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SEBI order does not impact the current monetisation process, says Franklin

The AMC also said that the order has no impact on other Franklin schemes

Franklin fiasco - A timeline

June

  • 8th June: In a letter to investors, Franklin informed, "While we are still in the process of studying the order, basis our initial review, we disagree with the findings in the SEBI order and intend to file an appeal with the Hon'ble Securities Appellate Tribunal."
  • Addressing investors' concerns on the monetization process, FT said, "The SEBI order does not impact the current monetization process of the six debt schemes under winding up being undertaken by the liquidator. The order also is not related to and has no impact on the other Debt, Equity, Hybrid and Offshore schemes managed by Franklin Templeton."
  • The AMC highlighted that the immediate priority and focus remains on supporting the court appointed liquidator in liquidating the portfolio of the schemes under winding up and distributing monies to the unitholders at the earliest, while preserving value.
  • 7th June: SEBI has imposed monetary penalties on Franklin Templeton Mutual Fund and its key officials. Further, the market regulator has banned the AMC from launching new debt funds for two years. For detailed information, read this article.
  • 6th June: In a letter to investors, FT informed that Rs 3,205.25 crore of cash is available for distribution as of June 4, 2021 and is being paid to investors in the week commencing June 7, 2021.
  • This will be paid by extinguishing proportionate units at the NAV dated June 4, 2021. This fourth tranche will bring the total amount distributed to Rs 17,778 crore, amounting to 71 per cent of AUM as on April 23, 2020.
  • Responding to queries received by the AMC around the recent volatility in NAV in some of the fixed income schemes including the six shuttered funds, FT said, "These changes are basis changes in the market prices or valuations of these securities and are not indicative of any downgrades or defaults in the portfolio securities, or of any write-down in value. Such MTM (Mark to Market) movements may seem more pronounced in the shuttered funds due to their relatively small residual AUM where a valuation change even in one security can cause a meaningful short-term impact on the NAV. Some schemes were also impacted by a change in methodology for certain types of Floating Rate Bonds adopted by valuation agencies, with effect from May 17, 2021."

May

  • 31st May: The suite of six yield-oriented schemes have received Rs 21,993 crore from maturities, pre-payments, sale and coupons since the closure announcement in April last year.
  • As per the latest portfolio released by FT, the six schemes collected Rs 1,378 crore in the second half of May.
  • The total cash available for distribution across the six schemes stands at Rs 2,642 crore as of 31st May.
  • 14th May: As per the mid-month portfolio released by FT, the six schemes have received a total of Rs 20,615 crore since the closure announcement in April last year.
  • The yield-oriented schemes collected Rs 1261 crore in the first half of May and an identical amount of cash is available for distribution in these schemes as on 14th May.
  • Post the payout of the third tranche of Rs 2489 crore in the week of May 3, 2021 (based on NAV as on April 30, 2021), the six schemes have returned Rs 14,572 crore to unitholders, amounting to 58% of AUM as on 23rd April 2020. Further, in case of two schemes - Ultra Short and Low Duration - the disbursement is over 75 per cent of their AUM at the time of closure.

April

  • 30th April: As per the April month-end portfolio update released by FT, the six yield-oriented schemes have received total cash flows of Rs 19,353 crore till April 30, 2021 from maturities, coupons, sale and prepayments since winding up. In the month of April, the six schemes received a total cash flows of Rs 2,041 crore.
  • Cash available for distribution in the six schemes has now increased to Rs 2,490 as on April 30, 2021 from an earlier Rs 447 crore as on April 15, 2021.
  • Out of the cash available for distribution, about Rs 2,489 would be distributed as the third tranche during the week of May 3, 2021 by extinguishing proportionate units at the prevailing NAV on the date of processing to unitholders across all 6 schemes. Post this pay-out, the total disbursement would stand at Rs 14,572 crores.
  • The NAVs of all the six schemes were higher as on April 30, 2021 vis-à-vis their respective NAVs on April 23, 2020, i.e., the date on which the winding up decision was taken.
  • 15th April: As per the mid-month portfolio update released by FT, the six yield-oriented schemes have received total cash flows of Rs 17,312 crore till April 15, 2021 from maturities, coupons, sale and prepayments since winding up. In the first half of April, the six schemes received cash flows of Rs 1,536 crore.
  • Post the pay-out of the second tranche of Rs 2,962 crore to unitholders in the week of April 12 (except in cases requiring remediation or incomplete documentation), the total disbursement to unitholders across six schemes now stands at Rs 12,084 crore.
  • Cash available for distribution in the six schemes now stands at Rs 447 crore as on April 15, 2021.
  • The NAVs of all the six schemes were higher as on April 15, 2021 vis-à-vis their respective NAVs on April 23, 2020, i.e., the date on which the winding up decision was taken.
  • FT reiterated that the AMC's primary focus over the last several months has been, and remains, on returning money to investors at the earliest, while preserving value.
  • 10th April: FT has informed investors that the court-appointed liquidator, SBI MF, will distribute the next tranche of Rs 2,962 crores to unitholders across all six schemes. The payment to all investors whose accounts are KYC compliant with all details available will be made during the week of April 12, 2021.
  • The payment will be made by extinguishing proportionate units at the NAV dated April 9, 2021. Accordingly, the units held by the investor in the scheme will reduce to that extent.
  • Individually, investors in Low Duration, Ultra Short Bond, Dynamic Accrual, Credit Risk, Short Term Income Plan and Income Opportunities Fund will get back about 14.18, 28.42, 11.23, 11.22, 13.37 and 6.67 per cent respectively of their portfolio value.
  • The payment will be electronically made to all eligible unitholders by SBI MF. In case the unitholders' bank account is not eligible for an electronic payment, a Cheque/Demand Draft will be issued.
  • 2nd April: In a letter to investors, FT assured that the AMC has no plans to exit it's India operations. The AMC said, "We were early entrants in the Indian mutual fund industry and have remained a part of the industry even while many other global asset managers decided to leave. We continue to manage over Rs 60,000 crore of AUM for over 2 million Indian investors."
  • This comes after recent media reports suggested that the AMC has been engaging with Indian authorities seeking just hearing in SEBI's investigation into the six wound-up schemes. Reports also suggested that the AMC has threatened to exit it's business in India if not given a fair hearing.
  • Regarding the AMC engaging with Indian authorities, FT said that engagements with government authorities, in India and globally, is done as a matter of course to keep all the stakeholders appropriately informed of developments. Further, FT said that they have full confidence in SEBI.
  • Giving an update on the shutdown schemes, FT said, "The NAVs of all six schemes are now above the NAV as of 23rd April 2020, indicating that we have been able to preserve value through the action of winding up. All six schemes are now cash positive with no outstanding borrowing."

March

  • 31st March: As per the latest portfolio update, the six shutdown schemes received total cash flows of Rs 15,776 crore till March end. These schemes received Rs 505 crore in the second half of March.
  • With Income Opportunities Fund now turning cash positive (after repaying all its outstanding borrowings), all the six schemes are now cash positive.
  • Post distribution of Rs 9,122 crore (from five cash-positive schemes) in February 2021, the cash available for distribution in all six schemes now stands at Rs 1,874 crore as on March end.
  • 18th March: The apex court, in a hearing today, accepted the Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) submitted by SBI Mutual fund to monetize assets of the shuttered Franklin schemes and distribute the proceeds. The SOP was pry BI in consultation with FT and SEBI.
  • The Supreme Court also said that expenses including reasonable fees relating to this process will be at this stage paid by FT. Further, the apex body stated that SBI Mutual Fund, FT and SEBI would coordinate with each other and resolve in case any issue arises.
  • Referring to this development, a Franklin Templeton Spokesperson said, "In a hearing held today, the Hon'ble Supreme Court took note of the standard operating procedure (SOP) prepared by SBI Funds Management Pvt. Ltd. (SBI) in consultation with Franklin Templeton Mutual Fund and SEBI to monetize assets of the schemes under winding up and distribute the proceeds to unitholders. We look forward to supporting SBI in the monetization of the portfolio. The schemes have already distributed INR 9,122 crores to investors and have accrued another INR 1,370 crores in cash as on March 15, 2021. Unitholders may note that the NAVs of all six schemes is now above the NAV as on the date of the winding up."
  • 15th March: As per the mid-month portfolio released by FT, the six schemes collected Rs 224 crore in the first half of March. These schemes have received a total of Rs 15,272 crore since the closure announcement in April last year.
  • The distributable cash in the five cash-positive schemes stands at Rs 1,370 crore as on 15th March. The borrowing levels in Income Opportunities Fund continue to come down steadily and currently stands at less than 1 per cent of its AUM.
  • As of 15th March, the NAVs of all the six schemes were higher compared to their respective NAVs as on 23rd April last year.
  • FT further communicated that the AMC's focus remains on liquidating the portfolio and returning monies at the earliest, while preserving value.
  • 12th March: In a letter to investors, FT informed that the court-appointed liquidator, SBI Funds Management Pvt. Ltd. with support from Franklin Templeton, has finalized the Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) to monetize assets of the schemes under winding up and distribute the proceeds, and has filed the SOP with the SC. FT anticipates SBI to commence active monetization very shortly.
  • Regarding the reports about the AMC's practices around risk management, inter-scheme transfers and calculation of the Macaulay Duration, as well as personal transactions by employees and management, FT said that since these issues remain under regulatory review, the fund house is constrained from commenting on specific details but FT confirmed that there have been no adverse findings against Franklin Templeton or its employees or management till date. The AMC urged investors to allow the law and due process to take its course, and not to be swayed by unsubstantiated reports.
  • FT also said that the fund house has submitted detailed responses to show-cause notices issued by SEBI. On the accusations regarding personal transactions of employees and management, FT assured investors that the AMC takes such matters seriously. FT said "The schemes under winding up continue to have significant investment from employees and management of Franklin Templeton as well as from the AMC and other group companies."
  • Additionally, FT said that the personal redemptions by certain individuals before the winding-up decision are under review and those individuals have cooperated fully with that process and submitted detailed responses to SEBI, which are under consideration.
  • The AMC also informed that the top court has concluded arguments and is expected to issue an order on the interpretation of the regulations pertaining to the winding up of the six schemes.
  • 4th March: In a latest development, the Enforcement Directorate (ED) has reportedly registered a money laundering case against Franklin Templeton based on a FIR against the AMC filed at the Chennai Police Economic Offences Wing in September.
  • Separately, SEBI has reportedly summoned few key personnels at Franklin based on the findings of the forensic audit report which has revealed several wrongdoings by the AMC including redemptions by some executives just before announcing the closure of it's six debt funds.
  • As for the court proceedings, the apex body after listening to all the parties in the Franklin case, reserved the order and postponed the matters in the second half of July in the hope of speedy completion of the pending adjudication proceedings.

February

  • 26th February: As per the latest portfolio update, the suite of six yield-oriented schemes received cash flows of Rs 475 crore over the latest fortnight ended 26th February. The total cash flows received till date from maturities, coupons and prepayments stand at Rs 15,048 crore.
  • FT updated that the cash available for distribution in the five cash-positive schemes stands at Rs 1180 crore as on 26th February. Further, the NAVs of all the six schemes were higher as of this date vis-à-vis their respective NAVs on the date closure announcement.
  • The borrowing levels in Income Opportunities Fund currently stands at 4 per cent of its AUM.
  • Further FT reiterated that while the five cash positive schemes have distributed cash of Rs 9122 crore available as of 15th January, the balance amount will be distributed by SBI in tranches without waiting for liquidation of all securities in the portfolio.
  • 15th February: Giving a mid-month update, FT communicated that the six schemes under winding up received Rs 183 crore during 1-15 February, taking the total cash flows to Rs 14,573 crore till date. The NAVs of all the six schemes as on 15th February 2021 were higher than their respective NAVs on 23rd April 2020, i.e. the date of closure announcement.
  • The borrowing levels in Income Opportunities Fund currently stands at 5 per cent of its AUM.
  • Updating investors about the partial payments, FT said, "We are happy to inform you that payment to all investors whose accounts are KYC compliant with all details available has been made by SBI Funds Management Pvt. Ltd. (SBI). While the five cash positive schemes have distributed cash of Rs 9,122 crore available as of January 15, 2021, the balance amount will be distributed in tranches without waiting for liquidation of all securities in the portfolio. We have initiated discussions with SBI and will keep you informed about progress made on monetization."
  • FT also said that since the schemes will be able to actively monetise assets through various modes including prepayments and secondary market sales, this should help accelerate the monetization process earlier than the dates mentioned in the maturity profile document.
  • 13th February: Providing an update on the partial payment from the schemes under winding-up, FT said that the partial payments to be made during the week of 15th February will be made by extinguishing proportionate units at the NAV dated 12th February, 2021. Accordingly, the units held by the investor in the scheme will reduce to that extent.
  • Individually, investors in the Low Duration, Ultra Short Bond, Dynamic Accrual, Credit Risk and Short Term Income Plan will get back about 63, 50, 40, 25 and 8 per cent respectively of the value of their investment.
  • 12th February: The Supreme Court, in its order today, upheld the validity of e-voting process and also appointed SBI Mutual Fund as the authorised person to take next steps on monetisation. The apex court expects SBI Mutual Fund to follow the best effort principle to ensure timely payment to the unitholders and assure the best possible liquidation value of the securities.
  • Referring to this development, FT said "We are pleased to inform that the Hon'ble Supreme Court, in its order dated 12 February 2021 has upheld the results of the e-voting u/r 18(15)(c) held in December 2020 and confirmed the winding up of 6 schemes. The Hon'ble Supreme Court has also appointed SBI Funds Management Pvt. Ltd. as the authorized person under regulation 41 to take next steps on monetisation. Franklin Templeton Mutual Fund will provide all assistance and cooperation to SBI Funds Management to monetize the assets. The decision of the Hon'ble Supreme Court to dispense with voting u/r 41 reduces any potential delay in commencing active monetization of assets."
  • Regulation 41 requires the unitholder's approval to authorise either the trustees or a third-party to monetise assets in an orderly manner. Now with the top court appointing SBI Mutual Fund, the AMC will not have to wait for another round of voting, thus reducing any further delays in initiating the liquidation process.
  • The Supreme Court rejected all the petitions related to the e-voting process for the winding up of the six Franklin schemes that took place in December last year. Further, the apex court said that more clarity and certainty was required in the Mutual Fund Regulations.
  • The court noted that as per the documents submitted by FT, over Rs 17,000 crore worth of assets were yet to be realised. It was also observed that both FT and SEBI wanted the liquidation process to be progressed with caution, as any rush could result in losses thereby reducing the realisable value.
  • SC also directed that the recovered money can be distributed to the unitholders in tranches without waiting for liquidation of all the securities.
  • 11th February: In a notice to investors, FT communicated about working closely with the SBI team to ensure earliest distribution of available cash. The five cash positive schemes, Ultra Short Bond, Low Duration, Short Term Income Plan, Credit Risk and Dynamic Accrual have Rs 5075, 1625, 469, 926 and 1025 crore respectively.
  • Sharing the distribution process of Rs 9,122 crore, FT said that the payments will be made during the week of 15th February, 2021 to all investors whose accounts are KYC compliant with all details available. The payment will be made by extinguishing proportionate units at the prevailing NAV on the date of processing.
  • Further, payment will be electronically made by SBI from the bank accounts (one per scheme) opened by them for this purpose. If an investor's bank account is not eligible for an electronic payment, a demand draft/cheque will be issued and sent to the investor's registered address.
  • FT will send an account statement to investors showing the details of units extinguished and payment made. Additionally, investors can request for the capital gains statement via the AMC website, call centre or from the registered email address.
  • 9th February: Giving an update on the hearing held today, FT said that the application submitted by SBI Mutual Fund, detailing the distribution mechanism framed in consultation with SEBI and Franklin Templeton Mutual Fund was approved by the Supreme Court. The AMC will provide all assistance to SBI Mutual Fund to distribute the available cash to the respective unitholders, at the earliest.
  • The matter will next be heard on 17th February to consider other aspects of the appeal.
  • 3rd February: In a letter to investors, FT assured investors that the AMC will provide the required assistance to SBI Mutual Fund to ensure distribution of available cash at the earliest. FT reiterated that the orderly winding-up of the portfolios and return of money has been the only priority during the last 9 months.
  • FT informed investors that in the five of six schemes, the NAV as on 29th January, 2021 is higher than the NAV as on the date of closure. As for Income Opportunities Fund, which is still paring down its borrowings, the NAV is only marginally lower. Additionally, the combined AUM of the six schemes has increased from Rs 25,648 crore on 23rd April, 2020 to Rs 26,414 crore as on 29th January, 2021.
  • The next hearing in this matter is scheduled for 9th February.
  • 2nd February: In a major development, the Supreme Court today directed that the cash available under the six shutdown schemes should be distributed amongst the unitholders in proportion to their holdings. Additionally, the apex court assigned SBI Mutual Fund to carry out this exercise as agreed by both Franklin Templeton and SEBI.
  • Importantly, the top court said the distribution of money to unitholders should be preferably carried out within twenty days from the date of this order. Further, the Court asked the Franklin Templeton Trust services and AMC to cooperate with SBI Mutual Fund.
  • Commenting on today's development, FT said, "We are pleased that, as requested by us, and in the best interests of Unitholders, the Hon'ble Supreme Court has directed the distribution of Rs 9,122 crore (distributable surplus as of 15 January 2021) to the respective unitholders in proportion to their holdings in the schemes under winding up, subject to fund running expenses."
  • Additionally the AMC said, "As previously stated, we went ahead with the difficult decision of winding up these schemes because of our firm belief that this was the right decision to preserve value for investors, as evidenced by the generation of cash in these schemes over the last 9 months. We believe the distribution of monies will provide unitholders with much needed liquidity and look forward to working with the Regulator and SBI Mutual Fund to distribute the cash within the period stipulated by the Court."

January

  • 29th January: The six shutdown schemes received total cash flows of Rs 14,391 crore till January end. Over the period of 16-29th January, these schemes received Rs 602 crore, of which Rs 350 crore was as pre-payments.
  • The five cash-positive schemes have Rs 9,770 crore cash available to return to unitholders, subject to fund running expenses. The balance Rs 4,621 crore has been used to repay borrowings and interest thereon of the six schemes.
  • Individually, Low Duration, Ultra Short Bond, Dynamic Accrual, Credit Risk and Short Term Income Plan have 65, 53, 41, 27 and 11 per cent of their respective AUM in cash.
  • The borrowing levels in Income Opportunities Fund continue to come down steadily and currently stand at 5 per cent of its AUM.
  • 18th January: Today, the e-voting results were revealed in the apex court. As per the report of the observer who was appointed to monitor the process, over 96 per cent of unitholders have voted in favour of orderly winding-up across six schemes.
  • Individually, Ultra Short Bond Fund, Low Duration Fund, Dynamic Accrual Fund, Credit Risk Fund, Income Opportunities Fund and Short Term Income Plan received 96.78, 97.23, 97.62, 97.97, 96.89 and 97.61 per cent respectively.
  • The case will next be heard on 25th January where the top court will reportedly decide on the disbursement of the available cash.
  • In a statement referring to the above development, FT said, "We are thankful to our unitholders for voting overwhelmingly in favour of the orderly winding-up in all six schemes. We deeply appreciate the support of our investors and partners and hope to commence distribution of investment proceeds at the earliest, subject to the directions of the Hon'ble Supreme Court in the next hearing scheduled to be held on 25 January 2021."
  • 15th January: The suite of six yield-oriented funds received cash flows of Rs 13,789 crore since winding up. In the first half of January, these schemes received Rs 669 crore, of which about 92 per cent was as pre-payments.
  • The five cash positive schemes - Low Duration, Ultra Short Bond, Dynamic Accrual, Credit Risk and Short Term Income Plan - have 63, 50, 41, 26 and 9 per cent of their respective AUM in cash. As of 15th January, the collective cash available across these five schemes stands at Rs 9,190 crore.
  • Borrowing levels in the Income Opportunities Fund continue to come down steadily and currently stand at 6 per cent of AUM.
  • 6th January: Sharing an update on monetization of assets in the six shut schemes, FT said that the inflows received till 31st December are nearly 41 per cent higher than what was anticipated in the maturity profile published at the time of closure.
  • FT highlighted that of the Rs 13,120 crore received since closure April 24, 2020, about more than half of it has been received from securities rated "A", followed by securities rated "AA". Additionally, nearly 29 per cent of the cash is from unlisted securities and nearly 74 per cent from securities where the schemes are the sole or majority holders.
  • FT reiterated that with Short Term Income Plan turning cash positive, the total number of cash positive schemes has reached five.
  • Regarding e-voting, FT stated that the result along with the report of the observer appointed by SEBI will be submitted to the top court in a sealed envelope and any further steps will be taken as per the directions of the apex court.

December

  • 31st December: Franklin's six shutdown schemes collectively received Rs 13,120 crore from maturities, pre-payments and coupon payments since closure. During the second half, the schemes received a total of Rs 1,213 crore.
  • Short Term Income Plan is the latest scheme to turn cash positive with 8 per cent of its AUM available in cash. The other four schemes - Low Duration Fund, Ultra Short Bond Fund, Dynamic Accrual Fund and Credit Risk Fund - have 52, 49, 41 and 23 per cent of their respective AUM in cash.The cash available for the five cash positive schemes stands at Rs.8,527 crore, subject to fund running expenses.
  • Income Opportunities Fund is the only scheme which is still paring down its borrowings which currently stands at 6 per cent of its AUM.
  • FT communicated that as per the direction of the apex court, trustees conducted the e-voting from 26th to 28th December followed by a unitholder meet on 29th December 2020. The AMC reiterated that redemptions in the shut schemes will continue to be suspended till the date of the next hearing scheduled in the third week of January 2021.
  • 26th December: In a press release, SEBI announced the appointment of Taruvai Subayya Krishnamurthy, the former Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) of India as the observer to oversee the e-voting process of the six shuttered schemes.
  • SEBI stated that on 9th December, the apex court had directed the regulator to appoint an observer. Accordingly, the market regulator had appointed the former CEC on 18th December. It has also constituted a technical assistance team.
  • 15th December: As per the mid-month portfolio released by FT, the six schemes collected Rs 330 crore between 28th November and 15th December, of which Rs 118 crore were prepayments. These schemes have received a total of Rs 11,907 crore since the closure announcement.
  • The four cash positive schemes have Rs 7,488 crore available as cash, subject to fund-running expenses.
  • Individually, Low Duration Fund, Ultra Short Bond Fund, Dynamic Accrual Fund and Credit Risk Fund have 49, 48, 34 and 16 per cent of their respective AUM in cash.
  • As per the communication, borrowing levels in Short Term Income Plan and Income Opportunities Fund continue to come down steadily and currently stand at 1 per cent and 16 per cent of their respective AUM.
  • 9th December: In the hearing today, the Supreme Court continued with its previous order of stay on redemptions. The top court further asked SEBI to appoint an observer for the electronic voting to be held in the last week of December. The matter will next be heard in the third week of January 2021.
  • Sharing a summary of SC's hearing, FT said that the stay on redemptions would continue to be stayed till the date of the next hearing. FT further added that as per the interim order, SEBI would appoint an observer to monitor the voting process. The voting results and the report of the observer will be submitted to the Court in a sealed envelope.
  • In the letter, the AMC also updated investors that over the next few days, they would receive the user id and password from KFin Technologies for the purpose of e-voting.
  • 7th December: According to a press release, the trustees of Franklin Templeton have approached unitholders to seek consent for the orderly winding up. For the electronic voting process and the unitholders meeting, the trustees have partnered with 'K Fintech'. Voting will take place from 26th to 28th December and the meeting of unitholders of relevant schemes will be held on 29th December. Unitholders who did not vote previously will be allowed to vote during the unitholders meet. The AMC has shared the details of the same with unitholders through separate notices.
  • The trustees believe an orderly liquidation would maximize the value of the portfolio assets for distribution of cash to unitholders on a pro-rata basis.
  • Sanjay Sapre, President, Franklin Templeton - India, urged and requested unitholders to take a judicious decision in the interest of protecting the value of their investments by voting in favour of orderly winding up. "We now see many issuers approaching us with offers of prepayment, and with markets slowly returning to normalcy, secondary market interest for many of the securities held in the scheme portfolios is also increasing. We can accelerate the process of monetizing scheme assets once we have unitholders' consent for an orderly winding up," he added.
  • 4th December: In a note to investors, FT said that in order to ensure maximum participation, it would be taking unitholders consent through an electronic vote followed by a meeting through video conference. Further details in this regard will be soon shared by the AMC.
  • The consent will be sought separately for each scheme. A favourable vote will allow FT to proceed with the next step which is seeking unitholder authorisation. According to FT, this will result in the best possible outcomes for investors under the current circumstances. A "No" vote, on the other hand, will mean that the funds will be required to re-open which, according to the AMC, may lead to significant losses.
  • The AMC assured that voting for an orderly winding-up will not mean a lengthy wait for money. Once the AMC receives the majority "Yes" vote, it will proceed with a second vote to seek investors' approval to authorise the Trustee, or any other person, to proceed with the winding- up. Then the person authorised would be able to distribute the already available cash and make further payments at regular intervals as the schemes monetise assets and receive cash-flows.
  • 3rd December: On day one of the hearing, the Supreme Court (SC), in the petition filed by Franklin Templeton challenging Karnataka High Court's verdict, allowed the trustees to hold unitholders meeting for approval in the winding up process. SC said that steps in this regard should be taken within one week. Further, the apex court directed a stay on redemptions for the time being. The matter will again be heard next week.
  • In a statement referring to the order, FT said, "The Hon'ble Supreme Court on December 3, 2020 issued an interim order allowing the Trustee of Franklin Templeton to seek consent of the unitholders for the winding up of the six schemes u/r 18(15)(c) of SEBI (Mutual Fund) Regulation 1996. Redemptions will continue to be suspended till further notification. We believe that the Supreme Court order will be helpful in ensuring orderly monetization and distribution of scheme assets."
  • FT further added, "We will issue the notice for seeking consent of unitholders shortly. We deeply appreciate the support of our investors and partners till date and hope to commence distribution of investment proceeds at the earliest."

November

  • 27th November: Since winding up, the six schemes have received total cash flows of Rs 11,576 crore till 27th November from maturities, pre-payments and coupon payments. Out of the total, Rs 2,836 crore was received in the month of November.
  • During the period 14th to 27th November, the schemes received Rs 1,895 crore, of which Rs1,664 crore was as pre-payments.
  • As per the latest portfolio disclosure, the four cash positive schemes, Low Duration Fund, Ultra Short Bond Fund, Dynamic Accrual Fund and Credit Risk Fund have 48, 46, 33 and 14 per cent of their respective AUM in cash. These schemes collectively have Rs 7,226 crore of cash available as of November 27, 2020, subject to fund running expenses.
  • Borrowings in the Short Term Income Plan and Income Opportunities Fund stood at 17 and 29 per cent of their AUM, respectively
  • 23rd November: In a letter to investors, FT said that after careful consideration, the AMC has determined that it will be necessary to seek judicial intervention from the Supreme Court to ensure an appropriate implementation of the law in the best interest of unitholders.
  • The AMC highlighted that while the shuttered schemes could not actively monetize the portfolio, they currently have approximately Rs. 5,900 crore for distribution, which shows that the underlying securities can be liquidated at a fair value given the schemes are allowed to follow an orderly liquidation process.
  • FT further added that an orderly process is preferable to a distress sale which would force an emergency liquidation at prices far below their realizable value under normal market conditions.
  • 13th November: The six schemes have received Rs 9,682 crore from maturities, pre-payments, and coupons since closure. During the period 30th October to 13th November, the schemes collected Rs 941 crore, of which Rs 814 crore were pre-payments.
  • Ultra Short Bond Fund, Low Duration Fund, Dynamic Accrual Fund and Credit Risk Fund have 43,27,26 and 8 per cent of their respective AUM in cash. These schemes together have close to Rs 5,952 crore available to return to unitholders, subject to fund-running expenses.
  • The other two schemes - Short Term Income Plan and Income Opportunities Fund - are still paring down their borrowings. Based on the mid-month portfolio, the borrowings stood at 18 and 30 per cent of their AUM, respectively.

October

  • 29th October: The suite of six yield-oriented funds collected Rs 438 crore during the period 16-29 October 2020. The total cash flows till date now stands at Rs 8741 crore. Since part of this amount has been utilized to repay borrowings, cash available for distribution stands at Rs 5441 crore.
  • Of the six schemes, Ultra Short Bond Fund, Dynamic Accrual Fund, Low Duration Fund and Credit Risk Fund have 42, 20, 25 and 5 per cent of their respective AUM in cash.
  • Based on the month-end portfolio disclosure, borrowings in the Short Term Income Plan and Income Opportunities Fund stood at 18 and 30 per cent of their AUM, respectively.
  • 25th October: While FT is still studying the order, in a letter to investors, the AMC shared its initial review of the judgement. The AMC believes that it will be necessary to appeal to the Supreme Court. Further, FT said that it would seek appropriate directions regarding the return of accumulated cash of over Rs 5200 crore in the four cash positive schemes and any additional cash that the AMC might receive while the matter remains under the consideration of the court. FT also urged investors not to be swayed by speculation or rumour.
  • 24th October: Finally, the judgement is out and it categorically highlights that investor is the king. The Karnataka High Court (HC) stated that unitholders' consent should have preceded the announcement of winding up. From this perspective, the trustees of FT have been in violation of SEBI provisions.
  • HC restrained trustees from taking any further actions till consent of unit holders is obtained. Further, HC stayed the operation of the judgment for a period of 6 weeks, during which neither investors can redeem, nor the AMC can make any borrowings.
  • Thus, it remains to be seen what further actions the investor community will take and how the AMC pursues after the 6-week period.
  • Releasing a statement on today's judgement, Franklin said "We are considering the order and will take appropriate steps in consultation with our legal experts in the best interest of the unitholders. Our focus remains on maximizing value for unitholders in these schemes and returning monies as soon as possible."
  • 22nd October: The Franklin litigation has been going on for quite a while now. The wait will soon be over as The Karnataka High Court will pronounce the judgment on Saturday, 24th October at 11 a.m.
  • 16th October: As per the mid-month update released by FT, the six schemes, as of 15th October, have received a total of about Rs 8302 crore since closure. As part of this amount has been utilized to repay borrowings, FT has Rs 5116 crore for distribution in the four cash positive schemes, subject to fund running expenses.
  • The four cash positive schemes - Ultra Short Bond Fund, Dynamic Accrual Fund, Low Duration Fund and Credit Risk Fund have 40,19,19 and 4 per cent of their respective AUM available in cash to distribute to unitholders.
  • Based on the mid-October portfolio, borrowing levels in Short Term Income Plan and Income Opportunities Fund stood at 19 and 31 per cent respectively.
  • FT reiterated that the AMC remains focused on generating maximum value and returning investor's monies at the earliest in accordance with the applicable regulations, subject to the decision of the court. The AMC is currently awaiting the court's judgment.
  • 8th October: Refuting media reports about the findings of the forensic audit initiated by SEBI, FT in a letter to investors said that it is improper to make any publications regarding the inspection report as the matter is subjudice. FT added that the auditors have acknowledged in the original submission to SEBI that the report is subject to modification based on responses to be provided by FT.
  • The AMC reiterated that it's employees who had made investments in the six shuttered schemes continue to hold substantial investments.
  • Regarding the news reports of inconsistency in exercising put options, FT said that the decision to exercise or not exercise a put option rests with the investment management team which considers many factors to maximize recovery of proceeds while taking such decisions. FT said that the reports highlighting investments made in certain issuers where the AMC didn't exercise put options ignore the fact that the AMC has already initiated legal recovery proceedings against few of these issuers.
  • Based on the September-end portfolio, the total cash across the six schemes stood at Rs 8262 crore. In the note, FT informed investors that a part of this amount has been utilized to repay borrowings and the AMC has Rs 5084 crore for distribution in the four cash positive schemes namely - Ultra Short Bond Fund, Dynamic Accrual Fund, Low Duration Fund and Credit Risk Fund.
  • 6th October: Soon after FT fell into litigation, SEBI had ordered a special audit into the case and hired Choksi & Choksi for the same. Now Moneycontrol has reported that Choksi & Choksi's forensic audit has revealed several lapses in dealings of the six schemes. The report has highlighted that some key personnel had redeemed their investments right before the closure announcement had come out. Further, the AMC had favoured certain companies they had invested in by not exercising the put option, despite the opposite being suggested by the risk management committee.
  • The report has also pointed out that the AMC was heavily invested in unlisted securities, which were mainly illiquid and some of them newly incorporated.
  • 5th October: Many were expecting the Karnataka High Court to pronounce the judgment today on matters related to six shuttered schemes. However, the hearing was only a procedural one. Further, since FT filed two additional affidavits, the Court directed the AMC to serve copies to petitioners. The next hearing date is yet to be announced.

September

  • 30th September: Franklin's six shutdown schemes collectively received Rs 1078 crore during the second half of September. The total cash flows till date now stands at Rs 8262 crore.
  • Based on the September-end portfolio, borrowings in the Short Term Income Plan and Income Opportunities Fund stood at 19 and 32 per cent of their AUM, respectively.
  • Ultra Short Bond Fund, Dynamic Accrual Fund, Low Duration Fund and Credit Risk Fund are already cash positive and have 40, 19, 19 and 4 per cent of their AUM respectively.
  • 28th September: In a letter released late in the evening, FT informed investors that the Karnataka High Court has finished hearing all the arguments and the AMC is now awaiting the judgement. Maximising value for unitholders and returning their money remains the focus for the AMC.
  • Referring to media reports relating to an FIR filed with Economic Offences Wing (EOW), Chennai, based on complaints by Chennai Financial Markets & Accountancy (CFMA), FT said that while they haven't seen the FIR contents, the press release issued by CFMA citing the FIR, is replete with various misleading and baseless allegations, besides being inappropriate, as the matter is currently subjudice. Further, while the AMC respects authorities like EOW, they believe SEBI is best fit to handle issues pertaining to mutual fund investments.
  • Requesting investors to not get influenced by unverified media reports, FT said that the books of the 6 shut schemes are regularly audited and auditors have never made any observations of misutilisation of funds by the schemes.
  • 24th September: The Karnataka High Court has set 25th September as the preferable timeline for the completion of arguments by all parties.
  • 17th September: Based on the mid-month portfolio, FT informed that the total cash flow received by the 6 schemes till date now stands at Rs 7184 crore, with Rs. 698 crore received during September 1-15. The four cash-positive schemes, i.e, Ultra Short Bond Fund, Dynamic Accrual Fund, Low Duration Fund and Credit Risk Fund have 35, 17, 9 and 2 per cent of their respective AUM available in cash for distribution subject to a successful unitholder vote. Further, borrowing levels in Short Term Income Plan and Income Opportunities Fund continue to decline steadily and currently stand at 22 and 33 per cent respectively.
  • FT also communicated that following to the decision of the Delhi High Court that allowed FT to sell pledged shares of Zee Entertainment Enterprises Ltd to recover dues from the Essel group, debenture trustees sold the entire shares and recovered Rs. 92.35 crore across the 4 exposed schemes. FT further said that the recovery amount was slightly higher than the value at which the Essel Infraprojects NCDs were valued in schemes namely - Dynamic Accrual Fund, Credit Risk Fund, Short Term Income Plan and Low Duration Fund.
  • 10th September: In a letter to investors, FT assured that barring issues in payment by some issuers like Future Group, Essel, and ADAG group, all other companies in their portfolios have made payments as scheduled since the time of closure of the six schemes.
  • Giving an update on the legal cases, FT said that the court has finished hearing the petitioners from the Delhi, Gujarat and Madras High Courts and the court is expected to hear FT after SEBI completes their arguments.
  • 8th September: The court hearings in the Franklin episode have been resumed in the Karnataka High Court and will be done through video conferencing.
  • 4th September: Court cases against Franklin Templeton have been regularly heard in the Karnataka High Court since 12th August. The last hearing was held on 31st August and was to continue on Wednesday, 2nd September. However, due to Covid concerns, the Karnataka High Court has adjourned the hearing in the winding-up matter for a week.
  • 3rd September: In a note released, Franklin Templeton informed investors that five shut schemes have received Rs 146 crore as interest payment from Vodafone Idea Ltd. for NCDs held in their segregated portfolios. The amount will be distributed to the investors in proportion to their holdings in the plans of the segregated portfolio. The five schemes include Low Duration Fund, Short Term Income Plan, Credit Risk Fund, Dynamic Accrual Fund and Income Opportunities Fund.

August

  • 31st August: In an update to investors, FT communicated that the 6 shut schemes received Rs 1498 crore from maturities, pre-payments and coupon payments during 15-31 August. The total cash flows now stands at Rs 6486 crore since the closure announcement in April.
  • Based on the August-end portfolio, Ultra Short Bond Fund, Dynamic Accrual Fund, Low Duration Fund and Credit Risk Fund have about 31,14, 5 and 1 per cent of their respective AUM available in cash for distribution subject to a successful unitholder vote.
  • Borrowing levels in Short Term Income Plan and Income Opportunities Fund stood at 23 and 38 per cent respectively.
  • In a note released, FT informed investors that Rivaaz Trade Ventures Pvt. Ltd, a Future Group entity, defaulted on its obligations on 31 August. Of the six schemes, Short Term Income Plan, Dynamic Accrual Fund, Income Opportunities Fund and Credit Risk Fund were exposed to the non-convertible debentures (NCDs) of the company. Owing to the default, FT marked its debt to zero. As a result, the NAVs of the schemes fell by about 5, 3, 6 and 0.03 per cent, respectively.
  • FT further informed that on 29 August, Reliance Retail had announced acquisition of the retail and wholesale business and logistics and warehousing business of the Future Group, on a slump sale basis for Rs 24,713 crore. As part of the acquisition, Future Group will amalgamate certain companies into Future Enterprises Limited (FEL) and then FEL will conclude the slump sale. In the note, FT said that based on representations from the Future Group, NCDs are proposed to be repaid from proceeds of the transaction. While the fund house believes this is a positive, the proposed slump sale and restructuring will be subject to regulatory approvals by the National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT), Stock exchanges, SEBI, Competition Commission of India, shareholders and creditors of the transferor and transferee companies.
  • 26th August: While the court cases against Franklin Templeton are regularly being heard in Karnataka High Court, a new angle has come about. Reportedly, one of the petitioners - Khambatta family, owners of Rasna -had filed a right to information (RTI) plea, soliciting details about the date on which SEBI had granted permission to FT for the winding up of its six schemes and the date on which such permission was applied for. This family was the petitioner in the case filed in Gujarat High Court which led to a stay on the liquidation process.
    In its RTI query, the petitioner had said that FT had claimed before the Gujarat High Court and Supreme Court that all appropriate permissions for winding up of the six schemes were taken from SEBI. The RTI response, received in early August, apparently revealed that FT did not take any approval from SEBI before initiating the winding up process.
  • 20th August: In an update to investors, FT informed that four schemes have received the maturity proceeds and interest payments from Vedanta Ltd. On August 17, Low Duration Fund, Ultra Short Bond Fund, Credit Risk Fund and Dynamic Accrual Fund received Rs 49 crore, Rs 864 crore, Rs 120 crore and Rs 16 crore, respectively including interest. The total cash flow (from April 24 till August 17) of the six schemes now stands at Rs 6072 crore.
    Further, while Ultra Short Bond Fund (cash of 29%) and Dynamic Accrual Fund (cash of 12%) were already cash positive, Low Duration Fund and Credit Risk Fund have also turned cash positive with 1 per cent of their respective AUM available in cash.
  • 18th August: FT has capped fresh purchases across a few of its funds of funds which had investments in two of the shutdown schemes. An investor can now only invest up to Rs 2 lakh and Rs 1 lakh per day, in Dynamic Asset Allocation and Multi Asset Solution FoF respectively. For the Life stage FoF, an investor can invest only up to Rs 50,000 per day in the 20s and 40s Plan and Rs 25,000 in 30s Plan and 50s Plus Plan. The gating is understood to be done to safeguard the interests of existing investors of these FoFs and prevent new investors from taking undue advantage of the evolving situation.
  • 17th August: Giving a mid-month update, FT communicated that the 6 schemes under winding up received Rs 708 crore during 1-14 August, taking the total cash flows to Rs 4,988 crore till date.
  • Based on the mid-month portfolio, Ultra Short Bond Fund had 21 per cent and Dynamic Accrual Fund had 12 per cent of their respective AUM available in cash for distribution subject to a successful unitholder vote.
  • Borrowing levels in Low Duration Fund, Credit Risk Fund, Short Term Income Plan and Income Opportunities Fund stood at 1, 4, 23 and 37 per cent of their AUM, respectively.
  • In its 6th August hearing, as requested by the petitioners, the Karnataka High Court granted time till 10th August to file responses. Further, reportedly, daily hearings would commence from 12th August.
  • In its affidavit, FT reportedly said that according to SEBI, duration norms are to be met at the portfolio level and other AMCs also do so. Further, it mentioned that it labelled some funds as moderate-risk, even when other AMCs labelled the same funds as low-risk. Also, it said that the issuers it invested in were stable, with good credit history, at the time of investment.

July

  • Based on the July-end portfolio, FT communicated, the six closed schemes had received a total of Rs 4,280 crore from maturities, pre-payments and coupon payments since the announcement of their closure in April. Rs 1,005 crore was received in July alone.
  • Out of the six FT schemes, Low Duration Fund, Credit Risk Fund, Short Term Income Plan and Income Opportunities Fund had 1, 4, 26 and 38 per cent borrowings, respectively.
  • 29th July: Brickworks downgraded NCDs of three future group firms. Two of these - Nufuture Digital (India) and Future Ideas - defaulted on payments. Rivaaz Trade Ventures, however, made payments of its dues on 31st July. On 31st July, the NAVs of Income Opportunities Fund, Credit Risk Fund, Short Term Income Plan and Dynamic Accrual Fund fell by 4.9, 2.3, 1.7 and 1.3 per cent, respectively.
  • 23rd July: FT informed investors that two debt schemes faced default from Reliance Broadcast Network, an ADAG firm, after the issuer was unable to meet payment obligation due on its NCDs. One of the schemes was Short Term Income Plan. The fund house is in the process of initiating an appropriate enforcement action to recover dues.
  • The Karnataka High Court rescheduled the hearing of the FT cases to 7th August.
  • 13th July: In a letter to investors, FT refuted reports circulating on WhatsApp and other platforms that investors could face a loss of over Rs 20,000 crore in the schemes being wound up.
  • On 10th July: The affected funds received the principal and the remaining interest payment of Rs 1252.88 crore for the security '8.25% Vodafone Idea Ltd. (10-July-2020)' held in the segregated portfolios. Full and final payment was made to investors.
  • 8th July: The Karnataka High Court considered the matters related to the winding-up of six debt schemes and issued notices to the parties concerned. The parties were directed to file counter affidavit and responses, if any, by July 22, 2020 and July 29, 2020, respectively. The next hearing was scheduled for 15th July.

June

  • 30 June: A few funds witnessed a small blip in NAV. FT informed investors that this was as the result of a maturity date reset for the securities of Edelweiss Rural & Corporate Services Ltd.
  • Based on the June-end portfolio, FT communicated that the six schemes had received Rs 3,275 crore from maturities, pre-payments, and coupon payments from 24th April to 30th June.
  • As of 30th June, Ultra Short Bond Fund had 13 per cent and Dynamic Accrual Fund had 4 per cent of their respective AUMs available to distribute to unitholders subject to a successful unitholder vote post legal clearances.
  • Borrowing levels in Low Duration Fund, Credit Risk Fund, Short Term Income Plan and Income Opportunities Fund stood at 7, 9, 29 and 37 per cent of their AUM, respectively.
  • 23rd June: In an update to investors, FT said Reliance Big Entertainment (already rated default grade) had defaulted on its obligations on 14th June. Five of the six impacted schemes had investments in these bonds. FT said that the share collateral was adequate to cover the current valuation of bonds.
  • 19th June: The Supreme Court considered the special leave petition filed by FT and directed transfer of all pending cases to the Karnataka High Court and gave a three-month deadline. With this, all pending litigations (including SEBI's LPA) would now be heard in Karnataka High Court.
  • 16th June: SEBI filed a Letter Patent Appeal (LPA) in the Gujarat High Court against the decision to stay the e-voting process.
  • 12th June: The affected funds received interest payments of Rs 102.71 crore for the period June 12, 2019 to June 11, 2020 for the security '8.25% Vodafone Idea Ltd. (10-July-2020)' held in the segregated portfolios of the six schemes.
  • FT filed a special leave petition before the Supreme Court against the Gujarat High Court.
  • 8th June: The Gujarat High Court stayed FT's e-voting and unitholders' meet till forensic audit report was out. Further, the next hearing was scheduled on 12th June. Thus, the fund house temporarily suspended the e-voting process, where investors were to authorise the entire distribution process.
  • 3rd June: Gujarat High Court issued a stay order on the upcoming e-voting. In response, on 5th June, FT filed a petition to vacate the stay.
  • SEBI ordered a special audit into the FT case and hired a forensic audit firm and a chartered accountant to inspect the dealings of the six schemes.

May

  • By May-end, borrowing levels in the other funds continued to decline. Low Duration Fund, Credit Risk Fund, Short Term Income Plan and Income Opportunities Fund had outstanding borrowings of 11, 11, 33 and 39 per cent of their AUM, respectively.
  • Ultra Short Bond Fund and Dynamic Accrual Fund turned cash positive after repaying their outstanding borrowings.
  • Various investors filed writ petitions in Chennai, Delhi, Ahmedabad High Courts and in the Supreme Court against FT's winding-up decision.
  • 28th May: The trustees released notices on e-voting and unitholder's meet. Unitholders were provided a three-day window, from 9th June to 11th June to participate in e-voting, while the unitholder meet was to happen on 12th June.
  • 22nd May: FT informed that Essel Infraprojects defaulted on payments to four of its shutdown schemes: Dynamic Accrual Fund, Credit Risk Fund, Short Term Income Plan and Low Duration Fund. There was no impact on the NAVs as the value of the shares held as collateral was greater than the current valuation of bonds.
  • To facilitate an exit route for investors, SEBI put out a notice enabling schemes that are winding up to list their units on the stock exchange. The move came in the wake of FT's 23rd April decision.
  • 20th May: FT Trustees said to have appointed Kotak Mahindra Bank to assist in the monetisation of the assets in the six schemes being wound up.

April

  • 29th April: FT allowed moratorium to NCDs of three Future Group companies: Rivaaz Trade Ventures, Nufuture Digital (India) and Future Ideas.
  • 24th April: The funds of funds which held the shutdown funds as the underlying wrote down about 50 per cent of the respective exposures, leading to massive one-day hit on their NAVs. These were Life Stage FoF 50s Plus, Multi Asset Solution, Life Stage FoF 40s, Dynamic Asset Allocation FoF, Life Stage FoF 30s and Life Stage FoF 20s.
  • 23rd April: Franklin Templeton Mutual Fund (FT) announced the voluntary wind-up of six schemes: Low Duration Fund (borrowings of 8 per cent), Ultra Short Bond Fund (6 per cent), Short Term Income Plan (28 per cent), Credit Risk Fund (16 per cent), Dynamic Accrual Fund (1 per cent) and Income Opportunities Fund (26 per cent). These funds had AUM of over Rs 25,000 crore.