Banking funds shine in strong 2012 for equities

Mumbai: Funds focused on banks were the top performers in India in 2012, according to data from fund tracker Lipper, a Thomson Reuters company, after the banking sub-index surged nearly 57 per cent last year. Indian shares ended 2012 with their best gain in three years as strong foreign inflows and the government's fiscal and economic reforms outweighed worries about the domestic economy. ICICI Prudential Banking & Finance Services Fund was the best performing fund in 2012, registering gains of 72.2 per cent, followed by Reliance Banking Fund which clocked a rise of 60.5 per cent.

General insurance industry may grow 20% annually

Mumbai: The Indian general insurance industry is likely to grow by around 20 per cent per annum in the coming years because of increasing penetration, a top official of New India Assurance said. "Despite slowdown in economy, the general insurance industry has grown by around 20 per cent in the recent past. We hope the industry will see similar growth in the coming years," Chairman and Managing Director of New India Assurance G Srinivasan said.

PNB buys 30% stake in Metlife, company to be re-branded

new delhi: Punjab National Bank has received all regulatory approvals for acquiring 30 per cent stake in Metlife India Insurance. Following this, the private sector life insurer would be re-branded as PNB Metlife India Ltd. In a filing on BSE, PNB said, the bank has received all regulatory approvals, including CCl's, for acquiring 30 per cent stake in Metlife India Insurance. Both PNB and MetLife India had approached the fair trade regulator Competition Commission of India (CCI) for approval on December 7, 2012.

Unions pitch for hiking I-T exemption limit to R5 lakh per annum

new delhi: Trade unions have demanded 12 per cent interest on PF contributions of employees and a hike in income tax exemption limit to Rs 5 lakh in their pre-budget meeting with Finance Minister P Chidambaram. The unions have also asked the government not to raise FDI cap in financial sectors like insurance and banking.

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