Monday , 25 June 2018

Bluechip PSUs eye EPFO funds

HYDERABAD: Blue chip PSUs are eyeing funds from the Employees Provident Fund Organisation (EPFO) which is sitting on a huge cash pile, said Labour Minister Bandaru Dattatreya. The Minister admitted that EPFO too is looking for better returns following dwindling bank interest rates post-demonetisation. Following drop in rate of interests by banks, the EPFO will have to change its strategy with regard to investment pattern to give better interest rate to its subscribers, said the Minister.

The EPFO recently announced that the rate of interest for this year would be 8.65 per cent. EPF subscribers got 8.80 per cent rate of interest on their PF savings in 2014-15 and 2015-16.

Dattatreya said presently EPFO can invest up to 20 per cent of its investable amount which is pegged at about Rs 1.3 lakh crore this year in Central Government PSUs and the Ministry plans to increase it to 30 per cent.

“We are also seriously thinking about it. Many public sector units need investments. We may invest more in them. We may change our priorities in future. We will concentrate more on Central Public Sector units,” Dattatreya told PTI.

“As of now, about seven PSUs came forward to take investments from us (EPFO). We received a communication from the Ministry of Finance to increase our investments in PSUs. The return may be higher than what we are getting now,” he said.

“Indian Oil Corporation Limited, Coal India Limited, ONGC Limited, Bharat Electronics, Engineers India Limited Power Finance Corporation and Rural Electrification Limited are among the PSUs that need funds from EPFO,” Dattatreya said.

He said the proposal to increase investments in PSUs will be placed before the next meeting of Central Board of Trustees (CBT) for ratification.

“We are planning to open a cell in our Ministry to study the future investment pattern. After finalising the patterns then the proposals will be placed before CBT for approval,” he explained.

Meanwhile, a senior official of the EPFO said the organisation has invested Rs 13,526 crore in Exchange Traded Funds so far and the value of the investment stood at Rs 13,906 crore giving an yield of 8.80 per cent.

The Finance Ministry in 2015, notified a new investment pattern for EPFO, allowing the body to invest a minimum of 5 per cent and up to 15 per cent  of its funds in equity or equity-related schemes.

The EPFO had started investing up to 5 per cent  of its investable deposits in ETFs in August 2015. EPFO’s investable deposits (annual) is around Rs 1.30 lakh crore and it manages a corpus of about Rs 8 lakh crore.

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