We often hear about bogus bank accounts, issues due to duplicate PAN, ID, and so on. Biometric locks on Aadhaar could counter this to a large extent. Mutual fund companies, too, face similar issues, and they have come up with something even better – getting the investor to verify in person or IPV.
IPV refers to In-Person Verification, and it is a new prerequisite for mutual fund investors. To do this, your AMC will re-validate the KYC info you submitted online. You either need to physically meet the official representative from the fund house or distributor with all the original documents.
In simple words, your passport photo affixed to the corner of the mutual fund form won’t be enough anymore. They need to know that a real person has applied.
2. IPV In Detail
The Prevention of Money Laundering Act, 2002 (PMLA), came into effect from July 1, 2005. This Act was designed to ensure that no one was able to use investment tools to launder their ill-gained wealth. Soon after the Act coming into effect, the SEBI (Securities and Exchange Board of India) mandated that all intermediaries helping their clients with investments (including mutual funds), should adopt the Know your Customer (KYC) policy. Along with this, it was also necessary for intermediaries to formulate and implement policies vis-a-vis the guidelines on anti-money laundering measures.
Since 1 January 2011, KYC compliance has been made mandatory for all categories of investors. This is irrespective of the amount invested and includes the following transactions:
a. New / Additional Purchases
b. Switching Transactions
c. New registrations for SIP/ STP/ Flex STP/ FlexIndex/ DTP
d. Any SIP/STP/trigger-related products launched after the act coming into effect
As a process in which a Depository Participant personally validates your documents, SEBI has mandated IPV to all investors. If you are planning to invest and open a Demat account and trading account, this is the first step.
Now every AMC and distributor insists on personal verification before activating investment account with them. This rule mainly applies to NRIs, People of Indian Origin and Sailors, regardless of their current place of residence. Many fund houses allow this verification via video chat or recording too for which the instructions will be given on their website.
3. How to Get Your IPV Done
To carry out IPV, the investors must produce the original copy of ID and residential proofs they have submitted electronically at the fund house.
Earlier, the investors needed to appear in person at the office, or somebody would visit the investors at their workplace or home. But now, the process is more straightforward as you can do a live authentication via video conferencing (Skype) at a pre-agreed time. For this, you must have a fast internet connection. The officer might ask you questions regarding your documents. If they find the answers contradictory or mismatch of documents, they can cancel your application.
4. IPV Authorization
Only the following entities have the authorisation to carry out IPV. You can visit the nearest office in person with the required documents.
a. KYC registration agency (KRA)
b. The AMC
c. Mutual fund agent
d. Mutual fund distributor
e. MF’s registrar
f. Transfer agent like CAMS or Karvy Computer Share Private Limited
The fund house will deem your KYC complete only after the In-Person Verification. You can invest in other mutual funds with this as you need to do the IPV only once.
5. Why Add IPV to Regular eKYC?
e-KYC (electronic Know Your Customer) is a value-added feature that many fund houses offer today, to make the application process seamless. Investors can access it and upload the necessary documents from the comfort of their home or office.
As mentioned above, only SEBI-approved KRAs like CVL and CAMS can complete e-KYC. Most of these agencies have launched apps to do instant authentication, either using biometrics or OTP. There is an upper cap of Rs.50,000 per investor per mutual fund for OTP verification.
6. Who Needs to Be KYC Compliant?
Since the IPV is a part of the KYC process, let’s take a look at the categories of investors who need to be KYC compliant. The list includes:
a. Any individual(s) or non-individual(s) making an investment
b. Guardians investing on behalf of minors
c. Power of Attorney (PoA) holder(s), when making investments through PoA
Individuals who become an investors due to an operation of law, e.g., transmission of units upon the death of the original investor. In this case, the claimant/person(s) will need to be KYC compliant before such transfer can take place.
7. Rules Set by SEBI for IPV
a. Conducting IPV of its clients is a mandatory process for all intermediaries
b. The intermediary is responsible for collecting and maintaining records of all critical customer details
c. Only the IPV performed by a SEBI-approved intermediary will be taken into consideration
d. Once a KRA record has been updated, all other intermediaries should be able to access the details, and this eliminates the need for multiple verifications and data duplication