In a surprise and sudden move, Axis Mutual Fund, which is among the largest asset management companies of the country, has changed the fund manager for as many as seven schemes.
Among those who have been removed as fund managers are Chief Trader & Fund Manager Viresh Joshi and Assistant Fund Manager Deepak Agrawal. While Joshi has been with Axis MF since 2009, Agarwal joined the fund house in 2015 as an equity research analyst.
Joshi was the fund manager of five schemes, including Axis Arbitrage Fund, Axis Banking ETF, Axis Consumption ETF, Axis Nifty ETF and Axis Technology ETF. Meanwhile, Agarwal managed Axis Consumption ETF, Axis Quant Fund and Axis Value Fund, as per data available with Value Research, a mutual fund tracking firm.
The funds have been allocated to other fund managers, including Jinesh Gopani, Head - Equity and Ashish Naik, Fund Manager - Equity.
More importantly, the change in fund manager has come at a time when the fund house has been hit by certain allegations including that of front running by some of its officials, including fund managers.
To be sure, there has been no official statement from the fund house or the regulator till now even as the buzz is that the fund managers have been sent on indefinite leave till a probe or audit in the matter is completed.
An email query sent to Axis Mutual Fund remained unanswered till the time of publishing this story.
This assumes significance as front running is a serious offence in the stock market and the capital market regulator is known to take a stern stance against such offenders.
Front running refers to an illegal activity wherein an entity trades in a share based on advance information passed by an individual or firm before it transacts in those shares.
Incidentally, more than a decade back in July 2020, the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI had imposed a fine of Rs 50 lakh on an equity dealer of HDFC AMC for alleged front running activities.
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