“Last year, despite the challenges and the subsequent business impacts, we managed to progress; determined and backed by our commitments of delivering increasing value for our stakeholders.”
“We are continuously building interfaces for fintech, payments and other digital distribution platforms to ensure excellent connectivity and a better customer experience.”
It is encouraging that after the economic impact felt by countries across the world due to Covid-19 induced pandemic, most economies are gradually recovering with cautious optimism. Despite the adversities, this crisis has made humanity come together, highlighting our cumulative spirit and resilience. ‘Comeback from Setback’ is possibly an appropriate articulation of 2020–21.
To begin with, I would like to highlight a landmark event, wherein we were successfully listed on both the National Stock Exchange (NSE) and the BSE. It marked the welcoming of our valued retail and institutional shareholders into the Company. The NSE further included the equity shares of UTI AMC in the Nifty500 index w.e.f. from 1 March 2021. Besides, as a testimony to the commitment of delivering value to our stakeholders, we took the leap by coming out with our first public Annual Report, in the form of an Integrated Report . As a Company, we have always believed in constantly evolving. And this is a part of our evolutionary journey. It is a step closer towards our endeavour of maintaining integrity and transparency in all our communications. Our entry in this space is in line with the existing global trends of reporting.
Last year, despite the challenges and the subsequent business impact, we managed to progress; determined and backed by our commitment of delivering increasing value for our stakeholders. We restructured our sales and marketing functions, focussed more on distribution & digital outreach, improved our fund performance, incorporated ESG processes and strengthened credit research processes. Additionally, we put in place policies and governance systems wherever required for a well-run listed Company.
The pandemic made us rethink our priorities. However, our conviction of becoming a more robust investment-led organisation is something we have never deviated from. We have been progressively continuing to do so, supported by our rich 55+ years’ legacy and lineage. The same was reflected in the performance of the Company during the year.
The capital markets crashed during the end of March 2020, the sentiments of which carried through early April 2020 – marking an unprecedented downslide in recent memory since the 2008 financial crisis. Despite the initial uncertainties, the markets remained buoyant, with increased participation from retail and institutional investors. It is encouraging that many international organisations like the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank have forecasted the GDP growth rates amongst the highest across emerging economies like ours. The strong rebound expected in private consumption and investment growth is likely to propel the economy forward.
Apart from strengthening ourselves as an organisation, we focussed on three priorities during the year — smoother business conduct, safeguarding our employees while conducting business and ensuring that we provide our investors and partners with convenient digital tools for them to transact seamlessly. We are continuously building interfaces for fintech, payments and other digital distribution platforms to ensure excellent connectivity and a better customer experience. We have implemented digital KYC for virtual interaction with new customers to ease our investors’ and partners’ investment journeys. These, together with many other initiatives, would enable us smoothly conduct our business without getting much affected by the situation outside.
Active Equity and Debt Funds will drive the evolution of the MF industry. Despite the cyclicality of flows, India is well and truly on track to ensure the financialisation of savings across the board while money is moving out of physical assets. Moreover, mutual funds are still much smaller than bank deposits, signifying more room for growth. One of the emerging themes in Equity Funds will be increasing awareness about ESG Funds, passively managed ETFs and index funds. Exchange Traded Funds (ETFs) and Index Funds are yet to gain significant traction in India. However, there is a positive trend towards these funds, especially from the public sector fund mandates and first-time investors investing through fintechs and digital platforms.
On a concluding note, I would like to express my gratitude towards all our valued stakeholders. They have continuously supported and encouraged our Company and the Management, and we are deeply thankful to them for the same. Your unwavering faith, support and inspiration have helped us build a value-creating organisation. I would also like to express a special thanks to our employees. They have demonstrated exceptional flexibility and adaptability in the wake of Covid-19. Lastly, I extend my best wishes for all shareholders and their families during these testing times, wishing everyone the best of health.
Dinesh Kumar Mehrotra