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Prudential Offers Web Finance For Non-Res Indians

The Prudential ICICI Asset Management Company (AMC) Limited has unveiled 'e-commerce' for Non-Resident Indians (NRIs), offering them the convenience of on-line investment in its open-ended scheme.

This has become India's first mutual fund company to launch e-commerce for NRIs.

"The e-commerce offered by us gives an NRI investor the convenience of an on-line application for any of our open-ended schemes as well as subscription and redemption facilities,'' said Ajay Srinivasan, managing director of the AMC.

Explaining the salient features of the facility, he said it eliminated the need for an NRI investor to go to the bank to purchase a rupee or dollar draft or to send it by courier.

The entire investing process could be done on the Net, he pointed out.

"Through a simple advice to his local bank, the investor transfers money to our mutual fund account and simultaneously sends his application form by e-mail with a scanned signature.

All the procedures to be followed are explained in a simple manner on the site," Mr Srinivasan added.

On redemption of units, he said, the investor only needed to send an e-mail to the fund and the redemption amount would be swiftly credited to his account abroad.

To a query on the risks faced by an NRI investing in the fund, Mr Srinivasan said like any mutual fund investment the risk factor existed but in addition there was also the exchange rate risk.

NRIs can invest through the Internet through the Prudential ICICI Web site.

This has been made possible through an arrangement with ICICI Bank, wherein the investment can be made simply, swiftly and conveniently, said Ajay Srinivasan.

He added that apart from investors in Middle East countries, the AMC was targeting investors from the UK, US and Far East countries for this scheme.

For those individuals who have a Foreign Currency Non-Resident Account (FCNR) or Non-Resident (external) Rupee account (NRE) with ICIC Bank, the system is even simpler, a simple request to the ICICI bank credits the account with the redemption proceeds.

Prudential ICICI AMC is a 55:45 joint venture between Prudential Corporation, UK, and ICICI.

Prudential, founded in 1848, is the largest life insurance company in the world in terms of market capitalization, and is one of UK's biggest institutional investors, with over $310 billion of funds under management worldwide.

ICICI, a financial institution with an asset base of over Rs 45,000 crore (circa $10.5 billion), is evolving into a universal bank, offering a complete range of financial services such as project finance, corporate finance, commercial banking (ICICI Bank), and investment banking (I-Sec).