As the adage goes,“Patience is a virtue”; after waiting months, investors in the Franklin Templeton Mutual Fund’s (FTMF) six debt schemes that were wound up last year finally have reason to be optimistic.

As stipulated by the courts, FTMF recently conducted a three-day voting process between December 26 and December 29 to seek investors consent to wind up these schemes. Consent by simple majority was necessary to allow the mutual fund house to proceed with the winding up process of the schemes in an orderly manner.

The result of the e-voting process, made public yesterday by the Supreme Court, revealed that an overwhelming majority of more than 90% unitholders in each of the six schemes voted in favour of winding up. This can be seen as a positive sign. It will now pave the way for the mutual fund house to initiate the steps to monetise the assets.

Notably, it was feared that if the fund house did not receive the consent, the schemes would have to be reopened, which could have resulted in a high volume of redemption requests. The fund house had forewarned unitholders that it may have to undertake distressed sale of assets to meet the redemptions request, which would result in a reduction in the net asset value (NAV) of the schemes and substantial losses for the unitholders.

It could have also resulted in a disproportionate distribution of any cash generated to unitholders depending on the time of redemption. Furthermore, there could have been a longer delay in the recovery timeline for unitholders.

Now that the distressed sale of assets can be ruled out, FTMF will start the winding up process for these six schemes in an orderly manner and repay unitholders.

When will the unitholders start receiving funds?

The next Supreme Court hearing is scheduled for January 25 where the court will decide on how the funds should be repaid.

FTMF in a press release said, “We are thankful to our unitholders for voting overwhelmingly in favour of the orderly winding up in all six schemes. We hope to commence distribution of investment proceeds at the earliest, subject to the directions of the Supreme Court in the next hearing.”

It is expected that there will another round of voting to appoint a liquidator. After this, the liquidator will start the monetisation of assets to fetch the best value for the underlying securities of respective schemes which can then be returned to the unitholders. The process of appointment and initiation of asset monetisation could take a couple of weeks.

As per the latest update from FTMF, the six wound-up schemes have received Rs 13,789 crore so far (till January 15, 2021) from maturities, pre-payments, and coupons.

Five out of the six schemes have now turned positive, these are  Franklin India Ultra Short Bond Fund (FIUBF)Franklin India Dynamic Accrual Fund (FIDA)Franklin India Low Duration Fund (FILDF)Franklin India Credit Risk Fund (FICRF), and  Franklin India Short Term Income Plan (FISTIP). Moreover, the borrowing level in Franklin India Income Opportunities Fund (FIIOF) has reduced.

FTMF has stated that close to Rs 9,190 crore is available for distribution to unitholders. The expected timeline of the pay-out from these six schemes is as follows:

Table: Expected timeline of payout from wound-up schemes of FTMF

(Source: Franklin Templeton Mutual Fund) 

Since the debt market conditions have improved substantially after facing illiquidity amid the pandemic, it will be possible for the fund house to derive maximum value from the underlying securities of the schemes. Fortunately, unitholders are likely to receive most of their money back.

This article first appeared on PersonalFN here

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