Capital markets regulator the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) is looking to appoint forensic auditors to conduct forensic audits of mutual funds, their asset management companies (AMCs), and trustees.
This comes days after SEBI proposed to enhance the role and accountability of the mutual fund trustees in a move to safeguard unitholders’ interest.
In a public notice, SEBI has invited applications from eligible firms for empanelment to take up assignments related to forensic audit of mutual funds, its AMCs and its trustee companies or board of trustees.
The applicants are required to undertake the acquisition, extraction, and analysis of digital evidence from mobile, computers, tablets, hard drives, and USB drives. Also, the applicants need to prepare and submit a report mentioning the findings and conclusions of the analysis, SEBI said.
Spelling out the eligibility criteria, the regulator said the applicant should have at least 10 years of experience in the field of forensic audit and digital forensics and a minimum of 10 partners or directors, out of which five of them should be actively involved in forensic audit-related work.
Among others, the total revenue of the applicant from forensic audit assignments in the last three financial years must be at least Rs 1 crore.
Interested entities can send their applicants to Sebi by March 6, as per the notice.
Amid the growing scale of the mutual fund industry, the regulator, in a consultation paper on Friday, suggested that trustees of mutual funds should focus on market abuse by AMC, and its employees and mis-selling by the AMC to increase the asset base.
Also, trustees should be responsible for the fairness of fees and expenses charged by the AMC, compare its performance with peers and ensure that AMC’s sponsor is not getting any undue advantage.
Also, Sebi has suggested a common platform for the dissemination of public announcements by mutual funds.
In order to have an independent review mechanism for the decisions of AMC from the perspective of unitholders’ interest across all products and services, Sebi has proposed that a “Unit Holder Protection Committee (UHPC) should be constituted by board of AMC”.
Edited by Suman Singh