Officials close to the development said the salt-to-software conglomerate is watching the marketplace to assess Jio's future plans and their impact on the competitive dynamics of the pooled-money industry. Financial sector majors view Jio Financial Services as a potentially disruptive player at a time when the Indian mutual fund industry is expected to welcome half a dozen new entrants.
Four state-owned financial entities - Punjab National Bank, Life Insurance Corporation of India, State Bank of India, and Bank of Baroda - together own just over 45% stake in UTI Asset Management Company. They are collectively - and individually - exploring options to invite formal bids from interested parties for selling their stake and appointed SBI Capital Markets as a banker for the deal.
Earlier, the Tata Group was understood to be in advanced talks to buy a majority stake in UTI AMC from the four public sector entities, but the discussions fell through after a large investor in the AMC insisted that the others follow a formal bidding process to sell their stakes instead of using the nomination route.
"There is a lot of interest for sure in the UTI AMC and the group would have been happier to close the bid much earlier. But that didn't happen, unfortunately," said an official aware of the matter. "It is a different scenario today with the entry of Reliance that, until now, has not shown any interest in bidding for UTI AMC and may choose a different strategy. But the Tata group is watching the situation closely and will take a timely decision accordingly."
Tata Sons, the holding company of the conglomerate, did not comment. Jio Financial Services has roped in KV Kamath, chairman of the National Bank for Financing Infrastructure and Development (NaBFID), to head its financial services business and industry players are wary of its heft in the marketplace. Jio Financial Services is banking on KV Kamath's huge skills and mammoth experience at institution-building to help carve out a differential growth path.
More than 40 asset management companies managed nearly ₹43.77 lakh crore of assets as of June 2023. SBI Mutual Fund, ICICI Prudential Mutual Fund, and HDFC Mutual Fund are the three biggest asset managers in the country, in that order.
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