Tuesday, June 17

Mutual Funds


How do I invest in a scheme of a mutual fund?
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, filled application forms can be deposited with mutual funds through these agents/distributors etc. Now a days post offices and banks also distribute the units of mutual funds. However, you 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.

How do I fill up the application form of a mutual fund scheme?
You must mention clearly your name, address, number of units applied for and such other information as required in the application form. You must give your bank account details 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 details etc at a later date should be informed to the mutual fund immediately.

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

How much should I invest in debt or equity oriented schemes?
It is for you to decide as to how much to invest where but you should take into account your risk taking capacity, age, financial position, etc. before making any investment. As already mentioned, the schemes invest in different type of securities as disclosed in the offer documents and offer different returns and risks.

What should I look for into an offer document?
An abridged offer document, which contains very useful information, is required to be given to the prospective investor by the mutual fund. You should read the whole offer document very carefully. 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. 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.

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

What is sales or repurchase/redemption price?
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 any. 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 any.

What is an assured return scheme?
Assured return schemes are those schemes that assure a specific return to the unitholders irrespective of performance of the scheme.A scheme cannot promise returns unless such returns are fully guaranteed by the sponsor or AMC and this is required to be disclosed in the offer document. Investors should carefully read the offer document whether return is assured for the entire period of the scheme or only for a certain period. Some schemes assure returns one year at a time and they review and change it at the beginning of the next year.

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

How do I know where the mutual fund scheme has invested money mobilised from the investors?
The mutual funds are required to disclose full portfolios of all of their schemes on half-yearly basis which are published in the newspapers. Some mutual funds send the portfolios to their unitholders. The scheme portfolio shows investment made in each security i.e. equity, debentures, money market instruments, government securities, etc. and their quantity, market value and % to NAV. These portfolio statements also required to disclose illiquid securities in the portfolio, investment made in rated and unrated debt securities, non-performing assets (NPAs), etc. Some of the mutual funds send newsletters to the unitholders on quarterly basis which also contain portfolios of the schemes.

Can a mutual fund change the nature of the scheme from the one specified in the offer document?
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 from close-ended to open-ended scheme and in case of change in sponsor. The mutual funds are required to inform about any material changes to their unitholders.
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.

How long will it take for transfer of units after purchase from stock markets in case of close-ended schemes?
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.
As a unitholder, how much time will it take to receive dividends/repurchase proceeds?
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).

How do I know the performance of a mutual fund scheme?
The performance of a scheme is reflected in its net asset value (NAV) which is disclosed on daily basis in case of open-ended schemes and on weekly basis in case of close-ended schemes. NAV of mutual funds are required to be published in newspapers.The NAVs are also available on the web sites of mutual funds. All mutual funds are also required to put their NAVs on the web site of Association of Mutual Funds in India (AMFI) http://investor.sebi.gov.in/www.amfiindia.com/index.html and thus the investors can access NAVs of all mutual funds at one place. The mutual funds are also required to publish their performance in the form of half-yearly results which also include their returns/yields over a period of time i.e. last six months, 1 year, 3 years, 5 years and since inception of schemes. Investors can also look into other details like percentage of expenses of total assets as these have an affect on the yield and other useful information in the same half-yearly format. The mutual funds are also required to send annual report or abridged annual report to the unitholders at the end of the year. Various studies on mutual fund schemes including yields of different schemes are being published by the financial newspapers on a weekly basis. Apart from these, many research agencies also publish research reports on performance of mutual funds including the ranking of various schemes in terms of their performance. Investors should study these reports and keep themselves informed about the performance of various schemes of different mutual funds. Investors can compare the performance of their schemes with those of other mutual funds under the same category. They can also compare the performance of equity oriented schemes with the benchmarks like BSE Sensitive Index, S&P CNX Nifty, etc. On the basis of performance of the mutual funds, the investors should decide when to enter or exit from a mutual fund scheme.

Is there any difference between issue of a mutual fund and an initial public offering (IPO) of a company?
Yes, there is a difference. IPOs of companies may open at lower or higher price than the issue price depending on market sentiment and perception of investors. However, in the case of mutual funds, the par value of the units may not rise or fall immediately after allotment. A mutual fund scheme takes some time to make investment in securities. NAV of the scheme depends on the value of securities in which the funds have been deployed.

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

How do I choose a scheme for investment from a number of schemes available?
As already mentioned, the investors must read the offer document of the mutual fund scheme very carefully. They may also look into the past track record of performance of the scheme or other schemes of the same mutual fund. They may also compare the performance with other schemes having similar investment objectives. Though past performance of a scheme is not an indicator of its future performance and good performance in the past may or may not be sustained in the future, this is one of the important factors for making investment decision. In case of debt oriented schemes, apart from looking into past returns, the investors should also see the quality of debt instruments which is reflected in their rating. A scheme with lower rate of return but having investments in better rated instruments may be safer. Similarly, in equities schemes also, investors may look for quality of portfolio. They may also seek advice of experts.

Are the companies having names like mutual benefit the same as mutual funds schemes?
You should not assume some companies having the name "mutual benefit" as mutual funds. These companies do not come under the purview of SEBI. On the other hand, mutual funds can mobilise funds from the investors by launching schemes only after getting registered with SEBI as mutual funds.

Is the higher net worth of the sponsor a guarantee for better returns?
In the offer document of any mutual fund scheme, financial performance including the net worth of the sponsor for a period of three years is required to be given. The only purpose is that the investors should know the track record of the company which has sponsored the mutual fund. However, higher net worth of the sponsor does not mean that the scheme would give better returns or the sponsor would compensate in case the NAV falls.

Update on Closed ended schemes and Entry Load/Initial Issue expenses

Currently close-ended schemes are permitted to charge initial issue expenses and not charge entry load. In order to bring in more transparency and clarity to the investors in terms of the expenses charged to them in closed-end schemes, SEBI Board in a recent meeting decided as under:

1. Henceforth, there will not be any provision of charging initial issue expense and amortization of the same.
2. All mutual fund schemes shall now meet the sales, marketing and other such expenses connected with sales and distribution of schemes from the entry load.

SEBI/IMD/CIR No. 11/ 115723 /08
January 31, 2008

Where do I look out for information on mutual funds?
Almost all the mutual funds have their own web sites. You can also access the NAVs, half-yearly results and portfolios of all mutual funds at the web site of Association of mutual funds in India (AMFI) http://investor.sebi.gov.in/www.amfiindia.com/index.html. AMFI has also published useful literature for the investors. You can also log on to the web site of SEBI i.e. http://investor.sebi.gov.in/www.sebi.gov.in/index.html and go to "Mutual Funds" section for information on SEBI regulations and guidelines, data on mutual funds, draft offer documents filed by mutual funds, addresses of mutual funds, etc. Also, in the annual reports of SEBI available on the web site, a lot of information on mutual funds is given. Many newspapers also publish useful information on mutual funds on daily and weekly basis. Investors may approach their agents and distributors to guide them in this regard.

For all updates on Mutual Funds:

http://www.sebi.gov.in/Index.jsp?contentDisp=SubSection&sec_id=5&sub_sec_id=5

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

How can I redress my complaints?
You would find the name of contact person, in the offer document of the mutual fund scheme, whom you 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. You can also approach SEBI for redressal of their complaints. On receipt of complaints, SEBI takes up the matter with the concerned mutual fund and follows up with them till the matter is resolved.

1 comment:

  1. Hi vikash........

    A very good work and initiative.

    1)I woulld like u to add one morev thing in the Mutual Fund- Application section , that the propspective investor must have his PAN No.and the same must be mentioned in the Application Form.
    2) Further u have mentioned regarding different sources from where we can get information regarding mutual fund schemes. U mentioned regarding a no. of distribution channels. Its good, but at the same time u should mention the recent circular of SEBI, which states that in case a person invests through indirect sources i.e. through distribution channels, entry load will be charged @2.25%. At the same if it is made directly the entry load is nil. I think this entry load of 2.25% is significant for nay investor, and hence direct means should be used if the investor has some confidence in his decision making capability and market knowledge. So u should mention this fact in the section also.

    ReplyDelete