A New Fund Offer (NFO) refers to the introductory offer of a scheme by an asset management company. A New fund offer is raised when a fund is launched, which helps the firm raise capital for purchasing securities. An investor can subscribe to an NFO only within a limited time period; hence, NFOs are functional on first-come-first serve basis.
Investors may purchase an NFO unit of the mutual fund scheme at an offer price. This price is usually fixed at Rs. 10 per unit. Once the limited time period expires, the units of the fund can be purchased at an offer prevailing at that point in time. A New Fund Offer (NFO) is mainly considered to be similar to an Initial Public Offering (IPO). However, there are a few differences between an NFO and an IPO which are written below.
Types of NFO
A New Fund Offer can be of two types-
- Open-ended funds: This fund is officially launched after the NFO ends. Investors can enter and exit the fund at any time after the launch.
- Close-ended funds: A close-ended fund does not allow the entry and/or exit of investors after the NFO period, until its maturity. This time period is typically 3-4 years from the launch date. However, the investors may buy and sell the units of such a fund on the stock market in theory, but the liquidity of such funds on the market tends to be low.
Why Invest in an NFO?
Investing in a New Fund Offer has the following advantages:
- New Strategies: Close-ended funds offer the chance to invest in new and innovative strategies that existing open-ended funds may not. The Edelweiss Maiden Opportunities Fund, launched in February 2018 was dedicated to investing in pre-IPO and recently listed companies. The DSP A.C.E Fund Series 2 and the Kotak India Growth Fund Series 4 were both launched with innovative hedging strategies which would protect your downside using put options. Being close-ended, you could have only invested in these funds in the NFO period.
- Flexibility: Close-ended funds have flexibility in terms of when to invest your money in the market. In other words, even if the investment timing is bad and the fund is launched at a market peak, the fund manager can hold on to your funds and invest some of them a little later. This flexibility helps fund managers outperform.
- Freedom from large flows: Open-ended funds are vulnerable to large inflows and outflows. A sudden outflow can force the fund manager to sell his stocks at rock-bottom prices, causing a loss to all unit holders in the fund. On the other hand, investors in close ended funds are locked-in for the tenure of the fund and the manager can focus on stock selection and monitoring. You can only invest in a close ended fund through an NFO.
- Lock-in Support: For better returns, the time spent in the market should be considered more important than timing the market. Most equity fund investors stay invested for only two years in the market, which greatly impairs their returns. This is simply because it is difficult for investors to stay immune from market panics and manias. However, the lock-in provided by close-ended funds of 3-4 years acts as a break, thereby preventing investors from falling prey to bad investing behaviours.
Difference between NFO and IPO
- However similar they may seem to be, it is important to note than an Initial Public Offering is quite different from a New Fund Offer. An IPO is the sale of a company’s shares prior to its listing on the stock market, whereas an NFO is an offer of a mutual fund scheme’s units.
- An IPO may be priced above or below the stock’s real value, as dictated by the fundamentals, which in the case of an NFO cannot be interpreted. The pricing of a mutual fund is simply dictated by the market value of the units it holds, which is also known as the Net Asset Value or NAV. This is true during the valid time period of NFO and even after the fund is launched. So, while investing, you do not have to worry about IPO-like huge price fluctuations and getting allotment in an NFO.
Guide to Investing in an NFO
Investing in a New Fund Offer is a simple task. The first step that needs to be completed is your KYC. Once this is done, you may log in to your Paisabazaar account and check for suitable plans that suit your investment objectives.
Investors find New Fund Offers value for money proposition and hence subscribe to it. NFOs help the investment companies meet their goals of increased Assets under Management. While investing in a New Fund Offer, it is suggested that you consider the following points.
- Keep a background check on the fund house. It must be ensured that the fund house you are investing in, has a substantial history of mutual fund investments.
- Asset allocation, risk involvement, returns expected, etc. are a few important points to be considered before investing your money in an NFO.
- NFOs are launched for new funds without an established track record, which may bring in an additional level of uncertainty.
- One must carefully go through the offer document and the investment process that the fund manager is going to follow. It is of utmost importance to keep yourself updated with what the fund manager is planning to do with your money.
- Since NFOs don’t have any performance history, it is not possible to track the fund’s performance. However, while investing, you must be wise enough to go through the returns aspect. Keep an ideal figure of the expected returns and analyze your fund accordingly.
- The minimum subscription amount for an NFO is an important criteria for deciding which fund you may want to invest in. Generally, the minimum subscription amount ranges from Rs. 500 to Rs. 5000.
- Some NFOs might even come with a lock-in period of around 3-5 years. You must be careful of the time period for which you want to keep your funds locked in and invest accordingly.
To gain information about the New Fund Offers that are currently active, you may visit the NFO page.