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Mutual Funds Regulated by SEBI in India: How are Mutual Funds Regulated

How are mutual funds regulated in India? Here is all you need to know about mutual fund regulations and implications of SEBI guidelines.

A mutual fund regulated by SEBI is a simple yet volatile path for investors to invest and become respectable and responsible shareholders of a small unit of a large portfolio. There are two major ways of investing in mutual funds. For instance, investors can invest directly and independently or indirectly in a group.

Founded on varied factors, mutual funds are classified:

  • Based on asset capacity: like Equity funds, Debt funds, Hybrid funds.
  • Based on configuration: like open-ended funds, closed-ended funds, and intervals funds.
  • Based on risk embody: containing low-risk funds or portfolio, high-risk funds.

Regulation of investing in India

In India, rules and policies are needed to nourish the transparency of any process. In the same way, regulations on mutual funds are also imperative since they include the maximum extent of risk.

There are many regulating authorities in India like RBI, SEBI, corporate companies, Unit Trust of India, etc. But SEBI and RBI are considered primarily. SEBI deals with regulations and the issuance and trading of capital markets. The Ministry of Finance is the apex authority that looks after these bodies and can amend policies if required.

About SEBI

Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) is a regulatory body of securities and commodity markets in India. It has its headquarters in the financial capital, Mumbai. SEBI was formed in 1988, but it accommodated statutory power and authority in 1992 through the SEBI Act.

The efficiency of this authority lies in the fact that SEBI works for investors' profit, protects their interests, and increases the accountability and scope of mutual funds. Along with this merit, SEBI ensures simplicity and spreads awareness via various means regarding mutual funds because, for the majority of the population, mutual funds seem a complex concept.

The structure of mutual funds according to SEBI guidelines

The structure of mutual funds regulated by SEBI comprises the 3 tier system, which includes a sponsor, a public trust, and an asset management company. These three together give a kick start to mutual funds.

  • Sponsor: a sponsor is a legal firm that needs investment to run a business. So, for this, it requires the assent of SEBI.
  • Public Trust: after the sponsor approval, the sponsor has to formulate a public trust according to the Indian Trust Act 1882. Substantially, this trust appoints a trustee to undergo a legal and ethical process. Hence, the trust cannot undergo the processes by itself simultaneously to get registered with SEBI. Once the trust gets approval and registered, it is called a mutual fund. 
  • Asset Management Company: the trustee takes care of all assets as per objectives and appoints an Asset Management Company (AMC), which manages all portfolios into different schemes of mutual funds. AMC has a board of directors and runs on a condition of a minimum of 50℅ independent directors. AMC works under the vigilance of its directors and SEBI.

Role of the SEBI in mutual funds

The regulation of mutual funds came into action in 1996.  This prestigious firm plays an indispensable role since it ensures the regulation and acts as a policymaker for securities and commercial funds. Because there are different schemes and several ailments associated with each scheme, the SEBI carries various schemes related to awareness programmes via distinct modes. 

Since mutual funds are very sensitive, providing guidelines and the right approach needs a strategic mindset and accurate standardisation. At the same time, it also requires a competent committee because guidelines need to be in a win-win solution for both investors and sponsors. 

For instance, in the mutual fund sector, each scheme needs to be formulated accordingly to contain the least risk with maximum investment to increase the net asset value or NAV. Hence, all these practices are conducted by this authority to make the investors formulate wise decisions regarding similar schemes in a portfolio. All in all, SEBI acts as a supreme regulator, formulator of mutual funds and supervises it to grant justice to guidelines.

SEBI guidelines to invest in mutual funds

SEBI entrusted the mutual fund's guidelines in 1996. The role of these policies is implemented to ensure reliability and balance the mutual funds. SEBI guidelines encompass schemes structure and the risk associated with it and emphasise investors' rights and individual actions. 

  1. Introducing schemes by acknowledging their risk appetite, advising them regarding organising and supervising their investment to gain more profit from diversified funds.
  2. Furthermore, it also gave insight into mutual funds appropriate behaviour, such as how much time is required for different schemes to manage and increase the slope of financial gain.
  3. Since the mutual funds are miscellaneous, it includes risks too. These guidelines work based on regulation-7 of the 1996 Act. These guidelines include professional paperwork and criteria to get registered.
  4. To get the certificate of registration from the SEBI, a sponsor should retain an ample status about integrity and vigilance and be responsible for decent net worth in all his last five years of business transactions. Five years are considered the standard and minimum amount of time to register a trust into mutual funds.
  5. The sponsor should contribute a minimum of 40% net amount into an AMC. And needs to be fit mentally. The trust board of directors needs to be free of any culpability.

Key Highlights of the SEBI guidelines: 

  • SEBI is the approval and superior authority of the mutual funds.
  • SEBI guidelines gave insightful guidance to both investors and guarantors.
  • Protocols of the SEBI work on regulation-7 of the 199 act.
  • Guidelines of SEBI incorporate some conditions. For instance, a sponsor and its trust board of directors need to have a decent profile of 5-year transactions and have a net worth of 40% into AMC, have a proper mental mindset, and have no involvement in any criminal cause.

How the new categorization will affect investors

Recently, SEBI has revised its guidelines regarding the large, mid and small multi caps, in which protocols are amended to fix the amount of portfolio in a ratio of 50:25:25 large, mid, and small multi caps, respectively. 

SEBI shows concern regarding mid and small multi caps and mitigates the freedom of AMC to manage the assets of their choice of ratio. Previously, investors used to manage their portfolios according to the risk involved in the respective schemes, which suppressed the small multi caps. 

This approach was not working on the winning track. So, the SEBI demonstrated a new policy to provide justice to both parties that this policy may impact investors in the short term. This amendment will also refine and bridge the gaps between large and small multi caps in the long run. And improve the financial and economic slope in the country.

Bottom line

All in all, the notion of mutual funds regulated by SEBI plays a significant role in the lives of investors and sponsors and leads the scope of development in business, corporate and central sectors. These funds are useful in reducing tax liabilities, act as an alternative source of income, and help protect from inflation. But transcendent to all benefits, it possesses a risk factor too. But to mitigate these, regulators are working towards it together.


  1. Why do these sponsors take mutual funds investments?

    Sponsors may be an individual entity or an entity with a partnership. So, to nourish the growth and finance input, they firstly build trust and increase their portfolio with the help of several schemes. So, broadly mutual funds are advantageous to both investors and guarantors.
  2. Is there any company that helps or spends its assets on other companies as mutual funds?

    Yes, many firms follow this culture, and not only this, there are Foreign Direct Investments that are nothing but a foreign company's share in the parent company. This helps Indian firms to grow a lot.

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