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RETAIL FUNDS | Tony Chua, India
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SBI hires 18,000 to mutual fund sales force

Move can make lender India’s biggest mutual fund marketing machine.

India’s largest lender has trained a veritable army to sell mutual funds to its customers, in a year-long programme that could change the face of the country’s mutual fund distribution business.

Around 18,000 employees of State Bank of India (SBI) have passed a mandatory industry test that makes them eligible to sell mutual funds, said two bank employees involved in the programme, giving the public sector bank the biggest mutual fund marketing machine in the country. The two SBI officials requested anonymity.

While a little more than 100,000 individuals have qualified to distribute mutual funds as of December, informal industry estimates suggest that barely 30,000-40,000 of them actively sell mutual funds to clients. The others prefer to sell insurance products after a June decision by the Securities and Exchange Board of India (Sebi) to ban upfront commissions on the sale of mutual fund units to investors.

SBI will thus likely have one-third of the nation’s active mutual funds sales force.

View the full story in Live Mint.

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