelines were responsible for the shutting down of six fund mutual fund schemes.

In a statement, the fund house further said Johnson was quoted out of context in some media reports, “which diluted the essence of her response”.

It said that headlines and articles “erroneously” suggested that Johnson stated that the SEBI’s guidelines on unlisted securities were the main reason for the decision to wind up the schemes.

“This is neither factually correct, nor substantiated by the comments made during the conference call. We deeply regret any misunderstanding this may have caused,” it said.

During a recent analyst call, Franklin Templeton’s President & CEO said that SEBI’s directive of capping mutual funds’ exposure to unlisted non-convertible debentures (NCD) at 10 per cent, “orphaned” about one-third of their funds as the unlisted NCDs could not be trade anymore.

The fund house said that Johnson had provided the general background concerning Franklin Templeton’s experience in the Indian market as it existed before Covid-19. The reference to the regulations around unlisted securities was intended to be a part of these background statements to provide context to an audience unfamiliar with Indian markets, it added.

“We deeply regret any unintended slight this may have caused to the esteemed offices of SEBI whom we have always held in the highest regard and unconditionally apologize for the same,” the Franklin Templeton statement said.

The statement, comes after the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) late on Thursday advised Franklin Templeton Mutual fund to focus on returning money to investors, in the context of winding up six of their debt schemes.

SEBI also said that a section of the media has reported quoting the company that tightening of norms for investment in unlisted debt by SEBI was one of the factors that added to pressure on theirdebt schemes which resulted in winding up of their schemes.

“In the current scenario, Franklin Templeton should focus on returning the money of investors as soon as possible,” SEBI said in a statement.

–IANS
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Indo Asian News Service

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