These days you are hearing more and more about mutual funds as a means of investment. If you are like most people, you probably have most of your money in a bank savings account and your biggest investment may be your home. Apart from that, investing is probably something you simply do not have the time or knowledge to get involved in. You are not the only one. This is why investing through mutual funds has become such a popular way of investing.
What is a Mutual Fund?
A mutual fund is a pool of money from numerous investors who wish to save or make money just like you. Investing in a mutual fund can be a lot easier than buying and selling individual stocks and bonds on your own. Investors can sell their shares when they want.
Professional Management. Each fund's investments are chosen and monitored by qualified professionals who use this money to create a portfolio. That portfolio could consist of stocks, bonds, money market instruments or a combination of those.
Fund Ownership. As an investor, you own shares of the mutual fund, not the individual securities. Mutual funds permit you to invest small amounts of money, however much you would like, but even so, you can benefit from being involved in a large pool of cash invested by other people. All shareholders share in the fund' s gains and losses on an equal basis, proportionately to the amount they've invested.
Mutual Funds are Diversified: By investing in mutual funds, you could diversify your portfolio across a large number of securities so as to minimise risk. By spreading your money over numerous securities, which is what a mutual fund does, you need not worry about the fluctuation of the individual securities in the fund's portfolio.
Benefits of Mutual Funds
Stocks, bonds, money market instruments-as an investor, you have a wide variety of choices, and it would be difficult to find one type of investment vehicle that effectively takes advantage of all of to day investment options. That's why you may want to consider diversifying your portfolio over a variety of investment vehicles as mutual funds do for you.
In addition to providing you with the flexibility to create an investment plan based on your individual goals, mutual funds offer many other advantages such as professional management, affordability and diversification.
Benefits of investing in a mutual fund?
As an investor, you would like to get maximum returns on your investments, but you may not have the time to continuously study the stock market to keep track of them. You need a lot of time and knowledge to decide what to buy or when to sell. A lot of people take a chance and speculate, some get lucky, most don t. This is where mutual funds come in. Mutual funds offer you the following advantages :
Professional management. Qualified professionals manage your money, but they are not alone. They have a research team that continuously analyses the performance and prospects of companies. They also select suitable investments to achieve the objectives of the scheme. It is a continuous process that takes time and expertise which will add value to your investment. Fund managers are in a better position to manage your investments and get higher returns.
Diversification. The cliché, "don't put all your eggs in one basket" really applies to the concept of intelligent investing. Diversification lowers your risk of loss by spreading your money across various industries and geographic regions. It is a rare occasion when all stocks decline at the same time and in the same proportion. Sector funds spread your investment across only one industry so they are less diversified and therefore generally more volatile.
More choice. Mutual funds offer a variety of schemes that will suit your needs over a lifetime. When you enter a new stage in your life, all you need to do is sit down with your financial advisor who will help you to rearrange your portfolio to suit your altered lifestyle.
Affordability. As a small investor, you may find that it is not possible to buy shares of larger corporations. Mutual funds generally buy and sell securities in large volumes which allow investors to benefit from lower trading costs. The smallest investor can get started on mutual funds because of the minimal investment requirements. You can invest with a minimum of Rs.500 in a Systematic Investment Plan on a regular basis.
Tax benefits. Investments held by investors for a period of 12 months or more qualify for capital gains and will be taxed accordingly. These investments also get the benefit of indexation.
Liquidity. With open-end funds, you can redeem all or part of your investment any time you wish and receive the current value of the shares. Funds are more liquid than most investments in shares, deposits and bonds. Moreover, the process is standardised, making it quick and efficient so that you can get your cash in hand as soon as possible.
Rupee-cost averaging. With rupee-cost averaging, you invest a specific rupee amount at regular intervals regardless of the investment's unit price. As a result, your money buys more units when the price is low and fewer units when the price is high, which can mean a lower average cost per unit over time. Rupee-cost averaging allows you to discipline yourself by investing every month or quarter rather than making sporadic investments.
Transparency. The performance of a mutual fund is reviewed by various publications and rating agencies, making it easy for investors to compare fund to another. As a unitholder, you are provided with regular updates, for example daily NAVs, as well as information on the fund's holdings and the fund manager's strategy.
Regulations. All mutual funds are required to register with SEBI (Securities Exchange Board of India). They are obliged to follow strict regulations designed to protect investors. All operations are also regularly monitored by the SEBI.
Mutual Fund Objectives
There are many different types of mutual funds, each with its own set of goals. The investment objective is the goal that the fund manager sets for the mutual fund when deciding which stocks and bonds should be in the fund's portfolio.
For example, an objective of a growth stock fund might be: This fund invests primarily in the equity markets with the objective of providing long-term capital appreciation towards meeting your long-term financial needs such as retirement or a child' s education.