Paytm Said to Seek RBI Licence to Start Money Market Fund

Paytm has applied for a licence to set up a money market mutual fund that will enable the company to expand its financial offerings to consumers.

According to sources, Paytm has applied to the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) to start the fund in the coming months, a move that will enable the company to increase revenues from financial services.

When contacted, Paytm declined to comment.

The primary objective of a money market fund is to invest in short-term securities.

The Alibaba and SoftBank-backed company had, last month, started its payments bank operations in the country and aims to garner 500 million customers by 2020.

Paytm Said to Seek RBI Licence to Start Money Market Fund

The company has earmarked an initial investment of Rs. 400 crores to build its banking network over two years.

 

Also, it launched ‘Digital Gold’ in April this year to allow its over 200 million users to buy and sell gold through its platform.

At the time of launch, Paytm founder and CEO Vijay Shekhar Sharma had said it was “the first step in Paytm’s journey in wealth management”.

Paytm seems to be drawing inspiration from its investor, Alipay that set up Yu’e Bao in 2013 that allows Alipay customers to convert the money in their accounts into units of a money market fund, offering them higher interest rates.

According to reports, Yu’e Bao had over $165 billion (roughly Rs. 1,06,565 crores) under management, making it one of the biggest money market funds in the world.

‘Request for ideas’: Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos asks Twitter followers how to donate his money

Amazon.com Inc’s billionaire founder Jeff Bezos on Thursday turned to an unusual source of inspiration for how to donate part of his wealth: Twitter.

“I want much of my philanthropic activity to be helping people in the here and now – short term – at the intersection of urgent need and lasting impact,” Bezos, one of the world’s richest people with a net worth of more than $76 billion, said in a Twitter post.

“If you have ideas, just reply to this tweet with the idea (and if you think this approach is wrong, would love to hear that too.)”

 Amazon

The request signalled a shift for Bezos, who has invested in longer-term bets like space exploration and kept quieter about other givings.

The e-commerce executive has said he will sell about $1 billion of Amazon stock annually to fund his company Blue Origin, which aims to cut the cost of space travel and kick off entrepreneurship in the cosmos.

For philanthropy, Bezos has supported a foundation run by his parents that focuses on education. His family has also given more than $40 million to Seattle’s Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, not far from Amazon’s headquarters.

Still, Bezos has yet to make charity a cornerstone of his work, like Microsoft Corp’s Bill Gates or Facebook Inc’s Mark Zuckerberg have. Bezos has not joined them and 167 other of the world’s richest people in pledging to give more than half of their fortunes to philanthropy.

Asked in an interview with Charlie Rose last year if he one day would rival Gates’ magnanimity, Bezos joked, “Well, yeah, if there is anything left after I finish building Blue Origin.”

His Twitter post had generated nearly 4,000 replies within three hours.

Recommendations ranged from food programs for children, to protecting forests and fighting homelessness.

“Repurpose shipping containers to provide micro-homes for the homeless,” tweeted journalist and analyst John Koetsier. “Give them a safe, dry place to sleep, then work on further needs.”

 

CAs could be punished for helping clients in money laundering

The government has moved to punish chartered accountants if they help clients hide ill-gotten wealth through opaque bank transactions, or money laundering, two top officials said on Tuesday.

The proposal to tweak the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) came from the revenue department on the instruction of the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO), one of the officials from the finance ministry said. The second source is from the PMO. Both officials refused to be identified because of the sensitivity of the matter.

The PMLA stipulates up to seven years in jail and the confiscation of property of those involved in money laundering but that doesn’t include chartered accountants. The proposed amendment doesn’t make it clear what the punishment would be for CAs.

“The preliminary view is that an amount or asset equal to the laundered amount should be confiscated from the chartered accountants as well,” the second official told Hindustan Times.

Income tax and corporate laws allow the prosecution of CAs for wilful wrongdoing. Including them in the anti-money laundering act closes a loop in Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s high-octane campaign against corruption that saw his government ban old 500 and 1000-rupee banknotes.

Since then, government agencies, including the Enforcement Directorate and the Central Bureau of Investigation, have cracked down on suspect deals.

CAs

The finance ministry official told HT that investigators had come across alleged instances where CAs wilfully helped companies launder or roundtrip money.

“The government realises that if a stringent law is brought against the key player in money laundering we will be able to curb black money generation,” the official said, referring to instances of CAs helping hide ill-gotten wealth.

The Institute of Chartered Accountants of India (ICAI), the apex body regulating the profession in the country, was guarded in its reaction.

“A specific provision holding chartered accountants responsible in case of money laundering is not a bad move. Every person involved in any kind of wrong doing should bear responsibility and it should not be restricted just to CAs,” said Dhinal Shah, member central council of ICAI.

Manoj Fadnis, former ICAI president, said chartered accountants shouldn’t be held guilty if they follow globally accepted accounting norms but end up making an honest mistake because the facts and figures provided to them were wrong.