Benefits of Mutual Funds

Mutual fund (Advantages)
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  Benefits of Mutual Funds An investor can invest directly individual securities or indirectly through a financial inter-mediary. Globally, mutual funds have established themselves as the means of investment for the retail investor. Professional Management An average investor lacks the knowledge of capital market operations and does not have large resources to reap the benefits of investment. Mutual funds are managed by professional managers who have the requisite skills and experience to analyse the performance and prospects of companies. They make possible an organised investment strategy, which is hardly possible for an individual investor. Portfolio Diversification An investor undertakes risk if he invests all his funds in a single scrip. Mutual funds invest in a number of companies across various industries and sectors. This diversification reduces the riskiness of the investments. Reduction in Transaction Costs Compared to direct investing in the capital market, investing through the funds is relatively less expensive as the benefit of economies of scale is passed on to the investors. Liquidity Often, investors cannot sell the securities held easily, while in case of mutual funds, they can easily encash their investment by selling their units to the fund if it is an open-ended scheme or selling them on a stock exchange if it is a close-ended scheme. Convenience : Investing in mutual fund reduces paperwork, saves time and makes investment easy. Flexibility Mutual funds offer a family of schemes, and investors have the option of transferring their holdings from one scheme to the other. Tax Benefits Mutual fund investors now enjoy income tax benefits. Dividends received from mutual funds’ debt schemes are tax exempt to the overall  limit of Rs. 1,00,000 allowed under section 80C of the Income Tax Act. Transparency Mutual funds transparently declare their portfolio every month. Thus, an investor knows where his/her money is being deployed and in case they are not happy with the portfolio they can withdraw at a short notice. Stability to the Stock Market Mutual funds have a large amount of funds which provide them economies of scale by which they can absorb any losses in the stock market and continue investing in the stock market. In addition, mutual funds increase liquidity in the money and capital market. Equity Research Mutual funds can afford information and data required for investments as they have large amount of funds and equity research teams available with them. Protection of Interest of Investors Being regulated by SEBI, mutual funds have to adhere to the strict regulation designed to protect the interest of the investors.   Types of Mutual Fund Schemes The objectives of mutual funds are to provide continuous liquidity and higher yields with high degree of safety to investors. Based on these objectives, different types of mutual fund schemes have evolved. Functional Classification of Mutual Funds Open-ended Schemes In case of open-ended schemes, the mutual fund continuously offers to sell and repurchase its units at NAV or NAV-related prices. open-ended ones do not have to be listed on the stock exchange and can also offer repurchase soon after allotment. Investors can enter and exit the scheme any time during the life of the fund. Close-ended Schemes Close-ended schemes have a fixed corpus and a stipulated maturity period ranging between two to five years. Investors can invest in the scheme when it is launched. The scheme remains open for a period not exceeding 45 days. Investors in close-ended schemes can buy units only from the market, once initial subscriptions are over and thereafter the units are listed on the stock exchanges where they can be bought and sold. Portfolio Classification Here, classification is on the basis of nature and types of securities and objective of investment. Income Funds The aim of income funds is to provide safety of investments and regular income to investors. Such schemes invest predominantly in income-bearing instruments like bonds, debentures, government securities, and commercial paper. The return as well as the risk are lower in income funds as compared to growth funds. Growth Funds The main objective of growth funds is capital appreciation over the medium- to longterm. They invest most of the corpus in equity shares with significant growth potential and they offer highereturn to investors in the long-term. They assume the risks associated with equity investments. There is no guarantee or assurance of returns. These schemes are usually close-ended and listed on stock exchanges. Balanced Funds The aim of balanced scheme is to provide both capital appreciation and regular income. They divide their investment between equity shares and fixed interest-bearing instruments in such a proportion that the portfolio is balanced. The portfolio of such funds usually comprises companies with good profit and dividend track records Investment Classification Here, the funds can be classified on the basis of the asset class (types of securities) in which they are invested. 1.   Equity fund: If funds of a particular scheme are invested in equity shares, then it is as an equity fund. Equity funds are riskier compared to debt funds and they can be further classified on the basis of their investment strategy as diversified, aggressive, growth, value,  and sector funds. Examples of equity funds are index funds and equity-linked saving schemes. 2.   Debt fund: If funds of a particular scheme are invested in debt instruments, then it is a debt fund. Debt funds are characterised as low- risk and high liquidity investments. Debt funds invest in government securities, money market instruments, corporate debt instruments including float-ing rate bonds and non-convertible debentures, PSU bonds, securitised debt including asset-backed securities, and mortgage-backed securities and bank fixed deposits. Examples of debt funds are gilt funds, and fixed maturity plans, and floating rate funds. 3.   Hybrid fund: In order to provide the benefits of both equity and debt investment to the investors, some funds invest in both the asset classes and they are known as hybrid funds. Hybrid funds may be further categorised into equity-oriented fund and debt-oriented fund. Drawbacks of Mutual Funds Mutual funds have their drawbacks and may not be for everyone: No Guarantees: No investment is risk free. If the entire stock market declines in value, the value of mutual fund shares will go down as well, no matter how balanced the portfolio. Investors encounter fewer risks when they invest in mutual funds than when they buy and sell stocks on their own. However, anyone who invests through a mutual fund runs the risk of losing money. Fees and commissions: All funds charge administrative fees to cover their day-to-day expenses. Some funds also charge sales commissions or loads to compensate brokers, financial consultants, or financial planners. Even if you don't use a broker or other financial adviser, you will pay a sales commission if you buy shares in a Load Fund. Taxes: During a typical year, most actively managed mutual funds sell anywhere from 20 to 70 percent of the securities in their portfolios. If your fund makes a profit on its sales, you will pay taxes on the income you receive, even if you reinvest the money you made. Management risk: When you invest in a mutual fund, you depend on the fund's manager to make the right decisions regarding the fund's portfolio. If the manager does not perform as well as you had hoped, you might not make as much money on your investment as you expected. Of course, if you invest in Index Funds, you forego management risk, because these funds do not employ managers   

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Jan 9, 2019
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