Mumbai, May 24 – Front running by people with knowledge is a common thing and there have been many such cases in the stock market concerning the same. When this is done by someone as influential as a fund manager and he is asked to disgorge illegal gains, it hurts even more.
This is because while the disgorgement is of gains made by the individual, the disgorged funds are deposited in the coffers of the regulator, not the unit holders of the scheme where the fund manager was managing business. It is these people who have been wronged and money made of them.
Two fund managers of Axis Mutual Fund were sacked/terminated by the management of Axis after investigating them for roughly three months. Market grapevine says that one of the two fund managers came into public limelight because he drove a fancy top-end car from Lamborghini. This car is apparently not in the fund manager’s name for obvious reasons. It is in the name of an NBFC which is into leasing or lending against cars. Whether they have other such cars in their portfolio remains unknown. This NBFC is floated by a leading stock broking firm.
The question that comes to mind is, what was the relationship of the fund manager with this broking outfit? Was it just a normal borrower-lender relationship or went beyond that? If so, was a trading account in the names of the beneficiaries of the fund manager maintained here? If so, was this company/entity a partner in crime or only a facilitator?
There are so many questions which remain unanswered at this point of time. It becomes the duty of Axis Bank and its key functionaries to clear all these doubts before the matter picks up steam and leads to a cascading nature. The buck cannot stop with just two fund managers being involved, there have to be more heads which need to roll.
For the uninitiated, the word insider trading means “the illegal practice of trading on the stock exchange to one’s own advantage through having access to confidential information”. Front running means “the practice by market-makers of dealing on advance information provided by their brokers and investment analysts, before their clients have been given the information”. While the words are intertwined, they have a lot of similarities and differences. The fund managers indulged in front running by leaking information on their trades to associates for personal benefit.
It was time SEBI took strict action and started reimbursing the money collected through disgorgement to the benefit of unit holders of respective schemes as they are the people who have been cheated.