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Nod to new mutual-fund channels

The Securities and Exchange Commission has revised the rules on mutual-fund agents to allow additional channels for investment in such funds, expected to put into effect by early next month.

SEC secretary-general Vorapol Socatiyanurak said the Capital Market Supervisory Board recently resolved to approve additional types of mutual-fund agents.

These must: (1) be a state enterprise that is a non-bank and, if setting up as a company, more than 50 per cent of all shares with voting rights must be held by the Ministry of Finance; (2) be approved by the Bank of Thailand to provide financial services, such as money deposits and withdrawal, money transfers or bill payments; (3) have nationwide networks/branches to reach out to investors; (4) have clear and long-term business plans to provide service for investment in mutual funds; and (5) demonstrate readiness in terms of financial condition, operational systems and human resources.

"The new types of sales agents will not only promote development of the asset-management industry and enhance competitiveness of asset-management companies and not bank subsidiaries, but also open access for potential operators, such as Thailand Post, to take part in capital-market businesses.

"More investment channels to support convenient and continuous investment in mutual funds will back the government policy to promote saving and investment discipline and preparation for retirement, which will eventually help relieve the burdens resulting from an ageing society in the future," Vorapol said.


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