ARN Code: Application Reference Number in Mutual Funds

5 mins read
by Angel One
This guide explains the ARN code for mutual funds, highlighting its role in ensuring trusted, transparent investor interactions.

In the labyrinth of mutual fund investments, there exists a critical identifier that stands as a pillar of trust and transparency: the  Application Reference Number (ARN code). As investors navigate through the myriad of options, understanding the significance of this code becomes paramount. In this comprehensive guide, we unravel the layers of ARN, shedding light on its essence, necessity, procurement process, and the benefits it bestows upon both intermediaries and investors.

What is ARN Code?

ARN, an acronym for Application Reference Number, serves as a unique identifier assigned to qualified mutual fund distributors or experts. It acts as a beacon in the financial landscape, distinguishing authorised intermediaries engaged in trading various schemes. Essentially, it is a marker that identifies the intermediaries who facilitate transactions between mutual fund companies and investors, ensuring that these transactions are conducted by certified and reliable entities.

How to Get ARN Code?

Obtaining an ARN code entails a structured process overseen by regulatory authorities. Here’s a step-by-step breakdown of the process:

1. Certification from NISM: The first step for intermediaries seeking ARN accreditation is to obtain certification from the National Institute of Securities Markets (NISM). The NISM certification ensures that the intermediary has the requisite knowledge and skills to operate in the mutual fund industry.

2. Registration with AMFI:After obtaining the NISM certification, the intermediary must register with the Association of Mutual Funds in India (AMFI). This involves filling out an application form and submitting it along with the necessary documents.

3. Submission of Documents:The application process, facilitated by M/s Computer Age Management Services Pvt. Ltd. (CAMS), involves submission of requisite documents, including:

  • NISM certification
  • Proof of identity (Aadhaar card, passport, voter ID)
  • Proof of address (utility bill, bank statement, Aadhaar card)
  • Recent passport-sized photographs

4. Payment of Fees: There is a nominal fee associated with the registration process. This fee must be paid online or through a demand draft in favour of the AMFI.

5. Verification and Issuance: The submitted documents and application are thoroughly vetted by the regulatory authorities to ensure authenticity and compliance with regulatory norms. Once verified, the ARN code is issued to the intermediary.

Benefits of ARN Code

In the realm of mutual fund investments, where the mantra “subject to market risk” echoes, diligent risk mitigation becomes imperative. Intermediaries play a pivotal role in informing and educating investors about potential risks, safeguarding the interests of all parties involved. The significance of ARN transcends mere identification; it serves as a cornerstone for mutual fund transactions, offering a myriad of benefits:

  1. Enhancing Investor Trust and Confidence: The ARN code plays a pivotal role in enhancing investor trust and confidence. By ensuring that only certified and credible intermediaries handle mutual fund transactions, it mitigates the risk of fraud and mismanagement. Investors can be assured that their investments are managed by professionals who are bound by regulatory standards and ethical guidelines.
  2. Facilitating Regulatory Oversight: For regulatory bodies like SEBI and AMFI, the ARN code facilitates effective oversight and monitoring of mutual fund transactions. It enables these bodies to track and audit the activities of intermediaries, ensuring compliance with regulatory norms and protecting the interests of investors. This regulatory oversight is crucial in maintaining the integrity of the mutual fund industry and preventing malpractices.
  3. Streamlining Transaction Processes: The ARN code streamlines mutual fund transaction processes by providing a standardised and recognizable identifier for intermediaries. This standardisation simplifies the administrative processes involved in mutual fund transactions, making it easier for both investors and mutual fund companies to manage and track their investments. It also reduces the likelihood of errors and discrepancies in transaction records.
  4. Promoting Ethical Conduct and Professionalism: The requirement for an ARN code promotes ethical conduct and professionalism among intermediaries. By ensuring that only certified and qualified individuals are authorised to operate in the mutual fund industry, it raises the standards of professionalism and ethical behaviour. This, in turn, enhances the overall quality and credibility of the mutual fund industry, benefiting both investors and the financial market as a whole.
  5. Facilitating Market Growth and Development: The introduction and enforcement of the ARN code have contributed to the growth and development of the mutual fund market in India. By enhancing transparency, accountability, and investor protection, it has attracted more investors to the mutual fund market. This increased investor participation has, in turn, fueled the growth of the mutual fund industry, contributing to the overall development of the financial market.

Common Challenges and Solutions

Despite the benefits, obtaining and maintaining an ARN code comes with its challenges. Here are some common challenges and their solutions:

  1. Documentation Issues: Incomplete or incorrect documentation can delay the issuance of the ARN code. Solution: Ensure that all required documents are accurate, complete, and up-to-date before submission.
  2. Certification Challenges: Some intermediaries may find it challenging to obtain NISM certification. Solution: Comprehensive preparation and study of NISM materials, along with enrolling in preparatory courses, can help in clearing the certification exam.
  3. Regulatory Changes: Frequent changes in regulatory requirements can pose challenges. Solution: Stay informed about the latest regulatory updates and ensure compliance with all new requirements.
  4. Maintenance of Compliance: Maintaining compliance with ongoing regulatory norms can be demanding. Solution: Regular training and updates on regulatory requirements can help intermediaries stay compliant.


As investors traverse the complex terrain of financial markets, understanding the essence of ARN equips them with the knowledge to navigate confidently, ensuring a seamless and rewarding investment experience.

The ARN code is not just a regulatory requirement; it is a cornerstone of the mutual fund industry that enhances trust, transparency, and professionalism. For intermediaries, it is a badge of credibility and commitment to ethical conduct. For investors, it is a symbol of protection and assurance.  As the mutual fund industry continues to evolve, the ARN code will remain a critical element in maintaining its integrity and fostering its growth. 


How can one obtain an ARN code?

To obtain an ARN code, one must complete the NISM certification, register with AMFI, submit necessary documents, and pay the required fees. The process is facilitated by CAMS.

Who needs an ARN code?

Mutual fund distributors, brokers, agents, and advisors who sell or recommend mutual fund products in India need an ARN code.

What is the validity period of an ARN code?

An ARN code is typically valid for three years, after which it needs to be renewed by completing continuing professional education (CPE) and paying renewal fees.

Can an investor verify a distributor’s ARN code?

Yes, investors can verify a distributor’s ARN code on the AMFI website to ensure they are dealing with a certified and registered professional.

What happens if an ARN code expires?

If an ARN code expires, the distributor must cease all mutual fund-related activities until the code is renewed. They must complete the CPE requirements and pay renewal fees.

Are there any fees associated with obtaining or renewing an ARN code?

Yes, there are fees for both obtaining and renewing an ARN code, which can be paid online or via demand draft to AMFI.

Can an ARN code be transferred or assigned to another person?

No, the ARN code is non-transferable and is specific to the individual or entity that obtained it.