Less than a week after the National Stock Exchange launched its mutual funds (MF) transaction platform, Asia’s oldest bourse, the Bombay Stock Exchange, today made operational its own MF platform for all investors.

The venture – named as BSE STAR MF, has received confirmation from more than 20 mutual fund-houses to participate and seven funds, with a total of 103 schemes, will be available from today itself. “The platform will offer a low-cost inclusive network to all mutual funds and intermediaries in the mutual fund industry,” BSE Managing Director and CEO, Madhu Kannan, said at the launch of the MF platform.

The Exchange has designated National Securities Depository (NSDL) and Central Depository Services (India) to facilitate the new venture. NSE had started with NSDL as depository but CDSL also would join the NSE MF platform early next week.

Like NSE, with a view to attract investors, BSE will also waive all charges till April 2010. The Exchange will also introduce an investor awareness programme for common investors, Kannan said.

The new platform would enable the exchange’s members to use their existing infrastructure for MF transactions. All existing mutual fund investors can also use the new electronic platform. The settlements through the new MF platform will take place on a T+1 basis, meaning both mutual fund companies and investors will receive the cash/units the next day of the transaction.

Launching the initiative, SEBI Chairman, C B Bhave, said the new infrastructure, built by stock exchanges, depositories and other stakeholders, is of immense value and would help take the benefits of the secondary market to MF investors.

Fund-houses agreed to join in the BSE platform include Reliance Mutual Fund, Tata, Birla Sun Life, Fidelity, SBI, HDFC, ICICI Prudential, UTI, DBS Cholamandalam, DSP Blackrock, JM Financial, Kotak MF, Edelweiss, Axis, Mirae, Taurus, Deutsche, J P Morgan and Motilal Oswal.

BSE, which has a reach to over 400 cities through 40,000 terminals, will utilise the infrastructure of Indian Clearing Corporation Limited, for the clearing and settlement of the transactions through BSE STAR MF.

Market regulator, SEBI, recently gave its approval for facilitating transactions in MF schemes through stock exchange infrastructure. Presently, there are 37 mutual fund houses operating in the country. Association of Mutual Funds in India also has plans to come up with its own MF trading platform by March.

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