New Delhi: UTI Asset Management Company, which runs one of the leading mutual funds of the country, has decided to begin a fresh search process for its full-time chief -- a position lying vacant for over 20 months now.

The board of UTI AMC has agreed to initiate a fresh process to fill the position and an advertisement inviting applications would be released soon, a senior official said.

The decision has been taken after a previous search process failed to fill the post, as two of the short-listed candidates for the position of Chairman and Managing Director (CMD) could not muster the required support of either the board members or the shareholders.

A pioneer in the Indian mutual fund industry and once the the country's largest fund house, UTI Mutual Fund has been relegated to fifth position for many months now below its newer rivals like HDFC, Reliance, ICICI Prudential and Birla Sun Life.

However, it recorded the largest increase in the assets under management for any fund house during the last quarter, ended September 30, when its average AUM rose by Rs 9,860 crore to grow beyond Rs 70,700 crore.

The surge of over 16 percent in UTI MF's asset size was double the entire industry's growth of about eight percent.  

Still, UTI AMC has lost considerable ground to its rivals, for which one of the often-cited reasons has been absence of a full-time chief to head the company.

The fund house became headless in February 2011, when its then chief U K Sinha left to become capital market regulator Sebi's Chairman. It has been trying to appoint a full-time chief since then, but has not been able to do so for one or other reasons.

In its last attempt, the board had proposed the name of Sunil Mehta, global insurance giant AIG's India country head, as the new chief of UTI AMC, but his nomination was shot down by some of the shareholders.

Prior to that, another short-listed name, Leo Puri, consultancy major McKinsey's senior adviser in India, was also red-flagged after complaints about his qualifications not meeting certain criteria mentioned in the job advertisement for for the position of CMD at UTI AMC.

UTI AMC shareholders include four public sector financial institutions -- LIC, State Bank of India, Punjab National Bank and Bank of Baroda with 18.5 percent stake each, while 26 percent holding is with US-based fund house T Rowe Price.

In January this year, the board of UTI AMC appointed its Chief Finance Officer Imtaiyazur Rahman as an acting CEO, till the appointment of a new full-time CMD. Since then, Rahman has been looking after the day to day operations of the company in consultation with the senior leadership team.


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