This guide has all you want to know about mutual funds:
What is a mutual fund?
A Mutual Fund is a trust that pools the savings of a number of investors who share a common financial goal.
Is investment in mutual fund suitable?
The money collected is invested in capital market instruments such as shares, debentures and other securities. The income earned through these investments and the capital appreciation realized is shared by its unit holders in proportion to the number of units owned by them. Thus a Mutual Fund is the most suitable investment for the common man as it offers an opportunity to invest in a diversified, professionally managed basket of securities at a relatively low cost.
How is a mutual fund set up?
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.
What are the types of Mutual Fund Schemes?
Wide variety of Mutual Fund Schemes exists to cater to the needs such as financial position, risk tolerance and return expectations etc.
- Open Ended Schemes
- Close Ended Schemes
- Interval Schemes
By Investment Objectives
- Growth Schemes
- Income Schemes
- Balance Schemes
- Money Market Schemes
- Index Schemes
- Sector Specific Schemes
What is the difference between the open ended and close ended scheme?
Open ended funds can issue and redeem units any time during the life of the scheme while close ended funds cannot issue new units except in case of bonus or rights issue. Hence, unit capital of open ended funds can fluctuate on daily basis while that is not the case for close ended schemes. Other way of explaining the 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. New investors can buy the units from secondary market only.
What is the aim of growth/equity oriented scheme?
The aim of growth funds is to provide capital appreciation over the medium to long- term. Such schemes normally invest a major part of their corpus in equities. Such funds have comparatively high risks. These schemes provide different options to the investors like dividend option, capital appreciation, etc. and the investors may choose an option depending on their preferences. The investors must indicate the option in the application form. The mutual funds also allow the investors to change the options at a later date. Growth schemes are good for investors having a long-term outlook seeking appreciation over a period of time.
What are Income/debt oriented schemes?
The aim of income funds is to provide regular and steady income to investors. Such schemes generally invest in fixed income securities such as bonds, corporate debentures, Government securities and money market instruments. Such funds are less risky compared to equity schemes. These funds are not affected because of fluctuations in equity markets. However, opportunities of capital appreciation are also limited in such funds. The NAVs of such funds are affected because of change in interest rates in the country. If the interest rates fall, NAVs of such funds are likely to increase in the short run and vice versa. However, long term investors may not bother about these fluctuations.
What are balanced schemes?
The aim of balanced funds is to provide both growth and regular income as such schemes invest both in equities and fixed income securities in the proportion indicated in their offer documents. These are appropriate for investors looking for moderate growth. They generally invest 40-60% in equity and debt instruments. These funds are also affected because of fluctuations in share prices in the stock markets. However, NAVs of such funds are likely to be less volatile compared to pure equity funds.
The bottom line:
Many investors tend to focus exclusively on investment return, with little concern for investment risk. The five risk measures
:alpha, beta, r-squared, standard deviation and the Sharpe ratio can provide some balance to the risk-return equation. The good news for investors is that these indicators are calculated for them and are available on several financial websites, as well as being incorporated into many investment research reports. As useful as these measurements are, keep in mind that when considering a stock, bond or mutual fund investment, volatility risk is just one of the factors you should be considering that can affect the quality of an investment.