Transparency in business requires leaders to be open and informative about key points of information. This includes goals and as business expands, its operations and performance.

In March-end, Franklin Templeton India had to take an unprecedented decision of closing 6 debt funds. An already volatile market showed risk aversion and reduced liquidity in the wake of lockdowns. The closure of funds led to panic in people who had invested in these.

A barrage of questions, doubts, rumours circulated. The management at Franklin Templeton India fielded all queries and had dedicated helpline numbers to assure investors. In addition, there were press conferences and notices released that cleared the air about what happened and why was it necessary at that stage to go for closure of funds as opposed to other options.

One of the avenues that Franklin Templeton India used at this juncture was to address industry influencers, the bloggers and the vloggers in finance.

The decision around the winding up of schemes and their subsequent liquidation is a process that needs the Unitholders’ approval. This is the first step to active monetisation of assets and the return of investment proceeds to the Unitholders. The company seeks this authorisation through the process of voting.

In view of lockdown, Franklin Templeton debt scheme investor voting has gone electronic. Physical voting or meetings cannot take place. Hence, the company has made the provision for e-voting so that Unitholders can vote from the safety of their homes through their registered email ids.

Extensive guidelines have been issued on the voting process and the unitholders meet.

As of now, the dates for the e-voting would need to be pushed ahead in view of the Gujarat High Court’s stay of voting and Unitholders meet.

Franklin Templeton India President Mr. Sanjay Sapre stressed that they aim to have a clear and a transparent liquidation process. Independent advisors Kotak Mahindra Bank and Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu India LLP have been brought in to monetise the assets. These reputed and independent firms are expected to boost investor confidence and to ensure transparency.

Once again, Franklin Templeton India chose to speak directly to the finance sector bloggers and vloggers through an interactive Video Q & A session. Mr. Sanjay Sapre shared all guidelines and replied to the queries that the bloggers had regarding the voting and liquidation process as well as the timelines for the disbursement of assets. The concerns of a large section of voters were addressed through these influencers.

Gaining the trust of investors and rebuilding confidence takes time but Franklin Templeton India is on the right track. Markets rise and fall but companies that keep transparency and customer comfort to the forefront are in for the long haul. 

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