‘Local mutual funds sector has potential to grow 10 times bigger’

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Bangladesh has a mutual fund industry of around Tk 15,000 crore and it has the potential to grow at least 10 times bigger, said Prof Shibli Rubayat Ul Islam, chairman of Bangladesh Securities and Exchange Commission (BSEC).

Mutual funds are lagging behind in reaching their potential in Bangladesh, as many people still do not know much about the high-performing sector due to a lack of publicity by the local asset management companies, he said today.

People are looking for other options to invest as the deposit rates in banks are mostly lower than inflation rate, he said.

“But, many people don’t know about the mutual funds sector that provided good dividend this year. The main problem is a lack of publicity of the industry’s performance.”

He spoke in a virtual seminar on the “Institutional role in sustainable financing” organised by the Association of Asset Management Companies and Mutual Funds of Bangladesh under the World Investor Week-2021.

Mutual funds pool money from investors to channel it into securities such as stocks, bonds, and other assets. Depending on the profits earned, investors are then paid their share as dividends.

The mutual fund industry provided dividend worth around Tk 600 crore this year, said Hasan Imam, president of the Association of Asset Management Companies and Mutual Funds.

Units of listed mutual funds grew by 57 per cent in the last fiscal year while stocks of the banks rose by 54 per cent and the benchmark index advanced by 50 per cent, he said.

The industry is still lucrative as most of the funds’ net asset values are higher than their unit prices, he said.

“When we watch international cricket matches, we see many advertisements of Indian mutual funds. Bangladeshi asset managers should also do that, at least from the association,” BSEC chairman also said.

“We are happy with the performance of the mutual funds,” Islam said.

He also urged the asset managers to inform the stock market regulator about what help they need for the sake of the mutual funds sector.

“Recently we proposed the National Board of Revenue to provide the asset managers and the bond market players with incentives to give them a boost. The NBR agreed with us.”

Prof Mizanur Rahman, a commissioner of the BSEC; Arfan Ali, managing director of Bank Asia; Moniza Choudhury, managing director of CWT Asset management Company, and Kh Asadul Islam, managing director and CEO of Alliance Asset management Company, also spoke at the event.