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  • What is a Mutual Fund?

    Mutual Fund is a mechanism for collecting funds from investors by issuing units to them and then investing funds in securities on behalf of them. Investments in securities are spread across various sectors and industries, thereby minimizing the risk of losing money. The profits or losses are shared by all the investors in proportion to their investment.

    The investors of mutual funds are called unit holders. Mutual fund units are issued to the investors in proportion to the quantum of money invested by them. A mutual fund is required to be registered with Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) which regulates securities markets before it can collect funds from the public.

  • What are the benefits of investing in Mutual Funds?

    Mutual funds are packed with a bundle of benefits. A few are mentioned below:

    • Managed by experts: Mutual Funds are managed by qualified and experienced professionals. Investors may have reasonable capability but to assess a financial instrument, a professional analytical approach is required. Access to research, information, time and methodology also helps them to make sound investment decisions.
    • Reduced risk with diversification: Mutual Funds invest in a number of stocks reducing the risk. It provides small investors with an opportunity to invest in a larger basket of securities.
    • Time-efficient option: Investors save their time and effort of tracking investments, collecting income and more from various issuers.
    • Small investments: It helps investors to invest in small amounts as and when they have surplus funds to invest.
    • Transparent dealings: Mutual Funds are well regulated & governed by SEBI (Mutual Funds) Regulations, 1996 thereby ensuring transparency of investments.
    • Easy liquidation: Funds like open-ended funds have liquid investment, as it can be redeemed at any time with the fund, unlike direct investment in stocks/bonds.
  • How Mutual Funds work?

    Mutual funds are pooled investments. A common pool of money invested by many investors is managed by fund investment managers. The fund managers have in-depth knowledge about how the market works and they use their skills and judgment in investing the total amount, which is called corpus. The corpus is invested in securities like shares, debentures and money market instruments. Profit generated through these investments is then distributed amongst investors in proportion to their investments made.

  • What are the risks involved with investing in a mutual fund?

    Mutual funds are known best for minimizing the risks involved in market investments through its diverse and professional management. Yet, the risks led by price fluctuation, liquidity, credit risks, etc. cannot be avoided. An investor may select schemes prudently depending on his risk taking capability, keep a track of market happenings and take proactive actions if needed.

    Equity based funds have higher exposure to risk since investments are made in the stock market and are suited for the high risk takers. Investors who have lower risk exposure may opt for debt funds as the risk exposure is relatively lower. Average risk takers have the option of investing in Hybrid funds which involve investment in equity and debt in pre-determined proportion.

  • How safe is it to invest in mutual funds?

    Mutual Funds are among the most transparent collective investment vehicles in India. They are under the scrutiny of the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI). SEBI protects the interest of the capital market investors and ensures prudent functioning of mutual funds.

    SEBI has mandated elaborate investment guidelines and reporting requirements to ensure that mutual fund investments are under its regulatory purview. It also stipulates the investment of money by the investors and their valuation on an ongoing basis.

    Association of Mutual Funds in India (AMFI), a trade body of mutual funds in India also involves itself in devising compliance and best practices guidelines in the industry to ensure professional ethics.

  • Can non-resident Indians (NRIs) invest in mutual funds?

    Yes, non-resident Indians can also invest in mutual funds. NRIs will get all the details pertaining to this in the offer documents of the schemes.

  • What is an Asset Management Company?

    Asset Management Company (AMC) is essentially a Mutual Fund company that invests the funds collected by its mutual fund schemes into securities as specified in the investment objective of each particular scheme. They provide the investors with more diversification and investing options than they would have by themselves.

  • What is NAV?

    NAV or Net Asset Value is the per unit market value of the mutual fund. It is the price at which investors purchase or sell fund units. It is calculated by dividing the total value of all the assets in a portfolio, minus the liabilities by the total number of units of the scheme. Since market value of underlying holdings changes every day, the NAV of a scheme also varies on a day to day basis. For example, if the market value of securities of a mutual fund scheme is Rs 100 lakhs and the mutual fund has issued 10 lakhs units of Rs. 10 each to the investors, then the NAV per unit of the fund is Rs.10. NAV is required to be disclosed by the mutual funds on a regular basis - daily or weekly - depending on the type of scheme.

  • How often is the NAV declared?

    NAV for every mutual fund scheme is declared at the end of every business day. It plays a key role in mutual fund investments. One can find the NAV details in newspapers, mutual fund websites or the website of the Association of Mutual Funds in India (AMFI) - www.amfiindia.com.

  • How is NAV calculated?

    NAV (in Rs terms) = Market or Fair Value of Scheme's investments + Current Assets - Current Liabilities and Provision / Number of Units outstanding under Scheme on the Valuation Date

  • What are the different types of mutual fund schemes?

    Schemes are defined as per the Maturity Period:

    • Open-ended Fund/ Scheme: An open ended fund or scheme is available for subscription and repurchase on a continuous basis and does not have a fixed maturity period. Investors can buy and sell units at Net Asset Value (NAV) related prices which are declared on a daily basis. One of the key features of open-end schemes is liquidity.
    • Close-ended Fund/ Scheme: With a stipulated maturity period e.g. 5-7 years, the fund is open for subscription only during a specified period at the time of launch of the scheme. It is open for investments at the time of the initial public issue and thereafter they can buy or sell the units of the scheme on the stock exchanges where the units are listed. An option of selling back the units to the mutual fund through periodic repurchase at NAV related prices, gives an exit route to the investors. SEBI Regulations stipulate that exit routes are offered either through repurchase facility or through listing on stock exchanges. NAV is disclosed on weekly basis.
    • Interval Funds / Scheme: Interval funds include features of both open-ended and close-ended funds. The funds are close-ended for the first couple of years and open-ended thereafter. Some funds do allow fresh subscriptions and redemption at fixed times every year (for e.g. every six months) so that the administrative aspects of daily entry or exit can be saved while providing reasonable liquidity.
    • Growth / Equity Funds: Growth funds provide capital appreciation over medium to long-term periods. These schemes have comparatively high risks as major part of the capital is invested in equities. The investors are given options like dividend option, capital appreciation, etc in their application form to choose their preferences from. The investors can also opt to change their options at a later date. Growth schemes benefit investors that have a long-term outlook and are seeking appreciation over a period of time.
    • Income / Debt Funds: Income funds invest in fixed income securities such as bonds, corporate debentures, Government securities and money market instruments and provide regular and steady income to investors. Such funds are less risky as compared to equity schemes. The equity market fluctuations don’t affect these schemes, however, opportunities of capital appreciation are also limited. The NAVs of such funds are affected because of change in interest rates in the country. If the interest rates fall, NAVs of such funds are likely to increase in the short run and vice versa. However, long term investors may not bother about these fluctuations.
    • Balanced Fund: These schemes are aimed at providing growth and regular income. These schemes invest in both equities and fixed income securities as per the proportion indicated in the offer documents. These funds match the needs of investors looking for moderate growth. They generally invest 40-60% in equity and debt instruments. These funds are also affected by stock market price fluctuations. However, NAVs of such funds are likely to be less volatile compared to pure equity funds.
    • Money Market or Liquid Fund: Money market or liquid funds are aimed at providing easy liquidity. They also provide preservation of capital and moderate income. They are appropriate for corporate and individual investors as a means to park their surplus funds for short periods. These schemes invest exclusively in safer short-term instruments such as treasury bills, certificates of deposit, commercial paper and inter-bank call money, government securities, etc. The returns on these schemes fluctuate much less as compared to other funds.
    • Gilt Fund: These funds invest exclusively in government securities, which have no default risks. Like income or debt oriented schemes, NAVs of these schemes fluctuate with changes in interest rates and other economic factors.
    • Index Funds: These schemes invest in the securities in the same weightage comprising of an index. Index Funds replicate the portfolio of a particular index such as the BSE Sensitive index, S&P NSE 50 index (Nifty), etc. NAVs of such schemes change with the rise or fall in the index though not exactly by the same percentage due to some factors known in technical terms as a "tracking error". All the necessary disclosures in this regard are made in the offer document of the mutual fund scheme.
  • How can I monitor or track the performance of mutual funds I have invested in?

    It is a good practice to monitor the performance of the mutual fund schemes one has invested in at fixed intervals. This helps to take timely decisions in case they need to exit from the investment. Investors can monitor their investments with:

    • A fund fact sheet: It is like a report card that indicates the health of the scheme. Published by a fund house, it enlists details of each of the schemes managed by the fund house. It usually consists of details of the portfolio which depicts the investments made by the scheme, performance of the scheme and size and investment details of the scheme.
    • Analysts’ reports: Investors can also get the performance of mutual fund scheme in the analysts’ reports in the media.
    • Websites: There are a number of websites that offer in-depth analysis of mutual fund schemes in terms of comparable schemes, the benchmark index and average performance of all schemes in the category the scheme falls in.
  • Do I need to have a Demat account to transact in Mutual funds?

    If investors are investing in schemes like ETFs, then they must have a Demat account as these schemes are compulsorily allotted in Demat mode. For allotment in physical mode there is no need for a Demat account. As per recent developments, units of all mutual funds schemes can be allotted in both the modes i.e. Physical as well as in Demat. Also, the depositories have allowed the DPs to facilitate holding of mutual funds in Demat account.

  • What is a Direct Plan?

    In a Direct Plan a mutual fund scheme allows investors to invest in it by directly interacting with the Asset Management Company. There is no need of involving a broker or a distributor. The option of investing in a scheme through direct plan is mandatory by the SEBI Circular no. CIR/IMD/DF/21/2012, dated September 13, 2012.

  • Is every investor eligible to invest in a Direct Plan?

    Yes. All categories and types of investors can invest in Direct Plans as per the needs of the portfolio. One needs to be careful that the investments are not routed through any distributor or broker.

  • What is the difference between Regular Plan and Direct Plan?

    The most important difference between a Regular Plan and Direct Plan is the involvement of a broker and brokerage in the transaction. In a Regular Plan, one invests through a broker, while in a Direct Plan; one can directly interact with the Asset Management Company without involving a broker. As the commission payment is skipped in Direct Plan, the expense ratio is less than the existing plan of the same mutual fund scheme. The NAVs of the two plans also differ as the expenses charged on both the plans are not the same.

  • What is new fund offer?

    A New Fund Offer or NFO is either an offer for a new mutual fund scheme being launched by a company or the launch of additional units of existing close-ended funds that are available for investing.

  • What is dividend option?

    The dividend option distributes gains through dividends declared. The fund pays out dividend to the investors and upon payment, NAV of the unit drops by that percentage. Debt schemes also have to pay dividend distribution tax on the dividend distributed. This tax payment also costs the NAV. The reduced NAV, after a dividend payout, is called ex-dividend NAV. After the announcement of the dividend, and until it is paid out, it is referred to as cum-dividend NAV. The dividend option does not change the number of units held by the investors. The investor receives the dividend while the NAV goes down to reflect the impact of the dividend paid, and if applicable, the dividend distribution tax on the dividend.

    A little different from dividend option is a dividend re-investment option. The NAV declines to the extent of dividend and the distribution tax. But unlike in dividend option, the investor’s dividend is re invested in the same scheme and the investor is given additional units calculated based on the dividend amount and prevailing NAV.

  • What is growth option?

    The growth option declares no dividend, which means there are no re-investment options either. The dividend distribution tax is also not applicable on these funds. This is why the NAV would capture the full value of portfolio gains in the growth option.

  • What is Systematic Investment Plan (SIP)?

    SIPs help in investing a fixed amount at specified periods in various mutual funds scheme. It is a great way to bring discipline in investment habits and helps investors plan for their future. 3 prime benefits of investing in SIP:

    • Disciplined investment: SIPs ensures that investments are done at a pre-determined schedule, regularly
    • Smaller investments: SIP lets investors invest in small amounts. Thus, investments are not burdensome yet rewarding in the long run with its returns.
    • Average investment cost: In an equity mutual fund, investors can earn more units when prices are falling and fewer units when the prices are rising, which helps them in averaging the investment cost.
  • What is Systematic Withdrawal Plan (SWP)?

    SWP is an investment that allows investors to withdraw money from their existing mutual fund account at predetermined intervals. If the investor wants a steady stream of cash inflows from the investments, opting for SWP serves is the best choice.

  • What is Systematic Transfer Plan (STP)?

    To balance the risk factor involved in investing lump sum of investment money in equity fund or debt fund, Systematic Transfer Plan is the best option. STP could be seen as a combination of SIP and SWP, wherein the investor transfers a fixed amount of money from one scheme to another, usually between debt fund and equity fund. The investor here can avoid the risk of investing all of capital in equity mutual fund as this investment could be risky subject to markets’ volatility and its relative impact on returns in equity fund. On the other hand, investment only in debt fund will create moderate income. An STP thus helps to strike a balance between risk and return. It helps average the risk and returns involved in investments. If investors already have investment in equity scheme but want to exit, they can avoid the risk of a sharp fall in equity markets on the date of lump sum withdrawal by using STP. Investing in STP will help in gradually pulling out money from equity funds.

    STP invests a specific amount at specific intervals in an equity fund. This helps in averaging the cost of equity investment as more units are received when prices are falling and lesser units are received when prices are rising. STP rebalances the portfolio by reallocating investments from debt to equity or vice versa. If investment in debt increases, the money can be reallocated to equity funds through systematic transfer plan and if investment in equity goes up, money can be conveniently switched from equity to debt fund.

    There are two types of STPs:

    • Fixed STPs: A fixed sum will be transferred to the selected transferee scheme under various plans/options.
    • Capital Appreciation STP: The amount of capital that is appreciated gets transferred to the selected transferee scheme under various plans/options. The original lump sum amount invested in the Transferor scheme remains unchanged.
  • What is a Switch?

    The option offered to investors to shift their investment from one scheme to another within that fund is called a Switch. The process of switching involves a fee. Switching is a good way for the investors to allocate their investment among the schemes in order to match their altering investment needs, risk profiles or changing circumstances during their lifetime.

  • What is KYC and how to get KYC verified?

    Know Your Customer (KYC) is a process of to identify and verify the identity of a company’s clients. In order of make the process uniform and to avoid duplication in the process across the intermediaries in the securities market; SEBI vide Circular No. MIRSD/SE/Cir-21/2011 dated October 5, 2011, SEBI (KYC Registration Agency) Regulations, 2011 and Circular No. MIRSD/ Cir-26/ 2011 dated December 23, 2011 introduced the concept of KYC Registration Agency (KRA) effective January 01, 2012.

    Fill the new KYC application form:

    Documents evidencing Proof of Identity and Proof of Address to be provided (List of requisite KYC documents for individuals and non-individuals are mentioned in the revised KYC Application Form)

    In-Person Verification (IPV): Complete IPV from any of the following:

    • Any SEBI registered intermediary
    • NISM/AMFI certified distributors who are KYD compliant
    • Scheduled Commercial Banks (in case of any applications received directly)
    • CAMS (Registrar and Transfer Agents) employees

    Submit the KYC form along with necessary documents at the nearest Investor Services centre or any other intermediaries of KRA's as mandated by SEBI. Upon receipt and verification of the above documents, a KYC acknowledgement will be issued to each applicant.

    Investor must ensure that KYC compliance is mandatory at the time of submission of each subscription request with the designated Official Points of Acceptance. In case of applications without valid KYC are liable to be rejected. Once the investor has done the KYC with a SEBI registered intermediary, the investor need not undergo the same process again with another intermediary including Mutual Funds. However, the AMC reserves the right to carry out fresh KYC of the investors or undertake enhanced KYC measures to commensurate with the risk profile of investor. The existing KYC compliant investors can continue to invest as per the current practice. But in case of any updation in the process, they must comply with the new KYC requirements including IPV as mandated by SEBI.

  • Do existing investors need to repeat KYC formalities?

    If PAN and KYC details of the investors are already updated in the company’s records then they don’t need to repeat the formalities. In case any further details are required as per new regulations, the investor will be notified. They can then submit the details at any of the mentioned service centres. New investors who have not completed their KYC process need to complete formalities as per SEBI’s KRA regulations.

  • What is Entry Load?

    When an investor purchases units of Mutual Funds, a non refundable fee is added to the units’ NAV by the Asset Management Company. This fee is termed as entry load.

  • What is Exit Load?

    When an investor redeems or transfers his units between schemes of mutual fund, a non refundable fee is deducted from the NAV at the time of such transaction by the Asset Management Company. This fee is known as exit load.

  • What is redemption price?

    When investors sell units of open-ended scheme, the redemption price at that time is called redemption price. The redemption price is same as NAV, unless the fund levies an exit load in which case the redemption price will be lower than NAV.

  • What is repurchase price?

    The price at which a close-ended scheme repurchases its units is called repurchase price. Repurchase can be at NAV as well as have an exit load.

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