Mutual funds are an ideal way of investment where an investor may choose to invest in a fund and asset of his choice, be it equity debt or gold. Professionally managed by financial experts, these funds help you create wealth in a tax-friendly way. Investments are flexible and give you an array of choice to buy, mix, churn, transfer or redeem conveniently.
But when we visit any Asset Management Company (AMC) website we come across various terms and jargons that are difficult to understand. So, let us go through the below-mentioned terms to get a clearer insight and understanding of the world of mutual funds.
AMC (Asset Management Company)
Asset Management Company is the company that manages funds of individuals. A mutual fund is a trust registered under the Indian Trust Act. It is initiated by a sponsor. A sponsor is a person who acts alone or with a corporate to establish a mutual fund. The sponsor then appoints an AMC to manage the investment, marketing, accounting and other functions pertaining to the fund. Various funds can be introduced by a single AMC according to investment objective. It is a pool where funds are collected and invested professionally and the returns are distributed proportionally.
In India all AMCs are required to get themselves registered with SEBI before starting its operations.
NAV (Net Asset Value)
Net Asset Value or NAV often heard and a familiar term when we talk about mutual funds. Most of us have heard this term and use it on and off but very few of us know what exactly this term connotes and how is it interpreted. In a layman’s language it is the price per share or unit of a mutual fund. As stocks have a share price, mutual funds have NAV. If we are buying 100 units of a mutual fund then we buy it at its NAV. Though share price fluctuates throughout the day at exchanges, the NAV does not change. NAV of a fund is calculated at end of the trading day.
NAV is calculated as: (Assets of the fund-Liabilities of the fund)/Number of outstanding units of the fund
It is the indicator of the fund’s performance over a period of time. If one tracks the NAV of a fund over a specific period he/she may be able to gauge how the fund has been performing and take investment decisions. A lower NAV does not mean that the fund is not doing well or a fund with a higher NAV is performing better. Absolute comparison is not the means by which two funds should be compared, the relative growth should be taken into account for the same period to ascertain fund performance and should be used to take investment decision.
Mutual funds come with growth option and dividend option. Under the growth option whatever interests, bonus, gains and dividends the fund earns is not paid out or distributed amongst the investors. It is ploughed back and re-invested in the scheme itself. This gets reflected in the NAV of the scheme, no interim payments whatsoever are made out of the fund holdings. The investor gets the return only upon redeeming the fund. The NAV of the growth option and dividend option of the same scheme varies a lot. The NAV of the growth option is much higher than the dividend option as no pay-outs are made.
If one is opting for an equity based mutual fund then the growth option is quite suitable as regards wealth creation. As no interim payments are made the benefit of compounding is enjoyed by the investor.
And also as per tax perspective long term capital gains from equity investment is non-taxable. But in case the fund is redeemed within one year then the tax rate is applicable as per investor’s current tax slab.
Dividend option in a scheme indicates that there would be intermediate payments to the investor in form of dividends. The rate and time of payment though is not pre-fixed, it depends entirely on the fund performance. Say the NAV of the fund rises from Rs. 11 to Rs. 13, then investors may be paid Rs. 1.5 as dividend. Post dividend payment the NAV would fall to Rs. 11.5 from Rs.13.
In this option, there are two sub options: Dividend Pay-out and Dividend Re-investment. In dividend pay-out the investor receives dividends in form of cash pay-out but in the latter option no cash is paid instead the dividends are re-invested and additional units are bought and credited to investor account.
This option is best suited for investors looking for short term investment, as dividends are not taxable in hands of the investor, though a dividend distribution tax is paid by the fund.
Asset allocation is the asset mix of equity, fixed interest rate instruments and cash or cash equivalents. The asset allocation of any fund depends upon the type and objective of the fund. The asset mix is thus decided by the fund manager. There may be pure equity funds, balanced funds, debt funds, money market funds etc. To know the asset allocation of any fund the investor may read the offer document and fund details before investment to make a proper choice according to individual risk appetite and investment objective.
The three S — SIP, STP, SWP — The terms are very familiar but to know the true meaning let’s read through.
SIP (Systematic Investment Plan)
This is the Systematic Investment Plan option and one of the favourite terms of mutual funds representative. SIP gives investors the liberty to invest in a scheme on a monthly basis with as little as Rs. 500 a month like bank recurring deposits. Every month fresh units are bought with the monthly payments of the investor at prevailing NAV of the day at the date chosen by the investor say 5th of every calendar month. The amount gets deducted automatically from the bank account of the investor. An ECS mandate needs to be submitted at time of investment with bank details, amount and specified date. This saves time and hassle of the investor from remembering date every month. It also helps him enjoy the market fluctuations as the investment is not done as lump sum. The rupee cost average mechanism helps him purchase units at different NAV. If the market falls he gets higher units and if the market rises he makes money on all the units purchased previously.
STP (Systematic Transfer Plan)
Systematic Transfer Plan gives the investor a leverage to utilise his funds in a disciplined manner. Say somebody decides to invest 10 lakh rupees in equity mutual fund, then instead of investing at one go, he may put the entire amount in debt fund of the same fund house and opt for STP. In this case every month or week as he decides a pre-determined sum shall be transferred to equity fund. The entire amount gets transferred to equity fund over a span of time safeguarding the investor from market volatility. It is quite flexible. After a certain time say 5 years again if one feels that he has accumulated enough in the equity fund he may opt for STP from equity fund to debt fund.
SWP (Systematic Withdrawal Plan)
Systematic Withdrawal Plan as the name suggests gives investor an option to withdraw his accumulated fund over a span of time. It may also be used as pension for individuals. For instance a person starts SIP with a meagre sum of Rs. 5000 a month at the age of 30 and continues investing till the age of 60; his investment would be Rs. 18 lakhs whereas at a CAGR of 12% the accumulated wealth would stand at Rs. 1.5crore. From here he may choose to withdraw a monthly pre-determined amount at a pre-determined date. It would be as good as pension payments.
New Fund Offer is similar to an IPO of any company. It is an offering made to public to raise capital for a particular scheme. The offer is open for a stipulated time at unit price of usually Rs.10. After the offer is closed, anyone who intends to opt for the fund can only do so at the NAV. Whenever a new scheme is launched by an AMC it is done through NFO route to raise capital from public to buy equities, bonds etc.
FMP (Fixed Maturity Plans)
Fixed Maturity Plans are closed ended funds. By closed ended we mean that the scheme remains open for a specific time period and post that no further investment can be made in the fund. Neither the fund can be redeemed before maturity. It is popular because of its tax treatment. Most FMPs are issued for a period of more than 365 days, to make it lucrative by lowering long term capital gains tax. Somebody who is in the highest tax bracket stands to gain as long term capital gains tax of 10% without indexation and 20% with indexation would be applicable. So when it is compared to a bank FD, an investor gains on tax perspective. But the biggest difference is that there is no guarantee of returns and capital protection. In a Fixed deposit the capital is safe and the return is guaranteed. No pre-mature withdrawals can be made from FMPs. Hence this instrument works out to be beneficial only for people who fall in the highest tax bracket.
AUM (Asset Under Management)
Asset Under Management means the total sum of investors which the AMC is controlling. It is the total size of assets which these AMCs manage for their client. An AUM of an AMC is the sum of total assets held less its liabilities. These funds are used to transact and buy shares, bonds etc. on behalf of its client. Once the contribution is made by the client, his fund can be used to buy or sell shares by the fund manager without his permission. AUM keeps fluctuating due to fresh investments and redemptions done on a daily basis. AUM is one of the biggest parameter to attract new customers by the AMC. The larger the AUM, it reflects trust of investors and sound fund performance of the AMC. If the AUM is too new and small, people are sceptic to invest with such companies.
Performance is good, better or best can only be ascertained if there is a tool to compare two things. Similarly whether a fund is doing well or not can be said only if we compare it to an underlying benchmark. A pure large-cap equity fund is usually compared to BSE-Sensex or NSE-Nifty. If in the same period say Sensex or nifty generated a return of 10% whereas the fund was able to give a return of 12% it is said that the fund has outperformed its benchmark index and is considered a well performing fund. All funds have a benchmark index to be compared with, be it equity or bond. An individual should always understand the fund performance in accordance to its benchmark before investing.
There are two types of load, Entry load and Exit load. To meet the administrative and operating expense of a fund when any charge is collected at time of investment it is called Entry load and if the charge is collected at time of redemption it is called Exit load. All funds do not charge loads. It depends upon fund to fund.
The above mentioned terms will help understand mutual funds better. Making investors not just take investment decision but informed investment decisions.