Mutual funds are a type of certified managed combined investment schemes that gathers money from many investors to buy securities. There is no such accurate definition of mutual funds, however the term is most commonly used for collective investment schemes that are regulated and available to the general public and open-ended in nature. Hedge funds are not considered as any type of mutual funds.
Mutual funds are identified by their principal investments. They are the 4th largest category of funds that are also known as money market funds, bond or fixed income funds, stock or equity funds and hybrid funds. Funds are also categorized as index based or actively managed.
In a mutual fund, investors pay the funds expenditure. There is some element of doubt in these expenses. A single mutual fund may give investors a choice of various combinations of these expenses by offering various different types of share combinations.
The fund manager is also known as the fund sponsor or fund management company. The buying and selling of the funds investments in accordance with the funds investment is the objective. A fund manager has to be a registered investment advisor. The same fund manager manages the funds and has the same brand name which is also known as a fund family or fund complex.
As long as mutual comply with requirements that are established in the internal revenue code, they will not be taxed on their income. Clearly, they must expand their investments, limit the ownership of voting securities, disperse most of their income to their investors annually and earn most of their income by investing in securities and currencies.
Mutual funds can pass taxable income to their investors every year. The type of income that they earn remains unchanged as it gets transferred to the shareholders. For e.g., mutual fund distributors of dividend income are described as dividend income by the investor. There is an exception: net losses that are incurred by a mutual fund are not distributed or passed through fund investors.
Mutual funds invest in various kinds of securities. The various types of securities that a particular fund may invest in are mentioned in the funds prospectus, which explain the funds investments objective, its approach and the permitted investments. The objective of the investment describes the kind of income that the fund is looking for. For e.g., a "capital appreciation" fund generally looks to earn most of its returns from the increase in prices of the securities it holds rather than from a dividend or the interest income. The approach of the investment describes the criteria that the fund manager may have used to select the investments for the fund.
The investment portfolio of a mutual funds investment is continuously monitored by the funds portfolio manager or managers who are either employed by the funds manager or the sponsor.
Advantages of Mutual funds are:
1) Increase in diversification.
2) Liquidity on a daily basis.
3) Professional investment management.
4) Capacity to participate in investments that may be available only for larger investors.
5) Convenience as well as service.
6) Government oversight.
7) Easier comparison
There are different types of Mutual funds as well. Here are some of them.
In open-end mutual funds, one must be willing to buy back their shares from investors at the end of every business day at the net asset value that is calculated for that day. Most of the open-end funds also sell shares to the public on every business day. These shares are also priced at a particular net asset value. A professional investment manager will oversee the portfolio, while buying or selling securities whichever is appropriate. The total investment in the funds will be variably based on share buying, share redemptions and fluctuation in the market variation. There are also no legal limits on the number of shares that can be issued.
Close-end funds generally issue shares to the public just once, when they are created via an initial public offering. These shares are then listed for trading on a stock exchange. Investors, who dont wish any longer to invest in the funds, cannot sell their shares back to the funds. Instead, they must sell their shares to another investor in the market as the price they may receive may be hugely different from its net asset value. It may be at a premium to net asset value (higher than the net asset value) or more commonly at a lesser to net asset value (lower than the net asset value). A professional investment manager will oversee the portfolio, in buying or selling securities whichever is appropriate.
Unit Investment Trusts
UIT or Unit Investment Trusts issue shares to the public just once when they are created. The investors in turn can cash in on the shares directly with the fund or they may also sell their shares in the market. UITs do not have any professional investment managers. Their portfolio of securities is established by the creation of the UITs and does not undergo any changes. UITs in general have a limited life span, which is limited at their creation.
What is a Systematic Investment Plan?
A Systematic Investment Plan or SIP is a smart and hassle free mode for investing money in mutual funds. SIP allows you to invest a certain pre-determined amount at a regular interval (weekly, monthly, quarterly, etc.). A SIP is a planned approach towards investments and helps you inculcate the habit of saving and building wealth for the future.
How does it work?
A SIP is a flexible and easy investment plan. Your money is auto-debited from your bank account and invested into a specific mutual fund scheme.You are allocated certain number of units based on the ongoing market rate (called NAV or net asset value) for the day.
Every time you invest money, additional units of the scheme are purchased at the market rate and added to your account. Hence, units are bought at different rates and investors benefit from Rupee-Cost Averaging and the Power of Compounding.
With volatile markets, most investors remain skeptical about the best time to invest and try to time their entry into the market. Rupee-cost averaging allows you to opt out of the guessing game. Since you are a regular investor, your money fetches more units when the price is low and lesser when the price is high. During volatile period, it may allow you to achieve a lower average cost per unit.
Power of Compounding
Albert Einstein once said, "Compound interest is the eighth wonder of the world. He who understands it, earns it... he who does not... pays it." The rule for compounding is simple - the sooner you start investing, the more time your money has to grow.
If you started investing Rs. 10000 a month on your 40th birthday, in 20 years time you would have put aside Rs. 24 lakhs. If that investment grew by an average of 7% a year, it would be worth Rs. 52.4 lakhs when you reach 60.
However, if you started investing 10 years earlier, your Rs. 10000 each month would add up to Rs. 36 lakh over 30 years. Assuming the same average annual growth of 7%, you would have Rs. 1.22 Cr on your 60th birthday - more than double the amount you would have received if you had started ten years later!
Other Benefits of Systematic Investment Plans
Disciplined Saving - Discipline is the key to successful investments. When you invest through SIP, you commit yourself to save regularly. Every investment is a step towards attaining your financial objectives.
Flexibility - While it is advisable to continue SIP investments with a long-term perspective, there is no compulsion. Investors can discontinue the plan at any time. One can also increase/ decrease the amount being invested.
Long-Term Gains - Due to rupee-cost averaging and the power of compounding SIPs have the potential to deliver attractive returns over a long investment horizon.
Convenience - SIP is a hassle-free mode of investment. You can issue a standing instruction to your bank to facilitate auto-debits from your bank account.
SIPs have proved to be an ideal mode of investment for retail investors who do not have the resources to pursue active investments.
Contact Us [through the Query form in right hand side] to learn more about Systematic Investment Plans and to start saving today!
What is Systematic Transfer Plan? How does it work?
Investors can use Systematic Transfer Plan (STP) as a defence mechanism in volatile market. This plan is used to transfer investment from one asset or asset type into another asset or asset type. Read this space to know all about STP and how does it work?
STP is a variant of SIP. STP is essentially transferring investment from one asset or asset type into another asset or asset type. The transfer happens gradually over a period. STP and its importance Systematic Transfer Plan is of two types; fixed STP, and capital appreciation STP. A fixed STP is where investors take out a fixed sum from one investment to another. A capital appreciation STP is where investors take the profit part out of one investment and invest in the other. Example of STP Suppose you have invested 5 lakhs in debt funds because you thought market is trading at close to peak. The PE ratio of the market is 25 and hence you think that fall is imminent. Hence you invested your money in debt fund. Now assume that your prophecy was right and the market indeed fell to a level where you can make entry to equities. However, there are overall weak sentiments which may push market further down. What is the best strategy in this case? You can take out 5 lakhs out of debt fund and invest in equity oriented mutual fund. The risk is that if the market goes further down, your fund value will also fall. This is a risky strategy. Moreover, if the weak sentiments prolong for some time, you will lose on the opportunity cost because your money is stuck with an investment which has gone down in value. There is other way which can really minimize the risk. The way is called STP. In this case, you can withdraw a fixed amount from your debt fund investment and invest in equity oriented fund. This can go on for several months depending upon your choice. For example, if you want to continue STP for 3 years, you can direct your fund to do this and the fund will withdraw money automatically from your debt fund and put into equity oriented fund every month. What this strategy achieves is that it essentially acts as a defence against any adverse movement of the market.
Important points to keep in mind STP is a possibly the second best investment strategy after SIP. It is one of the best risk mitigation strategies of the market. Investors though should keep the following points in mind. First, STP is a risk mitigation strategy. It will protect you from any adverse loss to a large extent. Investors should be clear about this. All risk mitigation strategies cap the loss but also reduce returns when market is bullish. Second, investors need to follow it with discipline. STP, just like SIP, benefits only when followed properly. Breaking STP because of short term market movement or interest rate movement will only harm your investment in long term. Finally, you need to understand the assets and the stages they are in.
In todays current investment markets, there has been an increase in the number of individuals deciding and adhering to an investment plan. Perhaps this is caused by the drastic increases in the cost of living or the profound insecurity about the future of social security, and retirement funds. Many families are looking for investments plans which help them build two funds - one for the future and one for the present. Most people are not interested in purchasing stocks and bonds. This is both time consuming and complicated.
Investment plans essential allow the an investor to buy a set number of stocks, bonds, and securities. Purchasing is done on a regular and consistent basis. Funds for the investment are taking directly from a check, savings, or money market accounts automatically. These money is used to buy stocks and bonds that were pre-decided upon. For the most part you can change any of variables at anytime. These variables include amount, frequency, and what stocks are bought. There may be fees associated with changes. Make sure these fees are known before you sign your contract with your broker. However, if you are looking for more freedom most online investments firms allow you to change your variables anytime for free.
The next important step in an investment plan is figure out how much money you would like to invest.
It is a good idea to have a household budget. This will allow you to clearly analyze how much extra money is available for investing. Due to the long term nature of investment plans, you would suffer a financial lost if you had pull out early because you invested more money then you could afford. Make sure the amount you pick is readily available for each time the investment comes up. Remember just because you have extra money now does not mean in the future you will. Many investors come up short several months after starting their investments plans because they did not budget for an emergency fun. If you do feel you are at point where you can not no longer make a regular investment more investment companies will allow you to reduce or hold the next schedule investment.
Now you know how an investment plan works and you have the money to invest. The next question is how do you decide what to invest in. Research is the key component to this step. It does take time to decide but it is well worth the effort. Make sure you find stocks that have a history of performing well in the long term. At the time of purchase they may be expensive however they will probably also continue to increases which will directly benefit you. As you feel more and more comfortable with investing feel free to add more stocks and bonds to your portfolios. Many financial experts believe that diversification is a great way to increase your investment profits.