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Wednesday, Mar 17, 2004

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StanChart opens global MF doors to India

Our Bureau

Mumbai , March 16

INDIANS can now invest in international mutual funds which invest in fixed income, gold and real estate markets spanning various countries ranging from the US, Latin America, Poland, China, Korea and more.

Standard Chartered Bank on Tuesday launched `GlobeInvest', through which Indians can now walk into any of the bank's branches and invest in overseas mutual funds. The product offering comes after the RBI permitted Indians to invest up to $25,000 abroad.

The minimum amount to invest through `GlobeInvest' would be Rs 2.26 lakh or $5000. The customer can pay the same in rupees, which the bank will convert and transfer to its overseas branches for investment in international funds.

``We have tied up with 5-6 companies the likes of Franklin Templeton, Merrill Lynch, Morgan Stanley to offer 20-odd funds. We are planning to tie up with a few more funds. We conduct a due diligence of the funds and rank their performance before tying up with them,'' said Mr Vikram Issar, General Manager, Head, Wealth Management, Standard Chartered Bank.

The bank will act as a distribution agent and earn fee income from the business. At present, it does not have any plans to offer its own international mutual fund products unless it shows up following the risk-return analysis, said Mr Issar. According to a press note from the bank, ``GlobeInvest brings Standard Chartered's considerable expertise in evaluating international mutual funds across various geographies & multiple asset classes like equity, fixed income, gold & real estate.''

Following RBI's relaxation, Citibank, ICICI Bank, Bank of Baroda among others had offered forex deposits to resident Indians in various foreign currencies. Standard Chartered does not have a forex deposit product for resident Indians.

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