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Investor Education and Protection Fund (IEPF)

Updated on :  

08 min read.

The Central Government introduced the Investor Education and Protection Fund (IEPF) to protect investors’ interests and promote awareness. It is established under Section 125 of the Companies Act, 2013 (‘Act’). The unpaid or unclaimed amounts belonging to a company’s investors are pooled and credited into the IEPF. The IEPF funds are utilised for various purposes as provided under the Act. 

Administration of IEPF

The IEPF is administered by the IEPF Authority consisting of a chairperson, a chief executive officer and such other members, not exceeding seven, appointed by the Central Government. The IEPF Authority administers the IEPF funds, maintains separate accounts and other relevant records relating to the funds as prescribed after consultation with the Comptroller and Auditor-General of India. The funds of the IEPF is the amount accumulated/credited to the IEPF as per the provisions of the Act. 

The IEPF Authority will utilise and spend the money of the IEPF funds only for the purposes mentioned in the Act. The Comptroller and Auditor-General of India will audit the accounts of the IEPF. The IEPF Authority will forward the audited accounts with the audit report annually to the Central Government. 

The IEPF Authority will also put together its annual report for every financial year, giving a complete summary related to its activities during the year and forward the copy to the Central Government. The Central Government will lay down the annual report by the IEPF Authority and the audit report given by the Comptroller and Auditor-General of India before each House of the Parliament.

Amounts Credited to IEPF Fund

The Act provides that the following amounts will be credited to the IEPF:

  • The amount given by the Central Government as grants after due appropriation made by Parliament for utilising them for the purpose provided under the Act.
  • Donations given to the IEPF by the Central Government, companies, state governments, or any other institution for utilising them for the purpose provided under the Act.
  • The amount in the unpaid dividend account transferred to the IEPF by the companies when they remain unpaid/unclaimed for seven years from the transfer date. The company will transfer the unpaid dividend account amount along with interest accrued, if any, to the IEPF. 
  • All shares regarding which dividend has not been paid or claimed for seven consecutive years or more transferred to the IEPF by the companies, along with a statement containing its details.
  • The amount with respect to the general revenue account of the Central Government transferred to that account under Section 205A(5) of the Companies Act, 1956, remaining unpaid or unclaimed on the commencement of the Companies Act, 2013.
  • The amount lying in the Investor Education and Protection Fund (IEPF) under Section 205C of the Companies Act, 1956.
  • The interest or other income received from investments made from the IEPF amount.
  • The application monies that the company receives upon allotment of any securities and are due for refund.
  • The matured deposits with companies other than banking companies remained unclaimed and unpaid for seven years from the date it was due for payment.
  • The matured debentures with companies and interest accrued on these remained unclaimed and unpaid for seven years from the date it was due for payment.
  • The sale proceeds of fractional shares arising out of bonus shares issuance, merger and amalgamation for seven or more years.
  • The redemption amount of preference shares remains unclaimed or unpaid for seven or more years.

Utilisation of the IEPF Amount

The Act provides that the IEPF Authority will utilise and spend the IEPF amount only for the following purposes:

  • Refund in respect of matured debentures, matured deposits, unclaimed dividends, the application money due for repayment and its interest.
  • Promotion of investors’ awareness, education, and protection.
  • Reimbursement of legal expenses incurred for pursuing class-action suits under Sections 37 and 245 of the Act by debenture-holders, members, or depositors and sanctioned by the National Company Law Tribunal.
  • Distribution of disgorged amount amongst identifiable and eligible applicants for debentures or shares, debenture-holders, shareholders, or depositors who have suffered losses because of the wrong actions by any person, as per the court orders of disgorgement. The disgorged amount means the amount received through the disposal or disgorgement of securities.
  • Any other purpose incidental to the purposes mentioned above.

Refund of Amounts Credited to IEPF

Any person or shareholder whose unpaid or unclaimed amount has been transferred by the company from the unpaid dividend account to the IEPF can claim their refunds from the IEPF Authority. They can claim the refund as prescribed under Section 125(3)(a) of the Act and Rule 7(1) of the Investor Education and Protection Fund Authority (Accounting, Audit, Transfer and Refund) Rules, 2016.

The company transfers the unpaid or unclaimed amounts of the shareholders remaining in the unpaid dividend account for seven years into the IEPF. However, the shareholders can claim a refund of their amounts transferred to the IEPF by filing the Form IEPF-5 with the IEPF Authority. They must submit the required documents along with Form IEPF-5 to receive refunds. 

The shareholders can apply the Form IEPF-5 for the refund of their unclaimed money on the IEPF website. They must fill the form, upload it on the IEPF website, and submit the required documents to the company’s Nodal Officer (IEPF) at its registered office. 

The concerned company will verify the Form IEPF-5 and the documents. The IEPF Authority will release the refund in favour of claimants’ (shareholders’) Aadhaar linked bank account through electronic transfer based on the company’s verification report.

Disclaimer: The materials provided herein are solely for information purposes. No attorney-client relationship is created when you access or use the site or the materials. The information presented on this site does not constitute legal or professional advice and should not be relied upon for such purposes or used as a substitute for legal advice from an attorney licensed in your state.

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