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Tuesday, June 16, 2009


India Index Services and Products (IISL), the NSE subsidiary which manages benchmark indices such as NIFTY came to know about difficulties to manage RIL weightage in index by fund managers. RIL is the largest market capitalization and with the highest weightage in Sensex & Nifty at 17.7% & 13.3% respectively.
The stock has being biggest contributor to the recent rally accounting to 861 pnts of the 3859 point Sensex up move. Fund managers both local & foreign, are taking a big hit in their portfolios for being significantly underweight on the counter, most of them are forced underweight by 500 bps. As per the SEBI rules local fund managers cannot bet more than 10% of their portfolio on a single stock. Foreign fund managers are bounded by mandates from their investor to stick to similar limits. Thus an average fund manager has lost nearly 2% returns on the underweight on just this stock. RIL’s size has begun to create problems for fund managers and is bound to increase. NSE is making the Nifty a free-float index which will add to its weight and also with completion of RPL merger will add up to 2% weightage. And it is possible that this bluechip giant may end up with a weight of 20%-plus on indices if it uses up its surplus cash for acquisitions. And suppose it does, India will have KOREA like situation where SAMSUNG INDUSTRIES accounts for a fifth or 20%-plus of the market. The most impact is that fund manager’s performance is benchmarked with Nifty and they cannot give more than 9.9% weightage to any stock, they have the risk of underperformance, and also none of the fund managers can take sells call, even if they have negative view on the stock because they are already underweight. A free market call on Reliance Industries is not possible and thus gives RIL a premium valuation.
In the recent rally, the stock outperformed the Sensex by huge margin. While the Sensex rose 47% between March 09 and May 13, the bluechip rose to 68%. This in turn, has taken its weightage up substantially on Nifty from 11% to 13.3% & on Sensex from 15.5% to 17.7%. In such situation, it depends on which way the index moves. If index is going up, then there is disadvantage. But when it fall the fund managers outperform because of under weight.
The only option is either to change the rules of 10% or follow MSCI and apply the 10/40 rule. This 10/40 methodology was introduced by MSCI indices in 2002. Accordingly the maximum weight of securities of a single issuer cannot exceed 10% of market value of the index, and the sum of the weights of all issuers representing more than 5% of the market value of the index cannot collectively exceed 40%.

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