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How You Benefit from SEBI's New Norms for Death Reporting for MFs and Depositories

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SEBI's new rule effective January 1, 2024, transforms the landscape of asset transmission upon an investor's demise. By compelling mutual funds and depositories to proactively notify nominees within seven days, it seeks to streamline the process, provide clear guidelines, and enhance transparency, significantly impacting both beneficiaries and financial intermediaries.

I'm seeking guidance and support after my father's death. As the nominee for his investments, I've been dealing with the complex and frustrating process of claiming his assets. The initial hurdle was obtaining his death certificate, which involved endless paperwork, long queues, and a search for old documents. After weeks of struggle, I finally got the death certificate, only to face new challenges.
I was overwhelmed by the complex transmission process for my father's assets. Intermediaries demanded a plethora of documents and provided no clear guidance, leaving me feeling lost and helpless.

As weeks turned into months, my financial situation became increasingly strained. Reliance on my savings to cover my daily expenses while waiting for access to my father's assets was a heavy burden. The stress of handling my father's estate and the financial pressure began to take a toll on my well-being. I found it difficult to focus on my work and experienced frequent bouts of anxiety and sleeplessness.
Finally, after several months of relentless effort, I managed to complete the transmission process. However, the experience left me feeling drained, overwhelmed, and disillusioned with the financial system. It is disheartening to think that claiming the assets of a loved one should be such a daunting and emotionally taxing experience.

My question to you is this: What can be done to streamline the transmission process and make it less burdensome for bereaved individuals like myself? How can we ensure that nominees receive clear guidance and support from intermediaries during this difficult time?

I urge you to use your platform to raise awareness of such problems and advocate for changes that will make the transmission process more compassionate and efficient. 

--Anuja Kapoor, Delhi

Thanks for writing to us Anuja, and your desire to help those in similar situations is commendable. The loss of a loved one is a deeply emotional and challenging experience, and it can be overwhelming to navigate the practicalities that follow. One of the essential steps is reporting the death to the appropriate authorities, ensuring that legal and administrative processes are handled correctly.
Anuja's story highlights the challenges faced by nominees in claiming assets from deceased account holders. The lack of timely communication, unclear guidelines, and administrative burdens can cause significant distress and financial hardship for bereaved individuals.

Effective January 1, 2024, new rules by SEBi mandate swift notification, provision of transmission forms, and assistance to nominees by mutual funds and depositories within seven days of an investor's death.

But there’s good news. All such nominees will not only be helped but will be approached by all Depositories and Mutual Funds  (MFs) themselves if the nominator dies. Yes, you heard right. Now, in a move to enhance transparency and expedite the transmission of assets in the event of an investor's demise, the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) has introduced a new rule requiring mutual funds and depositories to reach out to the nominee of a deceased account holder within seven days. This initiative aims to streamline the process of transferring ownership of securities and mutual fund units to the designated beneficiary, ensuring timely access to the deceased's assets.

Key Highlights of the New Rule

The new rule, effective from January 1, 2024, mandates the following:

Prompt Notification of Nominee

Upon receiving intimation or confirmation of the investor's death, mutual funds and depositories must inform the nominee within seven days.

Provision of Transmission Request Form and Documents

The intermediary must provide the nominee with a transmission request form and a list of required documents for processing the transmission of assets.

Assistance in Transmission Process

Intermediaries are responsible for assisting nominees in understanding the transmission process and addressing any queries or concerns they may have.

Additional Provisions

The new rule also outlines a standard operating procedure for intermediaries and KYC registration agencies (KRAs) on what to do if an investor dies, and provisions have been made for instances where death certificates cannot be obtained.

“Death reporting is inconsistent across India’s states. And sample registration survey data comes with 2-year lag.”
--(T Sundararaman, former executive director of the National Health Systems Resource Centre)

Benefits and Implications of the New Rule for Nominee

This new regulatory measure is expected to bring about several benefits, including:

Importance of timely communication

The prompt communication requirement under the new rule is crucial for ensuring that nominees are informed of the investor's death without delay. This timely awareness enables them to initiate the transmission process promptly and avoid unnecessary delays in accessing their rightful assets.

Clear guidelines and assistance

The rule mandates that intermediaries provide nominees with clear guidelines and assistance throughout the transmission process. This support includes providing a comprehensive transmission request form, detailing the required documentation, and offering guidance on completing the formalities.

Transparency and trust

The proactive approach by intermediaries in reaching out to nominees fosters transparency and trust in the transmission process. This transparency can alleviate anxiety and concerns among nominees, allowing them to navigate the process with greater confidence.

Streamlined transmission

The new rule aims to streamline the transmission process by establishing clear timelines and responsibilities for intermediaries. This streamlining can reduce administrative burdens and delays, ensuring a more efficient and timely transfer of assets.

The rule includes a centralized mechanism for reporting and verifying the demise of an investor, which is expected to significantly reduce the harassment and apathy faced by bereaved families and nominees.

Empowering nominees

The rule empowers nominees by providing them with the necessary information and support to make informed decisions regarding the deceased's assets. This empowerment ensures that nominees can fulfill their role effectively and protect the interests of the deceased's beneficiaries.

Improved Customer Experience

By streamlining the transmission process and providing support to nominees, SEBI is striving to enhance the overall customer experience for beneficiaries during a difficult time.

Implications for Mutual Funds and Depositories

The new SEBI rule, mandating prompt communication with nominees and enhancing transparency in the transmission process, has significant implications for mutual funds and depositories:

Enhanced Regulatory Scrutiny

Mutual funds and depositories will face increased scrutiny from SEBI to ensure compliance with the new rule. They will need to implement robust systems and procedures to proactively identify deceased account holders and notify nominees within the stipulated timeframe.

Operational Changes

Intermediaries will need to adapt their operational processes to accommodate the new requirements. This may include modifying communication protocols, updating transmission request forms, and training staff to handle nominee inquiries effectively.

The new rule also outlines a standard operating procedure for intermediaries and KYC registration agencies (KRAs) on what to do if an investor dies, and provisions have been made for instances where death certificates cannot be obtained.

Technological Enhancements

Leveraging technology to streamline transmission procedures can drastically improve efficiency and reduce administrative burdens. Intermediaries may consider investing in automated notification systems, document management tools, and online transmission portals.

Customer Relationship Management

Proactive outreach and clear communication with nominees can foster stronger customer relationships. Intermediaries can demonstrate their commitment to customer service by providing consistent support and guidance throughout the transmission process.

Reputation Management

Effectively handling transmission matters can enhance an intermediary's reputation for transparency, efficiency, and investor protection. Positive feedback from nominees can contribute to a positive brand image.

Risk Mitigation

Prompt and accurate transmission of assets can mitigate the risk of fraud or disputes involving nominees. Streamlined procedures and clear communication can reduce potential misunderstandings and legal complications.

Regulatory Compliance Costs

Implementing the new rule may involve initial costs associated with system upgrades, staff training, and enhanced communication channels. However, these costs can be offset by improved operational efficiency, reduced risks, and enhanced customer satisfaction.

“Sebi has shown empathy and addressed the apathy shown towards bereaved families (by some market intermediaries) and attempted to ease their woes of being harassed.” 
- Rajat Dutta, founder and initiator of Inheritance Needs 

Competitive Edge

Mutual funds and depositories that demonstrate a proactive and supportive approach to nominee communication can gain a very good competitive edge in attracting and retaining investors. Their reputation for transparency and efficiency can attract new clients and contribute to long-term business growth.

Public Perception

By adhering to the new rule and demonstrating a commitment to investor protection, mutual funds and depositories can foster public trust and confidence in the financial system. This positive perception can contribute to a stable and healthy investment environment.

Continuous Improvement

Intermediaries should continuously evaluate their transmission processes and seek feedback from nominees to identify areas for improvement. This ongoing refinement can ensure that the transmission process remains efficient, transparent, and supportive for all parties involved.

A Few Precedents in the World for New Rule By SEBI

There are a few precedents in the world where mutual funds and depositories approach the nominee on their own to initiate the transmission process in the event of an investor's death. In some countries, such as the United Kingdom and Australia, there are regulations in place that mandate that MFs and depositories proactively reach out to nominees within a specified timeframe. For example, in the United Kingdom (UK), the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) requires that MFs and depositories notify nominees within 15 days of the investor's death.

Harsh Roongta, founder of Fee-Only Investment Advisors and a director at the Association of Registered Investment Advisors (ARIA), has hailed this new regulation as transformative and "path-breaking."

There are a number of reasons why it is important for MFs and depositories to proactively approach nominees. It can help to reduce the risk of fraud, as it is more difficult for fraudsters to impersonate nominees if the MFs and depositories are already in contact with them.
In addition to the regulatory requirements, some MFs and depositories have also implemented their own policies to proactively approach nominees. For example, some MFs and depositories use technology to track investor deaths and automatically notify nominees. Others have dedicated teams of staff who are responsible for contacting nominees.


SEBI's new rule marks a significant step towards streamlining the transmission of assets in the event of an investor's death. By mandating prompt communication with nominees and enhancing transparency, this initiative aims to ensure that beneficiaries have timely access to their rightful assets while navigating a difficult emotional period. The onus now lies on mutual funds and depositories to implement the necessary changes and ensure the smooth implementation of this new regulatory measure.