What is a Mutual Fund?
A Mutual Fund is a body corporate registered with the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI), that pools up the money from individual / corporate investors and invests the same on behalf of the investors / unit holders, in equity shares, Government securities, Bonds, Call money markets etc., and distributes the profits. In other words, a mutual fund allows an investor to indirectly take a position in a basket of assets
Which are the other institutions that have floated Mutual Funds in India?
Currently public sector banks like SBI, Canara Bank, Bank of India, institutions like IDBI, GIC, LIC Foreign Institutions like Alliance, Morgan Stanley, Templeton and Private financial companies like Kothari Pioneer, DSP Merrill Lynch, Sundaram, Kotak Mahindra etc. have floated their own mutual funds
Why has the concept of mutual funds taken so long to pick up in India?
Even in the US the concept of mutual funds has started picking up only in the last decade. This whole process of investor education and investor awareness takes a lot of time. But Indian investors are now beginning to understand the benefits of investing through the mutual funds route and hence the collections are beginning to pick up.
What is the Regulatory Body for Mutual Funds?
Securities Exchange Board of India (SEBI) is the regulatory body for all the mutual funds mentioned above. All the mutual funds must get registered with SEBI. The only exception is the UTI, since it is a corporation formed under a separate Act of Parliament.
How do mutual funds diversify their risks?
Financial theory states that an investor can reduce his total risk by holding a portfolio of assets instead of only one asset. This is because by holding all your money in just one asset, the entire fortunes of your portfolio depend on this one asset. By creating a portfolio of a variety of assets, this risk is substantially reduced.
Can mutual funds be viewed as risk-free investments?
No. Mutual fund investments are not totally risk free. In fact, investing in mutual funds contains the same risk as investing in the markets, the only difference being that due to professional management of funds the controllable risks are substantially reduced.
What are the risks involved in investing in mutual funds?
A very important risk involved in mutual fund investments is the market risk. When the market is in doldrums, most of the equity funds will also experience a downturn. However, the company specific risks are largely eliminated due to professional fund management. What are open-ended and closed-ended mutual funds?
In an open-ended mutual fund there are no limits on the total size of the corpus. Investors are permitted to enter and exit the open-ended mutual fund at any point of time at a price that is linked to the net asset value (NAV). In case of closed-ended funds, the total size of the corpus is limited by the size of the initial offer.
What are the different types of plans that any mutual fund scheme offers?
That depends on the strategy of the concerned scheme. But generally there are 3 broad categories. A dividend plan entails a regular payment of dividend to the investors. A reinvestment plan is a plan where these dividends are reinvested in the scheme itself. A growth plan is one where no dividends are declared and the investor only gains through capital appreciation in the NAV of the fund.
Which plan should I choose?
It depends on your investment object, which again depends on your income, age, financial responsibilities, risk taking capacity and tax status. For example a retired government employee is most likely to opt for monthly income plan while a high-income youngster is most likely to opt for growth plan.
What is NAV and how it is calculated?
NAV is the net asset value of the fund. Simply put it reflects what the unit held by an investor is worth at current market prices. For details on calculation methodology and formulae, please click on our mutual fund glossary
Can a Mutual Fund assure fixed returns?
As per Sebi Regulations, mutual funds are not allowed to assure returns. However, funds floated by AMCs of public sector banks and financial institutions were permitted to assure returns to the unitholders provided the parent sponsor was willing to give an explicit guarantee to honor such a commitment. But in general, mutual funds cannot assure fixed returns to their investors.
How much return can I expect by investing in mutual funds?
Investors need to be clear that mutual funds are essentially medium to long term investments. Hence, short-term abnormal profits will not be sustainable in the long run. But in the medium to long run the mutual funds tend to outperform most other avenues of investments at the same time avoiding the risk of direct investment accompanied with professional fund management. TOP
MFs should be formed as a Trust under Indian Trust Act and should be operated by Asset Management Companies (AMCs).
MFs need to set up a Board of Trustees and Trustee Companies. They should also have their Board of Directors.
The net worth of the AMCs should be at least Rs.5 crore.
AMCs and Trustees of a MF should be two separate and distinct legal entities.t have a sound strategy for analyzing and investing in infotech companies
The AMC or any of its companies cannot act as managers for any other fund.
AMCs have to get the approval of SEBI for its Articles and Memorandum of Association.
All MF schemes should be registered with SEBI.
MFs should distribute minimum of 90% of their profits among the investors.
There are other guidelines also that govern investment strategy, disclosure norms and advertising code for mutual funds.
Am I eligible for rebate on income tax by investing in a MF?
Yes in case of certain specific Equity Linked Saving Schemes, tax benefits are available under Section 88 of the Income Tax Act. In such cases the fund prospectuses explicitly states that it is a tax saving fund. In such cases 20 percent of your contribution will qualify for rebate under Section 88 of the Income Tax Act.
Is my income from mutual funds exempt from income tax?
Yes. Your income from mutual funds in the form of dividends is entirely exempt from income tax provided the fund in question is a equity/growth fund where more than 50 percent of the portfolio is invested in equities.