1. Where to file a complaint
The presence of the regulatory bodies such as the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) and the Association of Mutual Funds in India (AMFI) has made investing in mutual funds a safe option. SEBI comes down heavily on fund houses or other organisations involved in mutual funds if they are found with any discrepancies.
a. Phase 1: the AMC or the Distributor
If you have a complaint regarding your mutual fund investments, the first thing to do it to reach out to the fund house or fund distributor. Every mutual fund company has customer care through which investors can raise concerns. You can call or email them, as per your comfort. Alternatively, you can get in touch with your fund distributor or agent through whom you invested in the mutual fund. In most cases, either one of these methods would be enough to resolve your issue.
b. Phase 2: SEBI
In some cases, fund houses themselves may not be able to offer impartial solutions to investors. It is natural for a mutual fund company to want to protect themselves first. This is why all mutual fund companies come under the government body, SEBI (Securities and Exchange Board of India). To assist investors in getting their complaints addressed, SEBI has launched SCORES, which stands for SEBI Complaints Redress System.
2. How to register a complaint with SEBI
SCORES is an online portal on SEBI website where you can log complaints, send reminders and check the status of complaints. First, you need to fill in the necessary information in the respective columns to register and open an account. You will receive the login credentials by email. Confirm registration and login to air your grievance.
Try to fill as many details as you can. It will be easier for SEBI to resolve your complaint at the earliest. After filing the complaint, they will send you a complaint registration number so that you can follow up. They take no more than 30 days to redress the grievance.
3. Complaint categories available under SCORES (SEBI)
On the SCORES page, you have the option to select the mutual fund after the columns for personal info. Under the mutual fund, you will see various complaint categories. Some of them are the delay of dividend payment, non-compliance with the promised attributes, delaying the redemption process, not giving a patient ear and so on.
If your complaint falls under any of the categories specified, choose that. Else, select ‘Others’. In this column, you can enter the complaint manually (please keep it less than 1,000 characters). If this space is insufficient, you have the option to upload documents (proofs of an unsatisfactory response from the fund house or complaint letter). A copy of the complaint goes to the fund house, and SEBI will keep a track on how the AMC solves your issue and the time they take.
4. How to track the status of your complaint
Once your complaint goes to the SEBI portal, they assign the concerned party – fund house, agent, advisor or distributor – to address the issue within a specific deadline. To know the status of your grievance, log in to your account. You can see your registration number on your account page. Click on ‘View Complaint Status’ to know. SEBI will only close the complaint if it gets redressed to the regulator’s satisfaction.
In short, this is how mutual fund investors can get their grievances redressed. But remember to approach the fund company or distributor before you approach SEBI. Mutual funds are as safe as they are lucrative.
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