If the JM Mutual Fund (JMMF) schemes have long been at the bottom of the performance tables, it is for several good reasons. Frequent changes in fund managers, managing with inexperienced fund managers or even without them, as well as dubious stock picks afflict their performance. An insider says that the JM Core 11 Scheme, which collected Rs679 crore in February 2008, paid out a hefty Rs12.03 crore as commission to a group company called JM Financial Services Pvt Limited which acted as an ‘arranger’. Vishal Kampani, a director of JMMF, insists that this is not out of line with industry standards where significantly large sums are paid out as commission and brokerage by all mutual funds. In fact, he says that JMMF’s outgo, even if it is to privately held group entities, is significantly lower than the industry norm. The Scheme’s performance has been terrible. JM Core 11 Scheme has lost 41% since inception. According to Vishal Kampani, things have improved over the past few months after the exit of a high-profile fund manager, Sandip Sabarwal. Indeed, the Scheme paid a big price for Mr Sabarwal’s speculative stock picks that destroyed investment value. A few months before he quit, Mr Sabarwal had proudly cited Country Club as one of his best stock-picks. Readers of Moneylife have read about the reputation of this company. Is it any wonder, then, that Mr Sabarwal lasted for less than two years at JMMF? When will SEBI crack down on such fund practices?