Regulators take restrictive actions against JM Financial

RBI barred JM Financial Products (a subsidiary of JM Financial) from extending loans against shares, including financing subscriptions to IPOs of shares and debentures, with immediate effect over irregularities and corporate governance issues.

An RBI statement said the “action is necessitated due to certain serious deficiencies observed with respect to loans sanctioned by the company for IPO financing as well as NCD (debenture) subscriptions. RBI carried out a limited review of the company’s books on the basis of the information shared by Sebi”.

RBI said there were serious concerns about governance issues in the company, which, in RBI’s assessment, was detrimental to consumer interest. The central bank cited several reasons for the drastic action.

  • The regulator said that JM Financial Products repeatedly helped a group of its customers to bid for various IPOs using loaned funds;
  • Second, it said the credit underwriting was perfunctory and done against meagre margins.
  • Third, it operated customer accounts using a power of attorney and master agreement obtained without their involvement.
  • RBI also charged the NFBC with effectively acting as both borrower and lender.

JM Financial Group, however, denied that there have been any violations.

“We believe there have been no material deficiencies in our loan sanctioning process. Further, the company has not violated applicable regulations. We also wish to reaffirm that there have been no governance issues and that we conduct all our business and operational affairs in a bona fide manner. The company shall continue to service its existing customers as advised by RBI,” the company said in a statement.

“The IPO financing product is short-term and self-liquidating in nature. In the context of IPO funding, the power of attorney is taken as a risk containment measure only. The practice of taking POA is prevalent across the industry and is perfectly legal,” JM Financial Products said.

The business restrictions imposed will be reviewed upon the completion of a special audit to be instituted by the RBI and after rectification of the deficiencies to the satisfaction of RBI.

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