Do you know the majority of people fail in investment due to a lack of investment knowledge?
They think the investment is too complicated to understand and procrastinate forever to invest anywhere.
But you have chosen to learn about investment; CONGRATULATIONS!
This action will separate you from the large majority of confused investors and make you an INSIDER in the investment world.
If you are planning to begin your investment in Mutual Fund or you have already started off your investment. In both cases, this post will provide you all the necessary insights into Mutual Fund investment.
Let’s read on and learn…
Table Of Content
- 1. What is Mutual Fund and how do they work?
- Based on the Fund Scheme
- Based on the management of a fund
- Based on Asset Class
- Based on Investment Objective
- Specialized Mutual Funds
- Calculate your Mutual Fund Returns using online calculator.
- What returns should you expect from your Mutual Fund investment?
2. Advantages and disadvantages of Mutual Funds.
3. Is there any risk in a Mutual Fund investment?
4. How to Invest in Mutual Funds?
What is Mutual Fund and how do they work?
According to the Oxford dictionary, the meaning of the term “Mutual Fund” is, “a company that offers a service to people by investing their money in various businesses”.
In simple words, the mutual fund is a kind of financial vehicle where the group of people or investors pools in money with the intention of generating returns.
The financial corpus so formed is invested in various asset classes.
- Investment is done under a particular scheme managed by an Asset Management Company (AMC).
- The formed corpus is invested in securities like equity shares, bonds according to the scheme’s investment objective.
- AMC appoints the fund managers, who manage the investment portfolio as per the market movements to create wealth for investors.
- The investors usually make money in mutual funds by way of regular dividends/interest and capital appreciation. They may choose to reinvest the capital gains via a growth option or earn regular income by way of dividend option.
- The fund house charges an annual fee called expense ratio from the investors to manage their portfolio.
Advantages and Disadvantages of Mutual Funds
1. Mutual funds are diversified.
When you invest in any stock, your investment is more focused. If that particular Stock goes up, you will be benefitted; otherwise, you will lose your money. If you want to diversify your stock investment, you need to invest in various stocks independently.
BUT, by investing in a single mutual fund, you automatically invest in various assets and stocks. If one stock or asset goes down, there are others that may compensate for it.
2. Managed by Experts:
Fund managers in mutual funds are highly experienced and qualified professionals, they consistently research, analyze and manage their funds. A mutual fund is a relatively cost-effective way for an investor to get full-time fund managers to make and monitor investments. Fund managers also have better access to the fund-related information.
You can buy or sell Mutual Funds anytime and can redeem total or partial investment anytime you want to. Investment can be redeemed in 2-3 working days.
4. Offers High Convenience:
Mutual Fund investments are highly convenient for a beginner investor,
- as you can invest any time, can start investing with a small amount (Rs.500),
- can invest through various channels (Directly through Mutual Fund houses,
- can invest in Demat account, through online banking/mobile banking, mutual fund distributors, various apps, etc.),
- also, you can track your portfolio easily (online or through apps), and get professional management of your fund.
5. Reinvestment of your income:
A mutual fund allows investors to reinvest their returns and dividends in additional fund units. Such investment over a period of time will produce the compounding interest on your investments.
6. Provides a wide range of investment options and objectives:
It is possible to choose a suitable Mutual Fund scheme for your personal and family needs. This could be related to your risk profile and desired investment horizon. We will discuss these factors in greater detail in the upcoming sections.
7. Transparency and ease of comparison:
You can track the performance of your fund on a regular basis and you can easily compare the different mutual funds with each other to analyze their current performance and take your call to sell the existing fund or increase your investment in your existing scheme.
1. Expense ratio/Management fees:
The expense ratio represents all of the management fees and operating costs of the fund. You must check this factor before you choose to invest in any fund(Equity, Debt or Liquid Fund). Look for the lowest range of expense ratios in your chosen fund category.
2. No fixed Exit load:
Some mutual funds charge the Exit Load. An exit load is a penalty, in case if you choose to redeem your investment before a certain timeframe. For different mutual fund schemes, the exit load levied is different, it can be as much as 2% of the total redemption amount and also it can be 0%. You should check this factor before you invest.
3. No guaranteed returns:
Even though different Mutual funds carries a different risk profile, but none of them could give you guaranteed returns as provided by bank FDs or PPF. Mutual funds are subject to market risks.
4. No control:
A Fund Manager has better control over the funds and you must trust his/her judgment, without any control in your hand.
Based on the above-mentioned advantages and disadvantages, it is true that the returns on mutual fund investments are not guaranteed and are subject to market risk. But mutual funds are the most transparent, efficient and convenient way of investment. If you do a careful analysis before your investment, YOU WILL GET GOOD RETURNS!
- Mutual Funds are ideal for long term investors. So, to keep short-term investors away from long term investments, Exit Loads are levied as a penalty. Exit Loads are generally very low (1%-2%). Mutual Funds look after long term investors and they have separate funds (liquid funds) for short term investors, where there is no Exit-Load. Whereas, the Long term investors are adequately rewarded.
- Mutual funds consist of management charges, but it is very small. Fees are required to manage your funds and cover all the operating costs involved in the fund. And, Mutual Fund company does it very effectively.
You must consider taking advice from an experienced investment planner before making a final investment decision. They will give you the best advice in choosing your suitable Mutual Fund.
Also, you can choose to book a 30-min FREE Consultation call with us, to take our advice in making your investment decision.
Is there any risk or insecurity in Mutual Fund investment?
As the banks are supervised by Reserve Bank of India (RBI), in a similar way, the Mutual funds are also regulated and supervised by regulatory agencies like the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) and the Association of Mutual Funds in India (AMFI).
The license to run a Mutual Fund company is not much different than the license given to a bank to do its operation. They are given the same level of screening and diligent monitoring for their smooth functioning. Therefore, mutual funds are fully secure and there is absolutely NO risk in terms of losing all your money.
To address all your fears and anxieties regarding Mutual Funds, you can further read this article on “How safe are your Mutual Funds?”
Let us understand, how to Invest in Mutual Funds?
To start investing in Mutual Funds, you need to have a bank account, PAN card, and KYC documentation.
To do your KYC, you need to submit the following documents:
- Filled KYC Form
- Recent passport size photograph
- Self-attested copy of your PAN Card.
- Self-attested copy of your address proof, such as Aadhar Card.
You can submit the above documents directly to the fund house or you can submit it through CAMS/Karvy. KYC is a one-time process and once KYC is done, you can invest in any Mutual Fund of your choice.
Different ways to invest in Mutual Funds
There are several ways in which you can invest in the mutual fund, there are online as well as offline ways and each method has its own pros and cons. Let’s read the description below:
1. Directly with the fund house
You can visit any fund house office and open your mutual fund account. If your KYC is done, your account can be opened online, as well.
The only problem with this method is that you can invest in the schemes of only one fund house. In order to have multiple schemes, you need to have separate multiple accounts with different login details for each fund.
2. Through distributors or Independent Financial Advisors (IFAs)
You can also invest through AMFI (Association of Mutual Funds of India) registered distributors who can give you the basic advice on your investment and can do all the paperwork, as well as send reports, etc.
It is a convenient method and it can take away a lot of your headache regarding any queries or paperwork. The possible risk with this method is: “the distributor may be biased toward certain schemes depending on the commission they would provide”. So you must be aware and do your proper research before choosing a suitable financial advisor. You can this detailed article on The definite ways to find a trustworthy Investment Advisor.
Most of the banks also act as mutual fund distributors, they sell various Mutual funds to their customers.
Through CAMS and Karvy you can get free online access to many AMC schemes. Through this option, you can invest in direct schemes as well. A mobile app is available for easy access to all information. However, currently, not all AMCs are registered with these platforms.
Through our online account:
We at “Holistic Investment Planners”, offers you the best advice in your Mutual Fund investment. Click the link below to get started with your investment:
What are the different types of Mutual Funds?
In nutshell, the Mutual funds can be subdivided into different types depending upon various different characteristics:
1. Depending upon the fund schemes, the Mutual Funds are classified as:
In this fund, you can enter or exit anytime. These funds do not have a fixed maturity period.
Closed-ended funds issue a fixed number of units that are traded on the stock exchange. They are launched through New Fund Offer (NFO) to raise money and then traded in the secondary market similar to stocks. These funds also have a fixed maturity period.
After the closure of the initial offer, new investors cannot enter, nor the existing investors could exit until the term of the scheme ends.
Its functionality is more similar to ETFs.
These funds combine the characteristics of both of the above; closed as well as open-ended funds. These funds do not permit regular buying and selling as these remain closed most of the time but open for a time interval predefined by the fund, wherein a new unit can be bought and existing units can be redeemed.
2. Depending upon the management of funds, the Mutual Funds are classified as:
Actively Managed Fund
Passively Managed Fund
These are the funds, in which the fund managers actively pick securities based on their own research and analysis. In India, most of the Mutual Fund investments are done in actively managed funds as fund managers consistently beat the benchmark and create the returns over and above the predicted ones.
Passive fund management involves the creation of a portfolio intended to track the returns of a particular market index or benchmark as closely as possible. Fund Managers select stocks listed on an index and apply the same weightage.
In the passive fund management, a fund manager attempts to mimic some benchmark, replicating its holdings and the performance.
For your long term investment, an Actively Managed Fund is better as compared to passively managed funds. Active fund management is when fund managers actively pick investments in an effort to outperform some benchmark, usually a stock market index.
Whereas, the purpose of passive portfolio management is to generate a return that is the same as the chosen index, instead of outperforming it.
3. Depending upon the Asset Class, the Mutual Funds are classified as:
Equity funds invest their assets in the Stock Market. These are also known as Stock Funds. Below are the core benefits of investing in the equity fund:
- i) Expert money management
ii) Portfolio Diversification
iii) Systematic investments
iv) Better liquidity, and
v) Tax benefits
These types of Mutual Funds invest their assets only in Debt (Fixed Income) instruments such as corporate bonds, debentures, Government Securities, etc. The overall risk profile of the debt fund is low.
These funds invest their assets in low maturity money market instruments such as treasury bills, Certificate of Deposit, etc. they have maturity span of 1 to 180 days. They are the least risky type of Mutual Funds
These funds invest their money in both Equity and Debt instruments. The ratio varies from fund to fund. These funds are medium risk types and give you the best of both equity and debt funds.
4. Depending upon the investment style, the Mutual Funds are classified as:
These are equity-based funds that invest primarily in Stock Markets. The fund managers handling these funds, preferably invest in the stocks that have low dividend yield and high growth potential.
A value fund follows a strategy that focuses on investing in stocks that are undervalued in price based on fundamental characteristics.
The fund managers handling these funds typically invest in stocks with high dividend yield and low P/E ratio.
Warren Buffett, one of the world’s most successful investors, is a value investor.
An income fund is a type of Debt Mutual Fund which generates returns by investing in relatively long-dated debt instruments like government securities, corporate bonds, debentures, certificates of deposit, etc.
These funds are known for the safety of the principal.
5. Few of the special Mutual funds are:
ELSS, the tax-saving fund
Index funds, as the name suggests, invest in an index. These funds purchase all the stocks in the same weightage as in a particular index (Sensex or Nifty).
Index funds are ideal for investors who are risk-averse and expect predictable returns. These are the passively managed funds. Index funds are not meant to outperform the market, but mimic the performance of the index.
However, if you wish to earn market-beating returns, then you can opt for actively-managed funds.
The returns of index funds may match the returns of actively-managed funds in the short run. However, the actively-managed fund tends to perform better in the long term.
These are the type of Equity Funds, which invest their assets only in one focused sector/industry. For example, Banking, Technology, Pharma, Infrastructure, etc.
They are the type of equity funds having 3 years lock-in period and your investments get tax benefits under section 80C.
These mutual funds invest in companies outside India. They will allow you to invest in foreign markets and give you the exposure of global companies.
These are solution-oriented Mutual Funds in the new SEBI categorization of Mutual Funds. They have a lock-in period of 5 years.
What is Net Asset Value (NAV)? What is its importance in Mutual Funds?
Net Asset Value (NAV) is a mutual fund’s price per unit. In simple terms, it is the value of a single unit of a mutual fund.
For example, If a mutual fund has a NAV of ₹50, it means the single unit cost of this fund is Rs. 50. And, if you invest ₹10000 in a mutual fund with a Net Asset Value of ₹50, then you will get (10000/50) = 200units of that fund.
NAV is calculated by dividing the total value of all assets such as stocks/bonds, minus all liabilities and expenses, divided by the total number of units of the mutual fund. It is represented using the formula given below:
As the value of the stocks, bonds and deposits change every working day; NAV also gets updated on a regular basis.
NAV is not an indicator of a Mutual Fund Performance. Lower NAV does not mean the better performance of a Mutual Fund. In order to know the actual performance of a Mutual Fund, other performance factors must be taken care of. They are described in the next section.
The NAV of a Mutual fund is more useful in understanding how the fund performs on an everyday basis.
You can check the NAV of any mutual fund from any financial website such as amfiindia.com.
How to select Mutual Funds? Performance Parameters and analysis
Based on the types of Mutual funds there are different factors that describe the performance of a Mutual fund. In this section, performance analysis of Equity Funds and Debt Funds are described in sufficient detail, because these funds are more popular as compared to other funds.
The first step to select an Equity oriented fund is to categorize your goals into the short, mid and long term and then choose the fund type, as shown below:
- Large-cap funds: if your investment horizon is around 5 years, then it is the better option, it can give you the return of 10-12% p.a.
- Multi-cap funds: if your investment horizon is around 7 years, then you may consider investing in the Multi-cap category. It can provide the post-tax return of 11-13% p.a.
- Small or Mid-cap funds: they are ideal for the investment horizon of more than 10 years. Small/mid-cap can provide the post-tax returns of 12-15%.
Your investment depends on 2 factors:
i). Your financial goals (Short term, Midterm and Long Term)
ii). Your Risk-taking appetite
- If you are a first-time investor, then a large portion of your investment should go towards Large Cap Funds, as they involve less risk.
- If you are already investing in Mutual Funds, then you should make sure to diversify your investment in such a way that you ensure the equal weightage of your investment in “Large Cap Funds” and “Mid and Small Cap funds”.
- If you are a more aggressive investor, then you should give more weightage to Large Cap funds.
- And, if you are willing to take more risk, then you should give more weightage to Mid/Small Cap funds or Multi Cap funds. Mid/Small Cap funds are riskier, but they will provide you with better returns in the long run.
How to select a good equity fund?
After choosing the right fund based on your investment horizon, now look for the right schemes under large-cap OR multi-cap OR mid/small-cap. The parameters described below will help you select the right scheme.
- Research about the years of business, compliance record, past performance, etc. of various fund houses. This criterion can also be used for elimination of undesired fund.
- Look for a competitive Fund Manager. A fund manager is largely responsible for the good or bad performance of any fund. Look at how the scheme is performing under the current fund manager. Also have a look at the data on how the other schemes have performed, which are managed by this fund manager, in the past.
Based on the above fundamental analysis, now its time to filter the schemes by analyzing their Key-ratios and other factors, as described below:
Quantitative Parameters to choose a Mutual Fund Scheme
1. Alpha and Beta
Alpha measures whether the fund has outperformed its predicted returns. Look for higher alpha.
Beta is an indicator of the volatility of the fund. A beta of greater than 1, say 1.15, means that the fund is more
A lower beta indicates that the fund is less volatile and more stable. Lower beta is advisable to consider but other factors must also be considered along with beta.
For more details on Alpha and Beta, read this detailed post on “Statistical tools to select a rewarding Mutual Fund”.
2. Sharpe ratio
It measures the returns with respect to the risk taken. A good fund will high Sharpe ratio, as there will be better returns with the amount of risk.
3. Asset Under Management (AUM)
It is the total market value of the investments that are managed by the Mutual Fund companies. AUM increases when more assets are bought in or the value of the asset increases. And, AUM decreases when assets are withdrawn or the value of the assets decreases. You can reject the schemes with very low AUM as their volatility, expenses and risk profile could be higher.
4. Expense Ratio
As described earlier, it is a fee charged for handling your money in your investment. You should avoid schemes with a very high expense ratio. As per industry standards, the expense ratio of 1.5% is a good deal. The average expense ratio of equity funds varies between 1.5-2.2%.
5. Exit Load
In the event of an early withdrawal from the plan before the pre-defined lock-in period, the investors are required to pay the exit load. Exit load varies between 1%-3%. Exit load of 1% under the duration of 1 year is a common norm with 80% of the cases.
Though the equity fund investment is for the long-term, still you should avoid the funds with high exit loads (above 1%). Let us say, you want to withdraw from the fund because of its bad-performance or any other valid reason, you must not lose money in such cases.
6. Online ratings of Mutual Funds
Nowadays there are many 3rd party agencies that give fund ratings online such as Morningstar, CRISIL, and value-research; here you can get some idea on the fund performance based on the ratings given to them, by these parties. But you should not over depend on these ratings.
All the performance parameters of Mutual Funds mentioned above should be taken together into consideration and only after understanding them well, the investment decision must be taken.
Qualitative parameters to choose a Mutual Fund Scheme:
1. How long does the Mutual Fund company is in existence? And, what is its historical performance?
You should choose to invest in a scheme that has a very good long term record against their peers. Though it is true that historical performance is not a guarantee of future performance. But it definitely gives a key insight into the scheme.
We recommend you to find the details of the funds in Mutual Fund Factsheets and look for the funds which have consistently outperformed in the market over the medium and longer terms (3, 5 and 10 years).
Equity funds are conducive for long term investment only. Therefore, the focus should be on Long term performance, instead of looking into the weekly, monthly or quarterly performances!
The ability of a Mutual Fund company to retain the Fund Managers!
The major credit for outperformance or underperformance of any mutual fund scheme lies with the fund manager. All the Mutual Fund Companies look after the good fund managers to manage their funds.
You should look at whether the Mutual Fund Company is able to retain a good Fund Manager in their company for a long time. If a company is able to retain a good Fund Manager for a Long time, it means the company is active and performing well in its investment strategy!
Therefore, you should consider investing in such companies.
The investment process of a Mutual Fund Company!
The investment process in some Mutual Fund Companies are run totally by the Fund Manager’s experience; they are free to take all the major investment decisions.
Whereas in other companies, part of the investment process is already established, based on the investment process, which is proven and evolved over a period of time. Fund managers have to follow the defined process of investment in such companies, along with implementing their own investment strategies.
Fund managers are humans; some are more experienced, whereas others are less experienced. Therefore, it is possible for them to make some mistakes, if the entire responsibility of the investment process is given to them.
So, the companies with a defined and evolved investment process develop an added layer of safety and allow their Fund Managers to do their tasks vigilantly. In this process, the Fund Manager is able to concentrate well on the top-level activities.
Therefore, you should choose the Mutual Fund Companies having a defined investment process.
Such companies are considered better.
Consistency of the Investment strategy
A Mutual Fund Company must always be consistent in their investment strategy. Also, there are various schools of thought followed by different Mutual Fund companies, when it comes to their investment strategy.
It doesn’t matter, which investment strategy a Mutual Fund Company may choose, it should stick to ONE investment strategy and must not be tempted to acquire another investment strategy in the mid-way.
For example, some Mutual Fund companies follow the Market-Timing Strategy, it implies the ability to get into and out of sectors, assets or markets at the right time. Generally, they try to get into the sector when the market is low and then sell their assets when the market is high.
Other Mutual Fund Companies do not time the market and remain fully invested regardless of the market opportunity.
So, the core idea is that a Mutual Fund Company must stick to its originally adopted investment strategy and it should not be tempted to acquire the different investment strategies by seeing varying results produced by different Mutual Fund companies in the market.
Debt funds are usually short term investments. You should consider the points given above for choosing a good fund manager and a Mutual Fund Company to invest in. In addition to the points mentioned above, you should also consider the key ratios as applied to debt funds, as described below:
1. Average Maturity:
It refers to the weighted average time until all securities in a debt portfolio in a mutual fund get matured. Lower the average maturity; the better it is in the terms of the interest rate risk and lower volatility.
The higher the average maturity of a debt fund, the longer it will take for each security to mature in the portfolio and vice-versa.
Before investing in debt funds, it is advisable to have a look at the average maturity of the fund. For example, if you want to invest in the debt fund for 2 years, then choose the fund with an average maturity of 2 years. Similarly, if you want to invest for 5 years, choose the fund with the average maturity of 5 years and so on.
2. Modified Duration (MD):
It reflects the sensitivity of the debt security price when the scenario of the interest rate changes. Particularly this parameter helps in understanding the volatility of the fund. Lower the MD, lower the volatility.
3. Yield to Maturity (YTM):
It refers to the expected rate of returns anticipated on a debt portfolio if the investments are held until maturity. For example, if a fund has YTM of 8.5% and the average maturity of 4 years, it means, the fund will give approx 8.5% returns if you remain invested for at least 4 years.
Apart from the above 3-factors, you should also consider the following points:
- Expense ratio: As described earlier, you should avoid the schemes with a very high expense ratio. And you should choose a scheme with an average or lower expense ratio (around 1.5% or below), based on your risk-taking ability and the tenure of your investment. Most of the established fund schemes will have a lower expense ratio.
- Exit Load: There should not be any exit load on investment of ultra-short duration in debt funds. Short duration fund with exit load after 180 days and mid/long duration funds with exit load after 365 days should be avoided.
- Credit risk and Credit Ratings: Each debt instrument in India is mandatorily rated based on their creditworthiness by various credit rating agencies such as CRISIL, CARE, and ICRA. Each rating denotes a certain degree of risk involved – for example, AAA rating indicates the highest credit rating. This way you can assess the risk taken by fund managers by checking the credit rating of the fund’s portfolio.
- whether you want to do Lumpsum Investment or SIP
- choose your desired amount of investment.
- desired frequency of paying SIP. (if SIP option is chosen)
- duration of your investment; and
- your expected annual interest rate. For better clarity on annual returns, you can watch the video in the next section.
- Do a Quarterly check.
- Review it during the stock market fluctuations.
- Review it at the Financial year-end.
- Review it in the case of emergency situations, such as job loss, injury or accident.
Mutual Fund Taxation
Equity and debt funds have different ways of taxation, details of both funds are discussed below:
Taxation of Equity funds
If you redeem your investments before 12 months, there is a flat 15% Capital Gain tax on your gains.
Till FY 2017-18 Equity-oriented funds had no tax on long term capital gains if you want to sell your funds after 12 months. But things changed after the 2018 budget, now the 10% tax is applicable, if the gains are more than 1Lacs, for the holding period of more than 1 year. It is demonstrated in a table below:
|Less than 1 year||Flat 15% Capital Gain tax|
|More than 1 year||10% tax is applicable if the gains are more than|
Rs. 1 Lacs
In case, you have long term gains/profits before 31st Jan 2018, then you don’t have to pay taxes on them. So, you only have to pay tax on the gains you earn from 1st Feb 2018 onward.
Taxation of Debt Funds
Debt funds are taxed based on your investment horizon. If you redeem your investment before 3 years, the gains are treated as Short Term Capital Gains, and if you redeem them after 3 years they are treated as Long Term Capital Gains. You will be taxed as shown below:
|Short Term Capital Gain||Less than 3 years||Taxed as per income tax slab|
|Long Term Capital Gain||More than 3 years||You will have to pay a 20% tax on gains after indexation.|
What is indexation?
Indexation means adjustment of gains with respect to inflation, that is, subtracting the impact of inflation on your returns and then paying taxes.
Here inflation is calculated based on the CII (Cost Inflation Index) provided by the income tax department each year.
How the returns are calculated in a Mutual Fund?
By now you might want to know, how your returns on Mutual Fund investment are calculated!!
Well… there are various ways to calculate returns, which depends on the duration of the investment. The various ways to calculate the returns are given below:
- 1. Absolute Returns:
2. Simple Annualized Returns:
3. CAGR (Compounded Annual Growth Rate)
4. XIRR (for calculating SIP Returns)
For more illustration and examples on calculating the Mutual Fund Returns, you can read this article on Calculating Mutual Fund returns.
You can use the calculator, shown below, to find your estimated Mutual Fund Returns.
In this calculator, you can choose the option:
So, how much returns you should expect from your Mutual Fund Scheme?
This short video will give you an estimate on what returns should you expect from your Mutual Fund scheme.
When to review your Mutual Fund portfolio?
The consistent review of your mutual fund portfolio enables stable returns and easy accomplishment of targets. Remember the 4 simple tactics given below to review your Mutual Fund portfolio:
For more details, you can read this article on “When to Review your investment portfolio?”
We hope that this exhaustive post has provided you enough clarity on Mutual Fund Investments. If you have further queries related to the topics discussed in this post or specific to your investment, feel free to leave them below.
Also, to create your customized investment plan and to utilize our best investment services; you can book a FREE Consultation call with us by clicking the link below: