Balanced Funds have an overall equity spread of almost 65% either in the large, mid or small cap stocks.
Navneet Dubey | Apr 04, 2018 11:27 AM IST | Source: Moneycontrol.com
Balance funds are the funds which have exposure to two main asset classes – equity and debt. This fund gives you exposure to stocks as well as money market instrument. These funds have the equity orientation as around 65% of your monies get invested in equity and remaining 35% in debt funds. The risk associated towards equity exposure is almost of the same amount as the risk is associated with any normal equity fund do have. So, are these balanced mutual funds really ‘balanced’ enough? SEBI has recently proposed to change the name of the balanced fund into three categories – Aggressive Hybrid Fund, Balanced Hybrid Fund and Conservative Hybrid Fund.
We bring you the main features of balanced funds and tell you how to go about making the most of your investment in them:
What does the equity spread consist of?
Balanced funds have an overall equity spread of almost 65% either in the large, mid or small cap which can be extended even towards micro-cap funds. Having flexibility towards too many categorisations, the fund manager gets the liberty to choose stocks, however, that may welcome more risk to your portfolio. Therefore, check the holdings before investing in these balanced funds as the range between mid-caps to micro-cap can be risky if you are a conservative investor.
What are new balanced funds?
As per the regulator (SEBI), the categorization of these balanced funds will get further differentiated into various sub-heads to provide more clarity to mutual fund investors. These can be termed as follows:
The Aggressive Hybrid Fund: It will invest in equities & equity related instruments between 65% and 80% of total assets and debt instruments between 20% and 35% of total assets.
The Balanced Hybrid Fund: It will invest in equities & equity related instruments between 40% and 60% of total assets and debt instruments between 40% and 60% of total assets. However, no arbitrage would be permitted in the scheme.
The Conservative Hybrid Fund: It will invest in equities and its related instrument between 10% to 25% of overall assets and debt instruments between 75% and 90% of total assets.
Other hybrid funds which investors can further look to make investments can be – Arbitrage fund, Dynamic asset allocation fund and Multi-asset allocation funds.
To provide more clarity to investors, these new categories of balanced funds termed as new types of hybrid funds will help investors to understand their funds in a much better way. Not only this, fund managers will also get clarity to structure their fund as per new rules, getting clear direction as to which stocks to select while designing the scheme. Hopefully, in future, there may be no room for confusion while selecting balanced funds for investing and switching between high risky to a less risky portfolio.
Tax treatment: Debt and equity-oriented funds
Currently, all the balanced funds today are having an average exposure of 65% to equities, they come under the ambit of equity oriented fund. However, in future the new conservative hybrid funds can get debt tax treatment as more of the exposure is tuned towards debt asset class.
However, in overall mutual fund taxation structure, equity funds and debt funds are taxed as below:
Equity Oriented Fund
LTCG: There is no long-term capital gain tax on equity funds after one year if gains do not exceed Rs 1 lakh. However, if capital gains exceed Rs 1 Lakh, the realised amount will get taxed at 10%.
STCG: Short-term gains are taxed at 15%. Where gains are realised within one year.
Debt Oriented Fund
LTCG: These mutual fund schemes are taxed at 20% long-term capital gain tax and
STCG: When realised within 3 years, these are taxed at marginal tax rate where a maximum taxation of 30% can be applied to short-term capital gain tax for both Resident Individuals & HUF.
If you want better returns on your investments with relatively less risk compared to directly investing your money in the stock markets, then mutual funds may be a good option for you.
By: Sanjeev Sinha | Published: June 28, 2017 10:31 AM | Financial Express
Despite being subject to market risks, mutual funds are fast emerging as one of the preferred investment options in India. If you want better returns on your investments with relatively less risk compared to directly investing your money in the stock markets, then mutual funds may be a good option for you. Some of the funds, if carefully chosen, even have the potential to double your wealth over the long term.
“This is, however, important to note that every single type of mutual fund category has a different ideal time horizon. And hence, when does your wealth double is a function of the same,” says Vikash Agarwal, CFA, Director and Co-founder, CAGRfunds.
However, for the sake of simplicity we are considering long term as anything above 6-7 years. With that in mind, the following are the best mutual funds across different fund categories:
Large Cap Equity Funds – Invest primarily in large cap stocks.
1. SBI Bluechip Fund: With an AUM (Asset Under Management) of approximately Rs 14,000 crore, this has been a flagship fund of SBI Mutual Fund. “This fund currently has over 75% exposure to large cap stocks with the flexibility to invest up to 20% in mid-cap stocks. While this fund was known for a patchy performance till 2011, it has beaten its benchmark by a substantial margin in the last 5 years,” says Agarwal.
2. Mirae Asset India Opportunities Fund: Launched in April 2008, this is a relatively smaller-sized fund with an AUM of around Rs 3,800 crore. With around 80% exposure to large cap stocks, this fund has given a 17% returns since launch and is known as one of the most consistent funds within the category.
Multi Cap Equity Funds – Have flexibility to modify their exposure to stocks across large, mid and small cap stocks
1. Kotak Select Focus Fund: Despite late entry into the category, Kotak Select Focus has consistently beaten its benchmark with a considerable margin ever since launch. This has resulted in a fast- paced growth and now it has an AUM of approximately Rs 11,000 crore.
2. Motilal Oswal Most Focused Multicap 35 Fund: The fund comes from a late entrant in the asset management industry, but as a management team they specialise in equity research. “With their strategy of taking concentrated bets with a long-term horizon, the fund has beaten its benchmark and category in the last 5 years. They have an AUM of around Rs 6700 crore and the fund is being managed by Gautam Sinha Roy,” informs Agarwal.
Balanced Funds – Have a minimum exposure of 65% to equity and the rest in debt instruments
1. ICICI Prudential Balanced Fund: One of the oldest in its category, this fund has grown to an AUM size of approximately Rs 12,600 crore. With a diversified exposure across various sectors, this fund has consistently beaten its benchmark.
2. SBI Magnum Balanced Fund: With a patchy performance till 2011, the fund has made a strong comeback since 2012. “The fund manager follows a carefully crafted strategy of maintaining a balance between equity and debt exposure. This has helped the fund stay ahead of its peers over the last 5 years,” says Agarwal.
Mid Cap Equity Funds – Invest primarily in mid cap stocks
1. Sundaram Mid Cap Fund: Launched in 2002, this fund is one of the best funds when looked at from a long-term perspective. The fund has outperformed the benchmark across market cycles. The fund manager S Krishna Kumar is an industry veteran and specialises in picking quality mid cap names.
2. Mirae Asset Emerging Bluechip Fund: Though this fund has a shorter track record (launched in 2010), it has been a consistent outperformer within the category ever since launch. The focus of the fund is to select quality stocks which are relatively larger in size.
Small Cap Equity Funds – Invest primarily in small cap stocks
1. Franklin India Smaller Companies Fund: Launched in 2006, this fund has grown to an AUM size of approximately Rs 5,600 crore. “The fund manager is selective about buying growth stocks at reasonable valuations with considerable focus on quality of management,” says Agarwal.
2. DSP BlackRock Micro Cap Fund: One of the favourites in the category, this fund has showcased phenomenal performance since launch. Temporarily suspended for any further inflows, the fund currently has an AUM of approximately Rs 5,800 crore.
(These mutual funds have been recommended by Vikash Agarwal, CFA, Director and Co-founder, CAGRfunds. Although due care has been exercised by them while selecting these funds, readers are advised to consult their financial adviser before investing in any of these funds.)
Babar Zaidi | May 8, 2017, 03.15 AM IST | Times of India
Though it was thrown open to the public eight years ago, investors started showing interest in the National Pension System (NPS) only two years ago. Almost 80% of the 4.39 lakh voluntary subscribers joined the scheme only in the past two years. Also, 75% of the 5.85 lakh corporate sector investors joined NPS in the past four years. Clearly, these investors have been attracted by the tax benefits offered on the scheme. Four years ago, it was announced that up to 10% of the basic salary put in the NPS would be tax free. The benefit under Section 80CCD(2d) led to a jump in the corporate NPS registrations. The number of subscribers shot up 83%: from 1.43 lakh in 2012-13 to 2.62 lakh in 2013-14.
Two years ago, the government announced an additional tax deduction of `50,000 under Sec 80CCD(1b). The number of voluntary contributors shot up 148% from 86,774 to 2.15 lakh. It turned into a deluge after the 2016 Budget made 40% of the NPS corpus tax free, with the number of subscribers in the unorganised sector more than doubling to 4.39 lakh. This indicates that tax savings, define the flow of investments in India. However, many investors are unable to decide which pension fund they should invest in. The problem is further compounded by the fact that the NPS investments are spread across 2-3 fund classes.
So, we studied the blended returns of four different combinations of the equity, corporate debt and gilt funds. Ultrasafe investors are assumed to have put 60% in gilt funds, 40% in corporate bond funds and nothing in equity funds. A conservative investor would put 20% in stocks, 30% in corporate bonds and 50% in gilts. A balanced allocation would put 33.3% in each class of funds, while an aggressive investor would invest the maximum 50% in the equity fund, 30% in corporate bonds and 20% in gilts.
Ultra safe investors
Bond funds of the NPS have generated over 12% returns in the past one year, but the performance has not been good in recent months. The average G class gilt fund of the NPS has given 0.55% returns in the past six months. The change in the RBI stance on interest rates pushed up bond yields significantly in February, which led to a sharp decline in bond fund NAVs.
Before they hit a speed bump, gilt and corporate bond funds had been on a roll. Rate cuts in 2015-16 were followed by demonetisation, which boosted the returns of gilt and corporate bond funds. Risk-averse investors who stayed away from equity funds and put their corpus in gilt and corporate bond funds have earned rich rewards.
Unsurprisingly, the LIC Pension Fund is the best performing pension fund for this allocation. “Team LIC has rich experience in the bond market and is perhaps the best suited to handle bond funds,” says a financial planner.
The gilt funds of NPS usually invest in long-term bonds and are therefore very sensitive to interest rate changes. Going forward, the returns from gilt and corporate bond funds will be muted compared to the high returns in the past.
In the long term, a 100% debt allocation is unlikely to beat inflation. This is why financial planners advise that at least some portion of the retirement corpus should be deployed in equities. Conservative investors in the NPS, who put 20% in equity funds and the rest in debt funds, have also earned good returns. Though the short-term performance has been pulled down by the debt portion, the medium- and long-term performances are quite attractive.
Here too, LIC Pension Fund is the best performer because 80% of the corpus is in debt. It has generated SIP returns of 10.25% in the past 3 years. NPS funds for government employees also follow a conservative allocation, with a 15% cap on equity exposure.
These funds have also done fairly well, beating the 100% debt-based EPF by almost 200-225 basis points in the past five years. Incidentally, the LIC Pension Fund for Central Government employees is the best performer in that category. Debt-oriented hybrid mutual funds, also known as monthly income plans, have given similar returns.
However, this performance may not be sustained in future. The equity markets could correct and the debt investments might also give muted returns.
Balanced investors who spread their investments equally across all three fund classes have done better than the ultra-safe and conservative investors. The twin rallies in bonds and equities have helped balanced portfolios churn out impressive returns. Though debt funds slipped in the short term, the spectacular performance of equity funds pulled up the overall returns. Reliance Capital Pension Fund is the best performer in the past six months with 4.03% returns, but it is Kotak Pension Fund that has delivered the most impressive numbers over the long term. Its three-year SIP returns are 10.39% while five-year SIP returns are 11.22%. For investors above 40, the balanced allocation closely mirrors the Moderate Lifecycle Fund. This fund puts 50% of the corpus in equities and reduces the equity exposure by 2% every year after the investor turns 35. By the age of 43, the allocation to equities is down to 34%. However, some financial planners argue that since retirement is still 15-16 years away, a 42-43-year olds should not reduce the equity exposure to 34-35%. But it is prudent to start reducing the risk in the portfolio as one grows older.
Aggressive investors, who put the maximum 50% in equity funds and the rest in gilt and corporate bond funds have earned the highest returns, with stock markets touching their all-time highs. Kotak Pension Fund gave 16.3% returns in the past year. The best performing UTI Retirement Solutions has given SIP returns of 11.78% in five years. Though equity exposure has been capped at 50%, young investors can put in up to 75% of the corpus in equities if they opt for the Aggressive Lifecycle Fund. It was introduced late last year, (along with a Conservative Lifecycle Fund that put only 25% in equities), and investors who opted for it earned an average 10.8% in the past 6 months.
But the equity allocation of the Aggressive Lifecycle Fund starts reducing by 4% after the investor turns 35. The reduction slows down to 3% a year after he turns 45. Even so, by the late 40s, his allocation to equities is not very different from the Moderate Lifecycle Fund. Critics say investors should be allowed to invest more in equities if they want.
By Babar Zaidi | ET Bureau | Aug 22, 2016, 01.56 PM IST
Investors saving for goals that are 4-6 years away are advised to go for balanced funds. These funds invest in a mix of equities and debt, giving the investor the best of both worlds. The fund gains from a healthy dose of equities but the debt portion fortifies it against any downturn. They are suitable for a medium-term horizon. Mumbai-based Koyel Ghosh has been investing in a balanced scheme for the past two years for funding her entrepreneurial dream. She will need the money in about 2-3 years from now.
“I want to save enough to be able to start my own business in 2-3 years.”
What she has done
She has been investing in an equity-oriented balanced fund for the past two years. She should redirect future SIPs in a debt-oriented scheme to reduce the risk.
Balanced funds are of two types. Equity-oriented have a larger portion of their corpus (at least 65%) invested in stocks and qualify for the same tax treatment as equity funds. This means any gains are tax-free if the investment is held for more than one year. These schemes are more volatile due to the higher allocation to stocks.
On the other hand, debt-oriented balanced funds are less volatile and suit those with a lower risk appetite. However, the price of this relative safety is that they offer lower returns and the gains are not eligible for tax exemption. If the investment is held for less than three years, the gains will be added to your income and taxed at the normal rate. The tax is lower if the holding period exceeds three years. The gains are then taxed at 20% after indexation benefit, which can significantly reduce the tax.
Balanced funds have done very well in recent months because both the equity and debt markets have rallied in tandem. But this performance might not sustain, so investors should tone down their expectations. Also, investors might note that the one-year returns of debt-oriented balanced funds are more than those from equity-oriented schemes. But this changes when we look at the medium- and long-term returns. The five-year returns of the top five equity-oriented balanced funds are significantly higher than those of debt-oriented balanced schemes. This statistic should be kept in mind if the investor plans to remain invested for 4-6 years.
Beware of dividends
Balanced funds have attracted huge inflows in recent months, but some of this is for the wrong reasons. Some fund houses are pushing balanced schemes that offer a monthly dividend. This might sound attractive because dividends are tax-free, but in reality this is your money coming back to you. Unlike the dividend of a stock, the NAV of the fund reduces to the extent of the dividend paid out.
Also, experts view this as an unhealthy practice and point out that the dividend payout might not be sustainable. “The dividend is not guaranteed, and the fund is under no obligation to continue paying a dividend,” points out Amol Joshi, Founder, PlanRupee Investment Services. “If the market declines, the chances of dividend payout and the quantum of dividend will be lower.”
Even so, several fund houses are using this gimmick to attract investors. In some cases, fund houses have even told distributors to alert clients about future dividend announcements and reel them in. This is also an unhealthy practice aimed at garnering AUM by mutual funds.
What the investor wants
*Moderate risk to capital
*Higher returns than debt
*Flexibility of withdrawal
*Favourable tax treatment
PARVATHA VARDHINI C | August 28, 2016 | The Hindu Business Line
The fund’s debt exposure offers downside protection to conservative investors
Equity-oriented balanced funds are a good choice to beat the current volatility in the markets. These funds invest up to 35 per cent of their corpus in debt instruments and thus provide good downside protection for risk-averse investors. Franklin India Balanced is a fund that fits the bill in this category.
Performance and strategy
In falling and yo-yoing markets, Franklin Balanced remains resilient. In 2011, when the bellwethers and broader markets lost 25-27 per cent, the fund lost only 13 per cent.
In the see-sawing markets of 2015, the fund emerged on top, gaining about 5 per cent, while the indices fell 1-5 per cent.
Franklin Balanced managed to stay on top in the 2014 rally too, by deft asset allocation. The fund did not latch on too much to riskier mid- and small-cap stocks to ride the bull run and allocated less than 15 per cent of its equity portfolio to the same. It, instead, took advantage of the rally in bond prices, by increasing its holdings in government securities in this period. A sharp up-move in both equity and bond markets saw the fund clock 47 per cent return in 2014, as against the 30-37 per cent clocked by the bellwethers and the BSE/Nifty 500 indices.
Its returns are better than of peers’ such as Canara Robeco Balance and Reliance Regular Savings Balanced. The performance even matches that of diversified equity funds such as SBI Magnum Equity.
The fund normally keeps its mid-cap allocations to less than 10 per cent of its equity portfolio, barring occasional spikes up to 15 per cent during market upswings. Its top sectors are typically a combination of cyclicals and defensives. The fund has stepped up its holdings in bank stocks after a breather last year due to multiple headwinds hitting the sector. Barring SBI, its choices lean towards private banks such as HDFC, IndusInd, YES Bank, ICICI and Kotak Mahindra Bank currently.
In the auto sector too, the fund pushed up stake in Mahindra and Mahindra, betting on good monsoon. Other holdings here include Hero MotoCorp, Tata Motors and TVS Motors. Power Grid Corporation, Maruti Suzuki, Mahanagar Gas and Oil India are recent entrants. About 26 per cent is allocated to government securities. In the last couple of months, the fund has been trimming its exposure to corporate bonds. While its exposure to corporate bonds is not significant currently, in the past it has stuck with higher rated bonds — those rated AAA or AA.
Prashant Mahesh, ET Bureau | May 12, 2016, 06.45AM IST | Economic Times
Timing the market or deciding how much to allocate to debt or equity at any point of time is a difficult decision for most investors to make. Investors not willing to invest in a basket of products, could choose balanced funds which automatically rebalances your portfolio .
1. What are balanced funds?
Balanced funds, as the name suggests, are hybrid funds which typically invest in equities and debt instruments. There could be equity oriented as well as debt oriented hybrid plans.
Typically, equity-oriented balanced funds have a 65%-75% exposure to equities with the balanced 25-35% being invested in debt-oriented instruments. Many financial planners suggest firsttime investors into mutual funds begin their journey by investing in balanced funds.
2. What is the advantage of investing in a balanced fund?
Balanced funds offer benefits of asset allocation model in a single structure. The equity component seeks to deliver long-term returns, while the debt component provides stability to the portfolio.
This diversification limits the portfolio from downside risks if either equity or debt enters a bearish phase. When the markets are high, the fund manager has to compulsory sell equity to maintain the maximum level and likewise when the markets are low, the fund manager has to buy equities to maintain the minimum level of equity investment. This is a regular process which a retail investor can’t do because of lack of knowledge and expertise.
3. What taxation benefits do equity oriented balanced fund investors enjoy?
Since balanced funds have an average exposure of 65% to equities, they are taxed as equity funds. These funds enjoy tax-free returns if the holding period is greater than a year; otherwise, they are subject to short-term capital gains tax. Many investors opt for the dividend option in such schemes, as the dividends are tax-free (without any dividend distribution tax) in the hands of the investor.
After the new tax laws where debt funds are taxed as short if held for less than 36 months, the balanced fund is one option where the entire debt holding is tax free if the fund is held for more than one year. If you invest in debt funds of mutual funds, you get advantage of long term capital gains taxation with indexation only after three years.
Written by Adhil Shetty | Published:Sep 18, 2015, 2:59 | Indian Express
The important factor in judging the performance of a mutual fund is the investment horizon. One needs to look at longer periods to assess the performance.
Investment literature is full of ‘how to buy’, ‘how to invest’, and ‘when to buy’ theories. However, very little focus, if at all, is given to the selling part of the investment cycle. After all, you make money only when you sell. This makes selling as important as making the investment, if not more.
There are four major aspects that help one decide when to sell your mutual funds.
Analyse the past returns of the mutual fund.
The performance of a mutual fund is the most important criteria of an investment decision. If the mutual fund does not perform well, it is time to sell. However, one should be realistic about assessing the performance. The most important way to judge a fund on its performance is to compare it with similar types of funds. For example, a midcap equity fund should be compared with other midcap equity funds. A sectoral fund from a fund house should be compared with other similar sector funds. Similarly, a bond fund or balanced fund should be judged against the performance of other bond funds or balanced funds.
The other important factor in judging the performance of a mutual fund is the investment horizon. One needs to look at longer periods to assess the performance. For example, many investors invest based on just the one-year performance of mutual funds. Even fund houses and brokers focus on the previous year’s performance. A fund’s supernormal returns in the previous year might have been supported by macro-economic factors that may not reoccur this year. A fund must be evaluated based on 5-10 years’ CAGR. Longer investment horizon minimises the impact of external factors and presents a better picture.
Study the market levels
When the market is at a high, it is time to liquidate an equity mutual fund. One can find out how sustainable future growth is by looking at the overall Price-to-Earning (PE) ratio of the market. PE ratio is a fairly good indicator of the market’s position.
A PE ratio of 22 or higher is a sign that market may not sustain its upward momentum for much longer.
At the same time, it is very difficult to say when the market will start falling from the high. Hence, instead of waiting for the market to touch its peak and get a few rupees more, one should make an exit. It is impossible to time the market.
Many fund houses offer dynamic funds that work on a similar principle. When the market is high, they reduce the equity holding and increase the bond holding. Similarly when market PE is low, the equity holding increases and bond holding decreases.
Monitor the interest rate before taking a decision on bond funds
Bond funds are funds that invest in fixed income securities such as government bonds, corporate bonds, and bank deposit schemes. Return on bond funds is inversely proportional to the prevailing interest rate. When the rates go down, the bonds prices appreciate and vice versa. Hence, in cases where the interest rates have already bottomed out, one should redeem bond funds and find other investment choices unless one is very risk-averse.
Determine whether the portfolio still supports one’s investment needs
Over time, the portfolio may no more be right for one’s investment needs. This happens when the expectation from investment changes and the current mutual fund does not serve one’s purpose anymore. For example, suppose you had invested heavily in equity funds in your 30s. The investment may have given fabulous returns in your 40s too. However, is it wise to remain heavily invested in equity in your 40s? This is a question you have to answer, especially if you cannot afford to take much risk. Hence, this could be the time to sell a few of your equity mutual funds and divert the proceeds to debt or balanced funds.
Careful and systematic investments in mutual funds can yield high returns. However, one must be canny not just while selecting the right time and type of fund to invest in, but also while choosing the right time to exit the investment to get maximum benefits.
The writer is the founder and CEO of BankBazaar.com