To protect investments of unitholders in various schemes launched by asset management companies (AMCs) and to improve transparency and efficiency, the Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan (SECP) has specified rating requirement for investment in short-term debt instruments by open-ended collective investment schemes (CISs).
The new requirements have been notified through Circular No. 9 of 2023, and are available on the SECP website. The requirements have been introduced through amendments in earlier issued Circular No. 7 of 2009 (Categorization of Open-End Collective Investment Schemes).
The amendments were made in consultation with the Mutual Fund Association of Pakistan (MUFAP), Pakistan Credit Rating Agency Limited (PACRA), and VIS Credit Rating Co. Limited (VIS).
Through the said amendments, the credit rating of any short-term security in the portfolio of a money market scheme shall not be lower than A1 (A One), whereas, in the case of income schemes, the rating of any short-term security in the portfolio shall not be lower than A 3 (A Three). Further, in the case of the Shariah Compliant (Islamic) Scheme, the rating of short-term instruments in the portfolio shall not be lower than A 2 (A Two). Likewise, in the case of the Balanced Scheme, the rating of any short-term debt security in the portfolio shall not be lower than A 2 (A Two).
The AMCs whose open-ended CISs have already taken exposure in below-rated short-term debt instruments shall comply with the requirement within a period of six (6) months from the date of publication of the Circular.