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Mutual Fund SIP for NRIs

Everything NRIs need to know about Mutual Fund SIP

SIP is an acronym for Systematic Investment Plan. Metaphorically, SIP is just like a sip we take from a glass of water. Small intakes over a period help us in completing the drink comfortably. Investments through SIPs are somewhat similar.

To start with the basics, what exactly is a mutual fund SIP? – SIP is an investment option in Mutual fund which gives you the freedom to systematically invest a particular amount periodically in a mutual fund scheme.

SIP investment is considered to be the most efficient and comfortable way to achieve your financial goals. Both Resident Indian as well as Non- Resident Indian (NRI) investors adopt the SIP route for planning and executing their investments, especially while investing in Mutual Funds.

Compared to investments from Resident citizens of India, NRI investments in India are increasing through SIP as a route for making periodic investments in Mutual Funds, primarily because of their good exposure abroad on this subject.

This article will help you get an insight into,

Why Mutual Fund SIPs for NRIs?

Returning Nri

Before 20 years, NRI Investors showed more preference in Real Estate to get higher returns. Then, it became a high-risk market.

Real Estate Market was not regulated well to protect consumers then, compared to Equity or Mutual Fund Market. The case is still the same even now. So, for the past 20 years, the safe and best investment options in India for NRIs have been Equities and Mutual Funds.

Saving power for NRIs has increased now than earlier.

Instead of EMI which eats money, NRIs are taking the financial advisors’ help to save more using simple SIPs as per their unique need.

People, nowadays, are exploring more number of Mutual Funds through the Systematic Investment Plan (SIP) mode to save their loose money, which they otherwise spend on less important things in a short time.

The virtue of making investments through Mutual Fund is that the risk is evenly spread out. Small units of investments always help in balancing the risk by cushioning out uncharacteristic spikes and pits.

How does SIP creates wealth for investors during the bear market and bull market? During bull markets, the NAV of a mutual fund Scheme goes up. During bear markets, the units you acquire through SIP goes up. Therefore, in the long term, SIP creates wealth to the investors by taking advantage of both the bear market and bull market.

SIP is a very helpful tool in the process of building wealth, steadily, albeit a little slowly. But then, it is always the slow and steady who wins the race.

Different Types of Mutual Fund SIPs

SIP is considered to be the most comfortable way to achieve your financial goals, but there are various types of SIP investments which can give more convenience. Different Types of SIPs are available for investors with different requirements like.

    a) Mutual Fund – Regular SIP
    b) Mutual fund – Top-up SIP
    c) Mutual fund – Flexible SIP
Regular SIPTop-up SIPFlexible SIP
Amount of InvestmentFixedDefault amount is fixed. Can be increased on regular basis.Flexible. Can increase or decrease investment. Also options to abstain.
Interval of InvestmentMonthlyMonthlyMonthly
Preferred choice forInvestors with regular incomeInvestors with regular income and regular hikeInvestors with non-uniform / inconsistent income

Mutual Fund Regular SIP:

This is the most common type of SIP where the mandate is given for investment for a fixed period and a fixed amount is specified.

Examples: You can start a regular SIP investment where you will be investing Rs. 5000 every month for say 3 years. (The amount of SIP, the interval of SIP investment and the total duration of SIP are variable)

People with regular fixed income can opt for this type of SIP to save a regular amount every month.

Mutual Fund Top-up SIP:

As the name suggests, this is a form of SIP where the regular amount can be increased in multiples of the default SIP amount for example Rs. 5000 at certain predefined intervals with a maximum limit specified.

Examples: You can start your monthly SIP investment with Rs. 5000 for a period of say 3 years and instruct that the amount be increased by Rs.5000 every 6 months.

You can take advantage of this type of SIP,

  • When you expect surplus money and a favorable market in future
  • When you expect a salary hike at a regular interval, say for every 6 year.
  • When you expect no liability expenses (Loans or EMIs) or other expenses after some months, for example, after 6 months.

Mutual Fund Flexible SIP:

In the flexible Mutual fund SIP investment, one may increase or decrease the monthly saving in SIP, based on their cash flow.

They may also choose to abstain from making any contribution in a particular month or months and again increase the SIP amount in subsequent months.

When the cash flow increases substantially in a particular month due to any particular event, they can contribute the entire amount to SIP.

Flexible SIP is useful for NRI investors with irregular income and for people who do not want to commit a particular amount every month.

Examples:

  • NRIs in Sales Department may or not get an incentive in a month based on their output.
  • NRI Housewives or people with part-time or freelance work may or may not get regular income in a month.

Can NRIs invest in Mutual Fund SIPs in India?

Yes, Non-Resident Indians (NRIs), Overseas Citizen of India (OCI), and Persons of Indian Origin (PIOs) are allowed to invest in mutual fund SIP schemes like resident Indians. No approval is required from RBI or any other body to invest in mutual fund SIPs in India.

 

What are the options available for NRIs to Invest in Indian Mutual Funds through SIPs?

The Mutual fund SIP Investment options available for NRI are on two basis – repatriable and non-repatriable basis.

For investments to be made on a repatriable basis, an NRI should mandatorily hold an NRE account or FCNR account with a banker in India.

An NRI is required to hold an NRO account or NRE/FCNR account to make is investments on a non-repatriation basis.

  • For investments to be made on a repatriable basis, one should mandatorily hold an NRE account or FCNR account with a banker in India.
  • An NRO account or NRE/FCNR account is required for investments made on a non-repatriation basis.

How to Invest in Mutual funds through SIP in India?

NRI investors can start to invest through SIP in Mutual Fund by proceeding in the following manner.

    1. Choose the right Mutual Fund company and the best Mutual fund SIP scheme from a range of Mutual Fund SIP equity and debt schemes which are on offer at a given time.

    2. The periodicity of SIP needs to be decided by the NRI, which is usually monthly or quarterly.

    3. Setting up or designating an NRI Bank account from where the SIP amount can be deducted electronically. A Direct Debit Mandate or Electronic Clearing Service (ECS) mandate specifying the amount can also be given. Besides, the issue of post-dated cheques is also allowed.

How to invest in mutual funds through SIPMonthly or quarterly statements are mailed by the respective AMCs (Asset Management Companies) to the designated email address.

What is the Procedure for an NRI to invest in Mutual Fund SIP?

NRIs proceeding with their investments in Indian mutual funds has to follow the same set of procedures which apply for resident Indians.

The steps may be summarised as follows.

    1. A Completed application form has to be submitted at the Mutual Fund Company/AMC along with the relevant money instrument/s.

    2. Details of the bank account in India of the NRI investor must be furnished at the time of application. Alternatively, an online application can be made.

    3. KYC for mutual fund investments should be updated through any of these options AMC, KRA, or AMFI.

    4. Investment cannot be made in foreign currency. Rupee cheques drawn from the investor’s bank account in India or from abroad payable in a bank in India or Rupee drafts purchased abroad payable at the city where the application is made must be provided.

    In case you are providing a cheque or a draft, you must attach a Foreign Inward Remittance Certificate (FIRC) or a letter from the bank with it (cheque/draft) to verify the source of funds.

    5. Usual facilities like nomination, appointing a Power of Attorney are available for NRI investors as well.

Redemption Proceeds Modality – Mutual Fund SIP

The process of redemption of Mutual Fund SIP proceeds for NRI investors is not much different from that of resident individuals.

NOTE: If the individual invests in a Mutual Fund as a resident Indian, and later the residential status changes to an NRI then maturity proceeds will not qualify for repatriation.

Generally, the sale proceeds are directly credited to the holder’s account directly, or they are remitted through cheque in Indian Rupees. For investments which have been made a non-repatriable basis the proceeds will be sent directly to the NRO account of the individual.

In case of death of Mutual Funds holder, the nominee or legal heirs can redeem the units.

Dividends earned from the Mutual Fund SIP investments are repatriable.

Exit Load – Mutual Fund SIP

Well, most Mutual Fund SIPs clearly specify that withdrawals made before 1 year will attract an exit load. This means that some amount will be deducted if the investor redeems his holding before 1 year.

It is often that NRI investors feel that if they have been investing for say 3 years in Mutual Funds through the SIP route, then while redeeming the entire holding there will be no exit load. This is an incorrect premise primarily because the active SIP amounts which have been invested within the period of prior 12 months are considered as investments below 1 year and will hence attract exit load.

Here is an example of exit load computation at the time of redemption, for holdings less than 1 year. The quantum of exit load is assumed as 1 % of NAV.

Example: Mr. X is an NRI who has been investing Rs. 2000/- every month for the last 2 years approximately (starting since 1st June 2017). At the end of one year – as on 1st June 2018 2017, he has 230 units, and as on 1st May 2019 (at the end of one year and 11 months)he has 500 units.

Mr. X chooses to redeem 300 units on 1st May 2019. In such a case 230 of his units will not attract exit load; while the balance 70 units which are accumulated in the 11 months period will be charged with exit load since it is to be redeemed before completion of one year.

If the NAV is Rs.50 as on 1st May 2019, then Mr. X will receive:

    Units to be redeemed = 300
    = 230 + 70

    NAV of total Units to be redeemed = (230×50) + (70×50)
    = (11500) + (3500)
    = 15000

    Exit Load (1%) applicable only for the 70 units = 3500 × 1%
    = 35

    After deduction of Exit Load, Mr. X will receive an amount of = 15000 – 35
    = 14,965 Rs

Taxation – Mutual Fund SIP

As per prevalent Tax Laws in India, Mutual Fund SIPs are subjected to Capital Gains Tax as they are considered as Capital Assets.

Long-Term & Short-Term

The Mutual Fund holdings that exceed 12 months are subjected to Long Term Capital Gains tax. Long Term Capital Gains.

Mutual Fund holdings below a period of 12 months are subjected to Short Term Capital Gains tax. .

Dividends are however exempt for tax.
Mutual Fund SIP TaxationPFor NRI investors, TDS is mandatorily deducted for any capital gains tax which may be due.

NRIs can take the benefit of indexation where their Mutual Fund SIP Investments are attracting Capital Gains Tax.

TDS (Tax Deducted at Source) Rates for NRI Mutual Fund Investors 2019-20

Below are the applicable TDS rates for NRI Mutual Fund investors for FY 2019-20.

STCGLTCG
Equity Oriented Mutual Fund SIPs15 %10 %
Other than Equity Oriented Mutual Funds30 % (Assuming the investor is in the highest tax slab)Listed – 20 % (with indexation) and unlisted – 10 % (without indexation)

Points to Remember:

  • One of the essential things to remember for an NRI is that investing in Indian Rupee is fraught with the risk of exchange fluctuations.
  • It is also imperative that the investor is aware of the tax implications which might be applicable as per the law of their country of residence, for investing in India.
  • Overlooking the same before making the investment may result in an unpleasant surprise at the time of redemption in the form of an additional tax burden

India is an emerging market, and so we get higher returns compared to the US which is a developed country and brings medium returns. NRI investors, who want to benefit from the Indian Market, can opt for the best Mutual Fund Investments and choose to stay invested in the same through SIPs.

Handling the dynamics of the Equity Investment might not be everyone’s cup of tea, but investing through mutual fund SIPs will generally provide good returns without having to shoulder higher risks.

Mutual Fund SIP, as a channel for investing small amounts over a period, will help NRI Investors in growing wealth in a steady and disciplined

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