UTI AMC IPO faces fresh trouble: Officers move Sebi over salary deadlock

Topics UTI AMC | IPO

The letter observed that UTI AMC had thus far enjoyed exemptions from various labour legislations, such as the Shops and Establishment Act, which resulted in large financial savings
The All India UTI AMC Officers’ Association has shot off a letter to the Securities and Exchange Board of India (Sebi) alleging that the draft prospectus of the asset manager’s initial public offering (IPO) fails to adequately highlight the contingent liabilities arising out of employee-related dues.

The letter states that UTI’s draft prospectus is silent on the liability that may arise on account of the direction given by the Bombay High Court asking the government to consider the grievances of officers of UTI AMC. In January 2019, the ministry of finance, through the DIPAM (Department of Investment and Public Asset Management), had filed a report on the issue, asking UTI AMC to address all pending grievances and ensure that the entitlements of officers of erstwhile UTI are protected under Section 6 (1) of the UTI Repeal Act 2002. 

“This report and its decision finds no mention in the DRHP (draft red herring prospectus),” states the letter to Sebi, adding, settling pay and allowance of officers, making adequate provisions for retirement benefits, increased pension and family pension, providing a third party pension option, and re-allotting past ESOPs (employee stock ownership plans) under the UTI ESOP Scheme 2007 could have considerable financial implication.

An e-mail sent to UTI AMC did not immediately get a response.

“The management of UTI AMC has delayed the implementation of the decisions of this critical report, to suppress the huge liability arising out of the settlement of long-pending issues and to camouflage and present a better financial statement before the IPO to prospective investors, which is unfair and misleading… the management and the board of UTI AMC are in a hurry to push the IPO at a high price, suppressing large liabilities,” the letter observes.

The association has also filed a writ petition in the Bombay High Court to restore the retirement age of officers to 60 years, in line with that of workmen staff and employees in the RBI/IDBI and public sector banks. This fact has not been disclosed in the DRHP, the letter claims. The association has filed another writ petition for restoration of sick leaves and other leave facilities.

The letter observed that UTI AMC had thus far enjoyed exemptions from various labour legislations, such as the Shops and Establishment Act, which resulted in large financial savings. “The proposed dilution of stakes will alter this position, a fact which has not been disclosed in the DRHP.”

“The association has been asking for a structured revision in pay scales and allowances of officers since 2003. Officers have also been fighting for a graded salary, which was altered and/or discontinued after 2008. The AMC is yet to work out the exact figure for the liabilities but it could run into a few hundred crores,” said a person familiar with the matter.

The asset manager is also yet to resolve the impasse surrounding the payment of pension to its erstwhile employees who had opted for voluntary retirement in 2003. 

The pension payout to the 1,200-odd employees could amount to sizeable figure; a letter by the erstwhile MD, Leo Puri, to the finance ministry in 2015 had pegged the pension-related liabilities at Rs 722 crore.

It is not clear if this amount will be paid out of UTI MF’s books or whether the Specified Undertaking of the Unit Trust of India -- formed by the restructuring of the erstwhile UTI in 2003 -- will step in to foot the bill.

The UTI Retired and VSS Employees’ Social Association has filed two writ petitions before the Bombay High Court, demanding the opportunity to exercise options to avail of pension.

UTI AMC will be the third fund house to get listed after the IPO was put on the back burner for several years amid disagreement between shareholders.

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