Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan (SECP) is the chief regulator of the mutual fund industry in Pakistan and it has taken various steps for the development and regulation of this industry. Asset Management Companies (AMC) are formed under the Non-Banking Finance Companies & Notified Entities Regulations, 2008 issued by the SECP. Details on the workings of the SECP and the rules governing the operations of the AMC can be viewed at www.secp.gov.pk.
Mutual Funds Association of Pakistan (MUFAP) is the trade body for Pakistan’s multi-billion rupee asset management industry. Its members manage a wide variety of investment vehicles including stocks, bonds, money market instruments, government securities and bank deposits. MUFAP’s role is to ensure transparency, high ethical conduct and growth of the mutual fund industry. Details on MUFAP are available at www.mufap.com.pk.
The mutual fund industry in Pakistan started with National Investment Trust Limited (NIT), a public sector entity established in 1962 that launched the first equity open-end fund in Pakistan. This was followed with the setting up of Investment Corporation of Pakistan (ICP) in 1966, a state-controlled corporation that launched and managed 26 closed-end mutual funds. The private sector was allowed to launch closed-end funds during 1970s, but it was not until the establishment of the MUFAP in 1996 – a trade body of the asset management companies, that the private sector ventured into the open-end funds industry.
In view of changing market conditions, to bring uniformity in the comparison of different funds, and to enable investors to make informed decisions, the SECP in March 2009 revised the categories of open-end mutual funds on the basis of asset classes and risk profile. The growth of the industry has not only been driven by the performance of the stock market but also by the increasing investor appetite, particularly the retail and corporate clients. Following types of open-end funds are currently available: