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PAN source code for investor identities
January, 19th 2007

Whats in a number? For all those who have difficulty in remembering multiple numbers resulting from various identification codes, theres lot. The finmin is now here to their rescue.

The ministry has written to all regulators and associations in the financial sector to go for codes based on permanent account numbers (PAN). Thus, your depository participant code or mutual fund identification number (MIN) could become PAN-based if the proposal goes through.

The proposal comes close on the heels of Association of Mutual Funds of India (Amfi) move to issue a unique identification number to investors putting in more than Rs 50,000 in a mutual fund. Amfi move to implement MIN from January 1 has not gone down well with the industry.

Officials said the ministry was of the view that PAN should be the mother of all unique identification numbers. The ministry has already written to Sebi and Amfi to either use PAN as the suffix or prefix, they said, adding that the proposal would be discussed with them in depth before it is rolled out. In fact, they said, the association would talk to the participants for feedback and give their inputs to the ministry.

At present, unique identification numbers are issued by banks, depository participants and Sebi. Since most of the identification numbers have PAN card as a pre-requisite, sources said there should not a problem in the code reflecting it. Even MIN has PAN as one of the requisites.

Value Research CEO Dhirendra Kumar has questioned the logic behind MIN. What is the logic behind MIN? You need a PAN to get it, you need a proof of residence which is already there in your PAN, and PAN is a photo card. So, why should a photo be given? There is no rationale behind the move, he said.

He pointed out that PAN had to be quoted at all places where the transaction value was above Rs 50,000, and the finance ministry could get data on investors from any fund under know-your-customer provision. A mutual fund is supposed to simplify the life of the investor and not complicate it. The MIN is only increasing an investors headache, it is felt.

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