To ensure that all schemes launched by mutual funds are distinct in terms of asset allocation and investment strategy, SEBI proposed categorisation and rationalisation of mutual fund schemes.
Nikhil Walavalkar | Mar 16, 2018 02:24 PM IST | Source: Moneycontrol.com
Mutual funds are busy changing the names of their schemes. Securities Exchange Board of India’s (Sebi) directive on the rationalisation and categorisation of mutual fund schemes has made mutual funds to drop the fancy names and fall in line. The idea is to simplify the process of understanding the mutual fund offerings and choosing schemes for investments by investors. But as the names change, there are some investors who may start worrying about their investments. If the investment you have invested into has disappeared or renamed do not get worked up. Do read on to understand how it impacts you.
To ensure that all schemes launched by mutual funds are distinct in terms of asset allocation and investment strategy, SEBI proposed categorisation and rationalisation of mutual fund schemes. The SEBI prescription allows fund houses to offer schemes in 10 types of equity funds, 16 categories of bond funds and 6 categories of hybrid funds. Fund houses are also allowed to launch index funds, fund of funds and solution oriented schemes.
“SEBI has clearly defined norms and the asset allocation and the norms that will specify each category,” says Rupesh Bhansali, head of mutual funds, GEPL Capital. For example, a large cap fund must invest at least 80% of the money in large cap stocks. Large cap stocks are defined as top 100 companies in terms of full market capitalisation. “By introducing these norms the regulator has ensured that the apple to apple comparison of mutual fund schemes is possible,” says Bhansali.
The mutual fund houses too have started responding with change in names and investment strategy of the schemes, wherever applicable. For example, DSP Blackrock Focus 25 Fund is renamed as DSP Blackrock Focus Fund. Analysts used to treat it as a large cap fund so far. However, going ahead it will be placed in Focused Fund category.
The process of aligning with the SEBI norms will go on for a while and more fund houses will make necessary changes. The process however should not stop you from investing in mutual funds.
“Investors should first understand the category of mutual funds as each one of these has distinct characteristics,” says Swarup Mohanty, CEO of Mirae Asset Mutual Fund. Find out where your scheme is going to be placed and see what kind of investment strategy it will employ.
“If the scheme’s investment strategy and portfolio construction changes, then there is a very high possibility of changes in risks and returns associated with investing in that scheme,” Renu Pothen, head of research, FundSuperMart.com. For example, if a fund that was a primarily large cap scheme is shifted to a large and mid-cap scheme, then the risk associated with the scheme goes up as the fund manager invests minimum 35% of the money in mid cap companies. Possible higher returns come on the back of higher risks.
“The investor must assess the risk-reward in the light of his financial goals and his risk appetite before investing in that scheme. If there is a mismatch between the investor’s risk profile and the risk-reward offered by the scheme, the investor will be better off selling out his existing investments. He can look for better options elsewhere,” says Renu Pothen. While exiting a mutual fund scheme, there are implications such as exit loads and capital gains, which investors should not ignore.
“When there is a change in fundamental attribute of the scheme, the investors are given exit option without any exit load,” points out Bhansali. This exit option is not at all compulsory and should be availed if and only if there is a mismatch between your expectations and the offering. However, the capital gains will be payable in case of redemption in bond funds. Though the exits in current financial year from equity funds will lead to no tax on long term capital gains, the same will attract 10% tax after April 1, in case the gains exceed Rs 1 lakh.
Changes in regulatory framework and volatile markets may add to worries of mutual fund investors. However, mutual fund investors must take this opportunity to relook at their investment plans, say experts. If you do not understand the fine nuances of equity funds, better stick to multicap funds and let the fund manager decide what asset allocation should be within equity as an asset class.
“It is time to reassess your risk profile. Do not get carried away with high returns over last couple of years. Instead be realistic with your return expectation while building your financial plans and use short term volatility to your advantage by investing through systematic investment plan,” advises Mohanty.