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Moneycontrol

You are Here : Mutual Fund FAQs

Q. Are investments in mutual fund units risk-free or safe?

A. This depends on the underlying instrument that a mutual fund invests in, based on its investment objectives. Mutual funds that invest in stock market-related instruments cannot be termed risk-free or safe as investment in shares are inherently risky by nature, whereas funds that invest in fixed-income instruments are relatively safe and those that invest only in government securities are the safest.

Q. Are investments in mutual funds liquid?

A. Yes. Investors of open-ended schemes can redeem their units on any business day and receive the current market value on their investments within a short time period (normally three- to five-days). Investors of close-ended schemes can redeem their units only on maturity but can sell it in the secondary market like stocks

Q. As a unitholder, how much time will it take to receive dividends/repurchase proceeds?

A. A mutual fund is required to despatch to the unitholders the dividend warrants within 30 days of the declaration of the dividend and the redemption or repurchase proceeds within 10 working days from the date of redemption or repurchase request made by the unitholder.

In case of failures to despatch the redemption/repurchase proceeds within the stipulated time period, Asset Management Company is liable to pay interest as specified by SEBI from time to time (15% at present).

Q. Can a mutual fund change the asset allocation while deploying funds of investors?

A. Considering the market trends, any prudent fund managers can change the asset allocation i.e. he can invest higher or lower percentage of the fund in equity or debt instruments compared to what is disclosed in the offer document. It can be done on a short term basis on defensive considerations i.e. to protect the NAV. Hence the fund managers are allowed certain flexibility in altering the asset allocation considering the interest of the investors. In case the mutual fund wants to change the asset allocation on a permanent basis, they are required to inform the unitholders and giving them option to exit the scheme at prevailing NAV without any load.

Q. Can a mutual fund change the nature of the scheme from the one specified in the offer document?

A. Yes. However, no change in the nature or terms of the scheme, known as fundamental attributes of the scheme e.g.structure, investment pattern, etc. can be carried out unless a written communication is sent to each unitholder and an advertisement is given in one English daily having nationwide circulation and in a newspaper published in the language of the region where the head office of the mutual fund is situated. The unitholders have the right to exit the scheme at the prevailing NAV without any exit load if they do not want to continue with the scheme. The mutual funds are also required to follow similar procedure while converting the scheme form close-ended to open-ended scheme and in case of change in sponsor.

Q. Can a mutual fund impose fresh load or increase the load beyond the level mentioned in the offer documents?

A. Mutual funds cannot increase the load beyond the level mentioned in the offer document. Any change in the load will be applicable only to prospective investments and not to the original investments. In case of imposition of fresh loads or increase in existing loads, the mutual funds are required to amend their offer documents so that the new investors are aware of loads at the time of investments.

Q. Can an investor appoint a nominee for his investment in units of a mutual fund?

A. Yes. The nomination can be made by individuals applying for / holding units on their own behalf singly or jointly. Non-individuals including society, trust, body corporate, partnership firm, Karta of Hindu Undivided Family, holder of Power of Attorney cannot nominate.

Q. Can non-resident Indians (NRIs) invest in mutual funds?

A. Yes, non-resident Indians can also invest in mutual funds. Necessary details in this respect are given in the offer documents of the schemes.

Q. Do any mutual funds invest in both stocks and bonds?

A. Yes, balanced funds invest in a combination of stocks and bonds, a typical mix is 60:40 in favour of stocks. Returns from balanced funds are normally lower than pure equity mutual funds when markets are rising, however if the market declines, the losses are also normally lower. Balanced funds are best suited for investors who do not plan their asset allocation and yet want to invest in equities. Buying separate equity and income funds for your portfolio also achieves the same results as buying a balanced fund. The advantage with the former option is that you can choose your own split (between stocks and bonds i.e fixed income) rather than let the fund manager decide the same.

Q. Do mutual funds offer a periodic investment plan?

A. Most private sector funds provide you the convenience of periodic purchase plans (through a Systematic Investment Plan), automatic withdrawal plans and the automatic reinvestment of dividends. You would basically need to give post-dated cheques (monthly or quarterly, periodic date of the cheque is fixed by the Asset Management Company). Most funds allow a monthly investment of as little as Rs500 with a provision of giving 4-6 post-dated cheques and follow up later with more. Regular monthly investments are a good way to build a long-term portfolio and add discipline to your investment process.

Q. How are mutual funds regulated?

A. All Asset Management Companies (AMCs) are regulated by SEBI and/or the RBI (in case the AMC is promoted by a bank). In addition, every mutual fund has a board of directors that represents the unit holders interests in the mutual fund.

Q. How can the investors redress their complaints?

A. Investors would find the name of contact person in the offer document of the mutual fund scheme whom they may approach in case of any query, complaints or grievances. Trustees of a mutual fund monitor the activities of the mutual fund. The names of the directors of asset management company and trustees are also given in the offer documents. Investors should approach the concerned Mutual Fund / Investor Service Centre of the Mutual Fund with their complaints,

If the complaints remain unresolved, the investors may approach SEBI for facilitating redressal of their complaints. On receipt of complaints, SEBI takes up the matter with the concerned mutual fund and follows up with it regularly. Investors may send their complaints to:

Securities and Exchange Board of India,
Office of Investor Assistance and Education (OIAE)

Plot No.C4-A , “G” Block, 1st Floor,
Bandra-Kurla Complex,
Bandra (E), Mumbai – 400 051.
Phone: 26449199-88-77

Q. How do I invest with a limited amount?

A. Regular investing is a very good way to build up an investment portfolio (read Dollar Cost Averaging to understand why) and this can be done with any amount of money. First, plan out how your investments should be spread out i.e. how much should be invested in equity shares and how much in fixed-income (bonds/ debentures) instruments. This should be based on your risk profile i.e. what your risk taking capacity is (how much risk can you take financially) and what your attitude towards risk is.

Unless you rate high on aptitude, temperament and knowledge related to investing in shares, equity mutual funds offer a better alternative to investing directly in shares. Income mutual funds also offer a good alternative to fixed-income investment. For regular investment, most mutual fund schemes have a Systematic Investment Plan - this can be either monthly or quarterly installments. Typically, the minimum installment amount is around Rs500 and while choosing this plan, you will need to give around three- to four-post dated cheques at the time of investment

Q. How do you evaluate mutual funds performance?

A. Although past performance is no guarantee for the future, it is a useful way of assessing how well or badly a fund has performed in comparison to its stated objectives and peer group. A good way to do this would be to identify the five best performing funds (within your selected investment objectives) over various periods, say 3 months, 6 months, one year, two years and three years. Shortlist funds that appear in the top 5 in each of these time horizons as they would have thus demonstrated their ability to be not only good but also, consistent performers. To get help through this process, you can use our Find-A-Fund query module

Q. How do you select a mutual fund scheme?

A. What's strategy got to do with selecting a mutual fund? Shouldn't you just go and invest in the best performing fund? The answer is no. Mutual fund investing requires as much strategic input as any other investment option. But the advantage is that the strategy here is a natural extension of your asset allocation plan (use our Asset Allocator to understand what your optimum asset allocation plan should be, based on your personal risk profile). Moneycontrol recommends the following process:

Identify funds whose investment objectives match your asset allocation needs
Just as you would buy a computer that fits your needs and budget, you should choose a mutual fund that meets your risk tolerance (need) and your risk capacity (budget) levels (i.e. has similar investment objectives as your own). Typical investment objectives of mutual funds include fixed income or equity, general equity or sector-focused, high risk or low risk, blue-chips or turnarounds, long-term or short-term liquidity focus. You can use Moneycontrol?s Find-A-Fund query module to find funds whose investment objectives match yours.
Evaluate past performance, look for consistency
Although past performance is no guarantee of future performance, it is a useful way of assessing how well or badly a fund has performed in comparison to its stated objectives and peer group. A good way to do this would be to identify the five best performing funds (within your selected investment objectives) over various periods, say 3 months, 6 months, one year, two years and three years. Shortlist funds that appear in the top 5 in each of these time horizons as they would have thus demonstrated their ability to be not only good but also, consistent performers. You can engage in such research through Moneycontrol?s Find-A-Fund query module. Or, to get such a list, use our Best Picks reports which use this methodology as its predominant basis.

Q. How is a mutual fund set up?

A. A mutual fund is set up in the form of a trust, which has sponsor, trustees, asset management company (AMC) and custodian. The trust is established by a sponsor or more than one sponsor who is like promoter of a company. The trustees of the mutual fund hold its property for the benefit of the unitholders. Asset Management Company (AMC) approved by SEBI manages the funds by making investments in various types of securities. Custodian, who is registered with SEBI, holds the securities of various schemes of the fund in its custody. The trustees are vested with the general power of superintendence and direction over AMC. They monitor the performance and compliance of SEBI Regulations by the mutual fund.

SEBI Regulations require that at least two thirds of the directors of trustee company or board of trustees must be independent i.e. they should not be associated with the sponsors. Also, 50% of the directors of AMC must be independent. All mutual funds are required to be registered with SEBI before they launch any scheme.

Q. How is NAV calculated?

A. The value of all the securities in mutual funds portfolio is calculated daily. From this, all expenses are deducted and the resultant value divided by the number of units in the fund is the funds NAV or its Net Asset Value.

Q. How long will it take for transfer of units after purchase from stock markets in case of close-ended schemes?

A. According to SEBI Regulations, transfer of units is required to be done within thirty days from the date of lodgment of certificates with the mutual fund.

Q. How many funds or stocks should you diversify your portfolio over?

A. To get the maximum benefit of reducing your risk through diversification spread your portfolio across different assets whose returns are not 100% correlated. Different assets should ideally span across different asset classes such as fixed income, equity, real estate, gold as well as different investment options within these asset classes e.g. within equity shares, your exposure should be to companies in different sectors; or within fixed income investments, partly government risk and partly corporate risk.

As a thumb rule, diversify your investments across 15-20 different portfolio holdings if you are directly investing in stocks or bonds. If you are investing through mutual funds, then three MF schemes for stocks and three schemes for bonds should provide you adequate diversification.

Q. How significant are fund costs while choosing a scheme?

A. The cost of investing through a mutual fund is not insignificant and deserves due consideration, especially when it comes to fixed income funds. Management fees, annual expenses of the fund and sales loads can take away a significant portion of your returns. As a general rule, 1% towards management fees and 0.6% towards other annual expenses should be acceptable. Carefully examine the fee a fund charges for getting in and out of the fund. Again, you can query on entry and exit loads under our Find-A-Fund query module or get a pre-defined shortlist of funds on the load specification structure through the Mutual Fund Directory section.

Q. How to diversify?

A. Don't just zero in on one mutual fund (to avoid the risk of being overly dependent on any one fund). Pick two, preferably three mutual funds that would match your investment objective in each asset allocation category and spread your investment. We recommend a 60:40 split if you have shortlisted 2 funds and a 50:30:20 split if you have shortlisted 3 funds for investment.

Q. How to fill up the application form of a mutual fund scheme?

A. An investor must mention clearly his name, address, number of units applied for and such other information as required in the application form. He must give his bank account number so as to avoid any fraudulent encashment of any cheque/draft issued by the mutual fund at a later date for the purpose of dividend or repurchase. Any changes in the address, bank account number, etc at a later date should be informed to the mutual fund immediately.

Q. How to identify funds whose investment objectives match your asset allocation needs?

A. Just as you would buy a computer that fits your needs and budget, you should choose a mutual fund that meets your risk tolerance (need) and your risk capacity (budget) levels (i.e. has similar investment objectives as your own). Typical investment objectives of mutual funds include fixed income or equity, general equity or sector-focused, high risk or low risk, blue-chips or turnarounds, long-term or short-term liquidity focus. You can use moneycontrol’s Find-A-Fund query module to find funds whose investment objectives match yours.

Q. How to invest in a scheme of a mutual fund?

A. Mutual funds normally come out with an advertisement in newspapers publishing the date of launch of the new schemes. Investors can also contact the agents and distributors of mutual funds who are spread all over the country for necessary information and application forms. Forms can be deposited with mutual funds through the agents and distributors who provide such services. Now a days, the post offices and banks also distribute the units of mutual funds. However, the investors may please note that the mutual funds schemes being marketed by banks and post offices should not be taken as their own schemes and no assurance of returns is given by them. The only role of banks and post offices is to help in distribution of mutual funds schemes to the investors.

Investors should not be carried away by commission/gifts given by agents/distributors for investing in a particular scheme. On the other hand they must consider the track record of the mutual fund and should take objective decisions.

Q. How to select a mutual fund?

A. What's strategy got to do with selecting a mutual fund? Shouldn't you just go and invest in the best performing fund? The answer is no. Mutual fund investing requires as much strategic input as any other investment option. But the advantage is that the strategy here is a natural extension of your asset allocation plan (use our Asset Allocator to understand what your optimum asset allocation plan should be, based on your personal risk profile). moneycontrol recommends the following process:

Q. How will an investor come to know about the changes, if any, which may occur in the mutual fund?

A. There may be changes from time to time in a mutual fund. The mutual funds are required to inform any material changes to their unitholders. Apart from it, many mutual funds send quarterly newsletters to their investors.

At present, offer documents are required to be revised and updated at least once in two years. In the meantime, new investors are informed about the material changes by way of addendum to the offer document till the time offer document is revised and reprinted.

Q. I am holding Fund ABC. Its NAV is down. Please let me know if I should hold this fund or redeem it?

A. Your decision to sell the fund should not be based on market volatilities.

As you know, the day-to-day market behavior is not rational. Therefore, buying and selling with market fluctuations will usually lead to impulsive and irrational decisions, which will never make you money. You will tend to buy and sell at the wrong times leading to more losses than gains.

Instead, there are other criteria, which you should consider to know whether it is time to sell your fund or not. These generally include the following:

a) If you need money then of course there is no choice but to sell
b) If the fund is not performing as well as its peers/benchmark
c) If you are not confident of the future prospects of the economy
d) If you have to rebalance your portfolio
e) If there is a change in taxation policy
f) If the fund characteristics/manager has changed

Q. Ideally how many different schemes should one invest in?

A. Don't just zero in on one mutual fund (to avoid the risk of being overly dependent on any one fund). Pick two, preferably three mutual funds that would match you investment objective in each asset allocation category and spread your investment. We recommend a 60:40 split if you have shortlisted 2 funds and a 40:30:30 split if you have short-listed 3 funds for investment.

Q. If mutual fund scheme is wound up, what happens to money invested?

A. In case of winding up of a scheme, the mutual funds pay a sum based on prevailing NAV after adjustment of expenses. Unitholders are entitled to receive a report on winding up from the mutual funds which gives all necessary details.

Q. If schemes in the same category of different mutual funds are available, should one choose a scheme with lower NAV?

A. Some of the investors have the tendency to prefer a scheme that is available at lower NAV compared to the one available at higher NAV. Sometimes, they prefer a new scheme which is issuing units at Rs. 10 whereas the existing schemes in the same category are available at much higher NAVs. Investors may please note that in case of mutual funds schemes, lower or higher NAVs of similar type schemes of different mutual funds have no relevance. On the other hand, investors should choose a scheme based on its merit considering performance track record of the mutual fund, service standards, professional management, etc. This is explained in an example given below.

Suppose scheme A is available at a NAV of Rs.15 and another scheme B at Rs.90. Both schemes are diversified equity oriented schemes. Investor has put Rs. 9,000 in each of the two schemes. He would get 600 units (9000/15) in scheme A and 100 units (9000/90) in scheme B. Assuming that the markets go up by 10 per cent and both the schemes perform equally good and it is reflected in their NAVs. NAV of scheme A would go up to Rs. 16.50 and that of scheme B to Rs. 99. Thus, the market value of investments would be Rs. 9,900 (600* 16.50) in scheme A and it would be the same amount of Rs. 9900 in scheme B (100*99). The investor would get the same return of 10% on his investment in each of the schemes. Thus, lower or higher NAV of the schemes and allotment of higher or lower number of units within the amount an investor is willing to invest, should not be the factors for making investment decision. Likewise, if a new equity oriented scheme is being offered at Rs.10 and an existing scheme is available for Rs. 90, should not be a factor for decision making by the investor. Similar is the case with income or debt-oriented schemes.

On the other hand, it is likely that the better managed scheme with higher NAV may give higher returns compared to a scheme which is available at lower NAV but is not managed efficiently. Similar is the case of fall in NAVs. Efficiently managed scheme at higher NAV may not fall as much as inefficiently managed scheme with lower NAV. Therefore, the investor should give more weightage to the professional management of a scheme instead of lower NAV of any scheme. He may get much higher number of units at lower NAV, but the scheme may not give higher returns if it is not managed efficiently.

Q. Is it good to buy a fund just before it goes ex-dividend?

A. When a fund goes ex-dividend, the unit holders ( as of the ex-dividend date ) are paid out a dividend and the NAV of the fund declines by the amount of dividend per unit paid out. For an investor ( who has bought the fund prior to the ex-dividend date ), this results in an income that is tax-free in the hands of the investor and a capital loss ( as the ex-dividend NAV will be lower than the cum-dividend NAV at which the investor made his investment ) . For e.g., if a funds NAV is Rs11 and it pays out Rs1 as dividend, its ex-dividend NAV will be Rs10. In this case, the investor has a dividend ( tax-free ) income of Re1 and a capital loss of Re1 ( Rs11-Rs10 ) . If the investor has made a corresponding capital gain, then it is tax-beneficial to purchase the units of mutual fund just before it goes ex-dividend, take the dividend and then sell the units ( at the ex-dividend rate ) and book the capital loss. If there were no tax benefits, from a pure returns perspective, there would not be any difference in buying a fund cum- or ex-dividend.

Q. Kindly suggest if arbitrage funds are ok for earning high returns with low risk.

A. Don’t be under the wrong impression that arbitrage funds are equity funds, which will give you high returns and also protect your downside.

Arbitrage funds are a unique fund in the sense that:
As far as the risk profile and returns are concerned, they are like a debt fund i.e. low risk and low returns
However, as far as the tax laws are concerned they are treated on par with equity funds and as such the long term capital gains tax is nil (however note that a few arbitrage funds have a debt structure and will be taxed as debt funds).

Therefore, with arbitrage funds you can expect 6-9% p.a. returns like any debt fund. But the advantage is that here the tax could be less, thus improving your post-tax returns.

However, a small drawback with these funds is the redemption — it is not possible redeem them as and when you want, but only on the last Thursday of the month.

Q. Mutual funds provide risk diversification?

A. Diversification of a portfolio is amongst the primary tenets of portfolio structuring (see The Need to Diversify). And a necessary one to reduce the level of risk assumed by the portfolio holder. Most of us are not necessarily well qualified to apply the theories of portfolio structuring to our holdings and hence would be better off leaving that to a professional. Mutual funds represent one such option.

Q. Should I opt for SIP or bulk investment?

A. Equity markets are highly volatile. The shares prices vary considerably on day-to-day basis. In such a scenario, if you put a lump sum amount of money, you could either gain a lot or lose a lot. It would then become a kind of a lottery.

Instead, if you invested small amounts regularly, you will average out your total cost of acquisition. Thus, by doing Systematic Investment Planning (SIP) you will cut down the volatility risk and increase your chances of making money.

Debt markets, on the other hand, are relatively quite stable. If you put your money today or tomorrow or next month, it is not going to make much difference. As such, even if you were to put your lump sum in a debt fund, you are not likely to lose.

Therefore, the answer is simple:
• If it is a share or an equity fund, do SIP
• If it is a bank FD, NSC or debt MF, both SIP and lump sum are alright

Q. Should you evaluate past performance, and look for consistency?

A. Although past performance is no guarantee for the future, it is a useful way of assessing how well or badly a fund has performed in comparison to its stated objectives and peer group. A good way to do this would be to identify the five best performing funds (within your selected investment objectives) over various periods, say 3 months, 6 months, one year, two years and three years. Shortlist funds that appear in the top 5 in each of these time horizons as they would have thus demonstrated their ability to be not only good but also, consistent performers. You can engage in such research through moneycontrol's Find-A-Fund query module.

Q. What are Balanced Schemes?

A. Balanced Schemes aim to provide both growth and income by periodically distributing a part of the income and capital gains they earn. These schemes invest in both shares and fixed income securities, in the proportion indicated in their offer documents (normally 50:50).

Q. What are close-ended mutual fund schemes?

A. Close-ended mutual fund Schemes have a stipulated maturity period wherein the investor can invest directly in the scheme at the time of the initial issue and thereafter units of the scheme can be bought or sold on the stock exchanges where the scheme is listed. The market price at the stock exchange could vary from the schemes NAV on account of demand and supply situation, unit holders expectations and other market factors. Usually a characteristic of close-ended schemes is that they are generally traded at a discount to NAV; but closer to maturity, the discount narrows.

Q. What are Gilt Funds?

A. These funds invest exclusively in government securities. Government securities have no default risk. NAVs of these schemes also fluctuate due to change in interest rates and other economic factors as is the case with income or debt oriented schemes.

Q. What are Growth Schemes?

A. Growth Schemes are also known as equity schemes. The aim of these schemes is to provide capital appreciation over medium to long term. These schemes normally invest a major part of their fund in equities and are willing to bear short-term decline in value for possible future appreciation.

Q. What are Income Schemes?

A. Income Schemes are also known as debt schemes. The aim of these schemes is to provide regular and steady income to investors. These schemes generally invest in fixed income securities such as bonds and corporate debentures. Capital appreciation in such schemes may be limited.

Q. What are Index Funds?

A. Index schemes attempt to replicate the performance of a particular index such as the BSE Sensex or the NSE 50. The portfolio of these schemes will consist of only those stocks that constitute the index. The percentage of each stock to the total holding will be identical to the stocks index weightage. And hence, the returns from such schemes would be more or less equivalent to those of the Index.

Q. What are Interval Schemes?

A. Interval Schemes are those that combine the features of open-ended and close-ended schemes. The units may be traded on the stock exchange or may be open for sale or redemption during pre-determined intervals at NAV related prices.

Q. What are Money Market Schemes?

A. Money Market Schemes aim to provide easy liquidity, preservation of capital and moderate income. These schemes generally invest in safer, short-term instruments, such as treasury bills, certificates of deposit, commercial paper and inter-bank call money

Q. What are Offshore Funds?

A. Offshore funds specialise in investing in foreign companies or corporations. These funds have non-residential investors and are regulated by the provisions of the foreign countries where these are registered. These funds are regulated by RBI directives

Q. What are open-ended mutual fund schemes?

A. Open ended schemes usually do not have a fixed maturity period and are available for subscription and redemption on an ongoing basis. The units can be bought and sold any time during the life of the scheme at NAV related prices.

Q. What are sector specific funds/schemes?

A. These are the funds/schemes which invest in the securities of only those sectors or industries as specified in the offer documents. e.g. Pharmaceuticals, Software, Fast Moving Consumer Goods (FMCG), Petroleum stocks, etc. The returns in these funds are dependent on the performance of the respective sectors/industries. While these funds may give higher returns, they are more risky compared to diversified funds. Investors need to keep a watch on the performance of those sectors/industries and must exit at an appropriate time. They may also seek advice of an expert.

Q. What are Tax-Saving Schemes?

A. Tax-saving schemes offer tax rebates to the investors under tax laws prescribed from time to time. Under Sec.88 of the Income Tax Act, contributions made to any Equity Linked Savings Scheme (ELSS) are eligible for rebate @20% for a maximum investment on Rs10,000 per financial year.

Q. What are the different types of Mutual Funds?

A. Mutual Funds are classified by structure in to:

Open - Ended Schemes
Close-Ended Schemes
Interval Schemes
and by objective in to

Equity (Growth) Schemes
Income Schemes
Money Market Schemes
Tax Saving Schemes
Balanced Schemes
Offshore funds
Special Schemes like index schemes etc

Q. What are the time-tested investment strategies that work?

A. Start investing as early as possible - the power of compounding is the single most important reason for you to start investing right now as even a relatively small amount invested early will grow over the course of your working life into a substantial nest egg. Remember, every day that your money is invested, is a day that your money is working for you.
Buy stocks or equity mutual funds and hold long-term historically, world over, and even in India, stocks have outperformed every other asset class over the long run.
Invest regularly use the Dollar Cost Averaging approach this will help you to adopt a disciplined approach to investing and works equally well for both buying and selling decisions. Importantly, it increases your potential gains when acting against the market trend, reduces risk when you are playing the market trend and relieves you from the pressures of forecasting tops and bottoms. Dollar Cost Averaging can effectively convert a regular savings plan into a regular investing approach.
And, Diversify your investment - by diversifying across assets, you can reduce your risk without necessarily having to reduce your returns. To get the maximum benefit of reducing your risk through diversification spread your portfolio across different assets whose returns are not 100% correlated.

Q. What if a fund changes its strategy.

A. A fund that alters its investment objective or approach might no longer fit your strategy.

Q. What if the fund's poor results persist.

A. If a fund regularly trails other funds that invest in similar securities, consider replacing it. The poor performance is more often than not a reflection on the relative expertise of the asset management company.

Q. What is a Fund of Funds (FoF) scheme?

A. A scheme that invests primarily in other schemes of the same mutual fund or other mutual funds is known as a FoF scheme. An FoF scheme enables the investors to achieve greater diversification through one scheme. It spreads risks across a greater universe.

Q. What is a Mutual Fund?

A. A Mutual Fund is a vehicle for investing in stocks and bonds. It is not an alternative investment option to stocks and bonds, rather it pools the money of several investors and invests this in stocks, bonds, money market instruments and other types of securities. Buying a mutual fund is like buying a small slice of a big pizza. The owner of a mutual fund unit gets a proportional share of the funds gains, losses, income and expenses

Q. What is a sales or repurchase/redemption price?

A. The price or NAV a unitholder is charged while investing in an open-ended scheme is called sales price. It may include sales load, if applicable.

Repurchase or redemption price is the price or NAV at which an open-ended scheme purchases or redeems its units from the unitholders. It may include exit load, if applicable.

Q. What is an Asset Management Company (AMC)?

A. The company that manages a mutual fund is called an AMC. For all practical purposes, it is an organized form of a money portfolio manager. An AMC may have several mutual fund schemes with similar or varied investment objectives. The AMC hires a professional money manager, who buys and sells securities in line with the fund's stated objective.

Q. What is an entry load and an exit load?

A. Some Asset Management Companies (AMCs) have sales charges, or loads, on their funds (entry load and/or exit load) to compensate for distribution costs. Funds that can be purchased without a sales charge are called no-load funds. Entry load is charged at the time an investor purchases the units of a scheme. The entry load percentage is added to the prevailing NAV at the time of allotment of units. Exit load is charged at the time of redeeming (or transferring an investment between schemes). The exit load percentage is deducted from the NAV at the time of redemption (or transfer between schemes). This amount goes to the Asset Management Company and not into the pool of funds of the scheme.

Q. What is Net Asset Value (NAV)?

A. NAV is the total asset value (net of expenses) per unit of the fund and is calculated by the Asset Management Company (AMC) at the end of every business day. Net asset value on a particular date reflects the realisable value that the investor will get for each unit that he his holding if the scheme is liquidated on that date.

Q. What is Systematic Investment Plan or SIP?

A. SIP works on the principle of regular investments. It is like your recurring deposit where you put in a small amount every month. It allows you to invest in a MF by making smaller periodic investments (monthly or quarterly) in place of a heavy one-time investment i.e. SIP allows you to pay 10 periodic investments of Rs 500 each in place of a one-time investment of Rs 5,000 in an MF. Thus, you can invest in an MF without altering your other financial liabilities. It is imperative to understand the concept of rupee cost averaging and the power of compounding to better appreciate the working of SIPs.

SIP has brought mutual funds within the reach of an average person as it enables even those with tight budgets to invest Rs 500 or Rs 1,000 on a regular basis in place of making a heavy, one-time investment.

While making small investments through SIP may not seem appealing at first, it enables investors to get into the habit of saving. And over the years, it can really add up and give you handsome returns. A monthly SIP of Rs 1000 at the rate of 9% would grow to Rs 6.69 lakh in 10 years, Rs 17.83 lakh in 30 years and Rs 44.20 lakh in 40 years.

Even for the cash-rich, SIPs reduces the chance of investing at the wrong time and losing their sleep over a wrong investment decision. However, the true benefit of an SIP is derived by investing at lower levels. Other benefits include:

1. Discipline
The cardinal rule of building your corpus is to stay focused, invest regularly and maintain discipline in your investing pattern. A few hundreds set aside every month will not affect your monthly disposable income. You will also find it easier to part with a few hundreds every month, rather than set aside a large sum for investing in one shot.

2. Power of compounding
Investment gurus always recommend that one must start investing early in life. One of the main reasons for doing that is the benefit of compounding. Let’s explain this with an example. Person A started investing Rs 10,000 per year at the age of 30. Person B started investing the same amount every year at the age of 35. When they attained the age of 60 respectively, A had built a corpus of Rs 12.23 lakh while person B’s corpus was only Rs 7.89 lakh. For this example, a rate of return of 8% compounded has been assumed. So the difference of Rs 50,000 in amount invested made a difference of more than Rs 4 lakh to their end-corpus. That difference is due to the effect of compounding. The longer the (compounding) period, the higher the returns.

Now, instead of investing Rs 10,000 each year, suppose A invested Rs 50,000 after every five years, starting at the age of 35. The total amount invested, thus remains the same -- Rs 3 lakh. However, when he is 60, his corpus will be Rs 10.43 lakh. Again, he loses the advantage of compounding in the early years.

3. Rupee cost averaging
This is especially true for investments in equities. When you invest the same amount in a fund at regular intervals over time, you buy more units when the price is lower. Thus, you would reduce your average cost per share (or per unit) over time. This strategy is called 'rupee cost averaging'. With a sensible and long-term investment approach, rupee cost averaging can smoothen out the market's ups and downs and reduce the risks of investing in volatile markets.

People who invest through SIPs capture the lows as well as the highs of the market. In an SIP, your average cost of investing comes down since you will go through all phases of the market, bull or bear.

4. Convenience
This is a very convenient way of investing. You have to just submit cheques along with the filled up enrolment form. The mutual fund will deposit the cheques on the requested date and credit the units to one’s account and will send the confirmation for the same.

5. Other advantages
· There are no entry or exit loads on SIP investments.
· Capital gains, wherever applicable, are taxed on a first-in, first-out basis.

Disclaimer: While we have made efforts to ensure the accuracy of our content (consisting of articles and information), neither this website nor the author shall be held responsible for any losses/ incidents suffered by people accessing, using or is supplied with the content.

Q. What is the difference between an open-ended and close-ended scheme?

A. Open-ended schemes can issue and redeem units any time during the life of the scheme while close-ended schemes cannot issue new units except in case of bonus or rights issue. Hence, the number of units of an open-ended scheme can fluctuate on a daily basis while that is not the case for close-ended schemes. Another way of explaining this difference is that new investors can join the scheme by directly applying to the mutual fund at applicable net asset value related prices in case of open-ended schemes while that is not the case in case of close-ended schemes, where new investors can buy the units from secondary market only

Q. What is the history of Mutual Funds in India and role of SEBI in mutual funds industry?

A. Unit Trust of India was the first mutual fund set up in India in the year 1963. In early 1990s, Government allowed public sector banks and institutions to set up mutual funds.

In the year 1992, Securities and exchange Board of India (SEBI) Act was passed. The objectives of SEBI are – to protect the interest of investors in securities and to promote the development of and to regulate the securities market.

As far as mutual funds are concerned, SEBI formulates policies and regulates the mutual funds to protect the interest of the investors. SEBI notified regulations for the mutual funds in 1993. Thereafter, mutual funds sponsored by private sector entities were allowed to enter the capital market. The regulations were fully revised in 1996 and have been amended thereafter from time to time. SEBI has also issued guidelines to the mutual funds from time to time to protect the interests of investors.

All mutual funds whether promoted by public sector or private sector entities including those promoted by foreign entities are governed by the same set of Regulations. There is no distinction in regulatory requirements for these mutual funds and all are subject to monitoring and inspections by SEBI. The risks associated with the schemes launched by the mutual funds sponsored by these entities are of similar type.

Q. What is the role of a Fund Manager?

A. Fund managers are responsible for implementing a consistent investment strategy that reflects the goals and objectives of the fund. Normally, fund managers monitor market and economic trends and analyse securities in order to make informed investment decisions

Q. What is venture capital? What are venture capital funds?

A. Venture Capital is the fund/initial capital provided to businesses typically at a start-up stage and many times for new/ untested ideas. Venture capital normally comes in where the conventional sources of finance do not fit in. Venture capital funds are mutual funds that manage venture capital money i.e. these funds aggregate money from several investors who want to provide venture capital and deploy this money in venture capital opportunities.


Typically venture capital funds have a higher risk/ higher return profile as compared to normal equity funds and whether you should invest in these would depend on your specific risk profile and investment time-frame.

Q. What mutual fund is suitable for you?

A. Just as you would buy a computer that fits your needs and budget, you should choose a mutual fund that meets your risk tolerance and your risk capacity levels (i.e. has similar investment objectives as your own). Typical investment objectives of mutual funds include fixed income or equity, general equity or sector-focused, high risk or low risk, blue-chips or turnarounds, long-term or short-term liquidity focus. You can use our Find-A-Fund query module to find funds whose investment objectives match yours.

You can also read our expert article on Investment in Mutual Funds to understand how best to find a mutual fund to meet your needs and what other factors to consider while evaluating mutual funds for investment.

Q. What should an investor look into an offer document?

A. An abridged offer document, which contains very useful information, is required to be given to the prospective investor by the mutual fund. The application form for subscription to a scheme is an integral part of the offer document. SEBI has prescribed minimum disclosures in the offer document. An investor, before investing in a scheme, should carefully read the offer document. Due care must be given to portions relating to main features of the scheme, risk factors, initial issue expenses and recurring expenses to be charged to the scheme, entry or exit loads, sponsor’s track record, educational qualification and work experience of key personnel including fund managers, performance of other schemes launched by the mutual fund in the past, pending litigations and penalties imposed, etc.

Q. When should you change your investment plan.

A. For example, as you grow older you might adopt a more conservative investment approach, pruning some of your riskier (equity-oriented) funds

Q. When will the investor get certificate or statement of account after investing in a mutual fund?

A. Mutual funds are required to despatch certificates or statements of accounts within six weeks from the date of closure of the initial subscription of the scheme. In case of close-ended schemes, the investors would get either a demat account statement or unit certificates as these are traded in the stock exchanges. In case of open-ended schemes, a statement of account is issued by the mutual fund within 30 days from the date of closure of initial public offer of the scheme. The procedure of repurchase is mentioned in the offer document.

Q. Why Choose Mutual Funds?

A. Mutual funds are investment vehicles, and you can use them to invest in asset classes such as equities or fixed income. moneycontrol recommends that you use the mutual fund investment route rather than invest yourself, unless you have the required temperament, aptitude and technical knowledge.
In this article we discuss why and how you should choose mutual funds. If you would like to familiarise yourself with the basic concepts and workings of a mutual fund, Understanding Mutual Funds would be a good place to start.

Q. Why should you consider Fund Costs?

A. The cost of investing through a mutual fund is not insignificant and deserves due consideration, especially when it comes to fixed income funds. Management fees, annual expenses of the fund and sales loads can take away a significant portion of your returns. As a general rule, 1% towards management fees and 0.6% towards other annual expenses should be acceptable. Carefully examine load the fee a fund charges for getting in and out of the fund.

Q. Why should you invest through Mutual Funds?

A. Firstly, we are not all investment professionals. We go to a doctor when we need medical advice or a lawyer for legal guidance, similarly mutual funds are investment vehicles managed by professional fund managers. And unless you rate highly on the Investment IQ Quiz, we recommend you use this option for investing. Mutual funds are like professional money managers, however a key factor in their favour is that they are more regulated and hence offer investors the ability to analyse and evaluate their track record.

Secondly, investing is becoming more complex. There was a time when things were quite simple - the market went up with the arrival of the first monsoon showers and every year around Diwali. Since India started integrating with the world (with the start of the liberalisation process), complex factors such as an increase in short-term US interest rates, the collapse of the Brazilian currency or default on its debt by the Russian government, have started having an impact on the Indian stock market. Although it is possible for an individual investor to understand Indian companies (and investing) in such an environment, the process can become fairly time consuming. Mutual funds (whose fund managers are paid to understand these issues and whose asset management company invests in research) provide an option of investing without getting lost in the complexities.

Lastly, and most importantly, mutual funds provide risk diversification: Diversification of a portfolio is amongst the primary tenets of portfolio structuring (see The Need to Diversify). And a necessary one to reduce the level of risk assumed by the portfolio holder. Most of us are not necessarily well qualified to apply the theories of portfolio structuring to our holdings and hence would be better off leaving that to a professional. Mutual funds represent one such option.

Q. Why should you monitor and review your fund?

A. Having made an investment in a mutual fund, you should monitor it to see whether its management and performance is in line with stated objectives and also whether its performance exceeds or lags your expectations. Unlike individual stocks and bonds, mutual fund reviews are required less frequently, once in a quarter should be sufficient.
A review of the fund’s performance should be carried out with the objective of holding or selling your investment in the mutual fund. You might need to sell your investment in a mutual fund if any of the events below apply

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