Over five crore subscribers of retirement fund body EPFO will get an option to increase or decrease investments of their provident fund into stocks through exchange trade funds (ETF) in the current financial year.
The Employees’ Provident Fund Organisation plans to credit ETF investments in the PF accounts of in about three months, thereafter it would give an option to the subscribers to hike or cut investments in ETFs from their funds.
“We have to develop a software to credit ETFs into the PF accounts of subscribers. It will take 2 to 3 months,” EPFO’s Central Provident Fund Commissioner V P Joy told PTI.
“Once we do that we would go for next phase to give an option to members to increase or decrease investments in the stocks,” he added.
EPFO’s apex decision making body, Central Board of Trustees (CBT), had last week decided to explore the possibility of giving an option to subscribers for enhancing equity allocation beyond mandated equity investment limit (presently 15 per cent) as also of reducing it below that limit.
EPFO invests 15 per cent of its investible deposits into the ETFs. Earlier last year, the CBT had approved an accounting policy to credit ETFs into the members account apart from cash component.
The CBT had also approved the recommendation of EPFO’s advisory body — Finance Investment and Audit Committee (FIAC) — that subscribers be allocated equity units only for 15 per cent of their contributions. All units over and above this allocation to all the subscribers would be held by the EPFO.
EPFO had started investing in ETFs in August 2015. In 2015-16 it invested 5 per cent of its investible deposits which was subsequently increased to 10 per cent 2016-17 and 15 per cent in 2017-18. It has invested Rs 41,967.51 crore in ETFs with return of 17.23 per cent as on February 28, 2018. The body had sold ETFs worth Rs 2,500 crore in March this year for the first time to liquidate its investments in stock market.