Mutual fund is a trust that pools the savings of a number of investors who share a common financial goal. This pool of money is invested in accordance with a stated objective. The joint ownership of the fund is thus “Mutual”, i.e. the fund belongs to all investors. The money thus collected is then invested in capital market instruments such as shares, debentures and other securities. The income earned through these investments and the capital appreciations realized are shared by its unit holders in proportion the number of units owned by them. Thus a Mutual Fund is the most suitable investment for the common man as it offers an opportunity to invest in a diversified, professionally managed basket of securities at a relatively low cost. A Mutual Fund is an investment tool that allows small investors access to a well-diversified portfolio of equities, bonds and other securities. Each shareholder participates in the gain or loss of the fund. Units are issued and can be redeemed as needed. The fund’s Net Asset value (NAV) is determined each day. Investments in securities are spread across a wide cross-section of industries and sectors and thus the risk is reduced. Diversification reduces the risk because all stocks may not move in the same direction in the same proportion at the same time. Mutual fund issues units to the investors in accordance with quantum of money invested by them. Investors of mutual funds are known as unit- holders.
ORGANISATION OF MUTUAL FUND
Mutual funds have a unique structure not shared with other entities such as companies of firms. It is important for employees & agents to be aware of the special nature of this structure, because it determines the rights & responsibilities of the fund’s constituents viz., sponsors, trustees, custodians, transfer agents & of course, the fund & the Asset Management Company(AMC) the legal structure also drives the inter-relationships between these constituents. The structure of the mutual fund India is governed by the SEBI (Mutual Funds) regulations, 1996. These regulations make it mandatory for mutual funds to have a structure of sponsor, trustee, AMC, custodian. The sponsor is the promoter of the mutual fund, & appoints the trustees. The trustees are responsible to the investors in the mutual fund, & appoint the AMC for managing the investment portfolio. The AMC is the business face of the mutual fund, as it manages all affairs of the mutual fund. The mutual fund & the AMC have to be registered with SEBI. Custodian, who is also registered with SEBI, holds the securities of various schemes of the fund in its custody.
SEBI regulates mutual funds, depositories, custodians and registrars & transfer agents in the country. The applicable guidelines for mutual funds are set out in SEBI (Mutual Funds) Regulations, 1996, as amended till date. An updated and comprehensive list of circulars issued by SEBI can be found in the Mutual Funds section of SEBI’s website. Some segments of the financial markets have their own independent regulatory bodies. Wherever applicable, mutual funds need to comply with these other regulators also. For instance, RBI regulates the money market and foreign exchange market in the country. Therefore, mutual funds need to comply with RBI’s regulations regarding investment in the money market, investments outside the country, investments from people other than Indians resident in India, remittances (inward and outward) of foreign currency etc. Stock Exchanges are regulated by SEBI. Every stock exchange has its own listing, trading and margining rules. Mutual Funds need to comply with the rules of the exchanges with which they choose to have a business relationship. Anyone who is aggrieved by a ruling of SEBI, can file an appeal with the Securities Appellate Tribunal.
The sponsor is the promoter of the mutual fund. The sponsor establishes the Mutual fund & registers the same with SEBI. He appoints the trustees, Custodians & the AMC with prior approval of SEBI, & in accordance with SEBI regulations. He must have at least five year track record of business interest in the financial markets. Sponsor must have been profit making in at least three of the above five years. He must contribute at least 40% of the capital of the AMC.
The Mutual Fund may be managed by a Board of trustees of individuals, or a trust company – a corporate body. Most of the funds in India are managed by board of trustees. While the board of trustees is governed by the provisions of the Indian trust act, where the trustee is the corporate body, it would also be required to comply with the provisions of the companies act, 1956. The board of trustee company, as an independent body, act as protector of the unit holders interest. The trustees don’t directly manage the portfolio of securities. For this specialist function, they appoint an AMC. They ensure that the fund is managed by AMC as per the defined objectives & in accordance with the trust deed & SEBI regulations. The trust is created through a document called the trust deed i.e., executed by the fund sponsor in favor of the trustees. The trust deed is required to be stamped as registered under the provision of the Indian registration act & registered with SEBI. The trustees begin the primary guardians of the unit holder’s funds & assets; a trustee has to be a person of high repute & integrity.
Often an independent organization, it takes custody all securities & other assets of mutual fund. Its responsibilities include receipt & delivery of securities collecting income-distributing dividends, safekeeping of the unit & segregating assets & settlements between schemes. Mutual fund is managed either trust company board of trustees. Board of trustees & trust are governed by provisions of Indian trust act. If trustee is a company, it is also subject Indian Company Act. Trustees appoint AMC in consultation with the sponsors & according to SEBI regulation. All mutual fund schemes floated by AMC have to be approved by trustees. Trustees review & ensure that net worth of the company is according to stipulated norms, every quarter. Though the trust is the mutual fund, the AMC is its operational face. The AMC is the first functionary to be appointed, & is involved in appointment of all other functionaries. The AMC structures the mutual fund products, markets them & mobilizes fund, manages the funds & services to the investors.
Other Service Providers
The RTA maintains investor records. Their offices in various centres serve as Investor Service Centres (ISCs), which perform a useful role in handling the documentation of investors. The appointment of RTA is done by the AMC. It is not compulsory to appoint a RTA. The AMC can choose to handle this activity in house. All RTAs need to register with SEBI.
Auditors are responsible for the audit of accounts. Accounts of the schemes need to be maintained independent of the accounts of the AMC. The auditor appointed to audit the scheme accounts needs to be different from the auditor of the AMC. While the scheme auditor is appointed by the Trustees, the AMC auditor is appointed by the AMC.
The fund accountant performs the role of calculating the NAV, by collecting information about the assets and liabilities of each scheme. The AMC can either handle this activity in-house, or engage a service provider.
The investors’ moneys go into the bank account of the scheme they have invested in. These bank accounts are maintained with collection bankers who are appointed by the AMC.
Leading collection bankers make it convenient to invest in the schemes by accepting applications of investors in most of their branches. Payment instruments against applications handed over to branches of the AMC or the RTA need to be banked with the collecting bankers, so that the moneys are available for investment by the scheme. Through this kind of a mix of constituents and specialized service providers, most mutual funds maintain high standards of service and safety for investors.
Distributors have a key role in selling suitable types of units to their clients i.e. the investors in the schemes. Distributors need to pass the prescribed certification test, and register with AMFI.
Asset Management Company (AMC)
Day to day operations of asset management are handled by the AMC. It therefore arranges for the requisite offices and infrastructure, engages employees, provides for the requisite software, handles advertising and sales promotion, and interacts with regulators and various service providers. The AMC has to take all reasonable steps and exercise due diligence to ensure that the investment of funds pertaining to any scheme is not contrary to the provisions of the SEBI regulations and the trust deed. Further, it has to exercise due diligence and care in all its investment decisions.
As per SEBI regulations:
- The directors of the asset management company need to be persons having adequate professional experience in finance and financial services related field.
- The directors as well as key personnel of the AMC should not have been found guilty of moral turpitude or convicted of any economic offence or violation of any securities laws.
- Key personnel of the AMC should not have worked for any asset management company or mutual fund or any intermediary during the period when its registration was suspended or cancelled at any time by SEBI.
Prior approval of the trustees is required, before a person is appointed as director on the board of the AMC. Further, at least 50% of the directors should be independentdirectors i.e. not associate of or associated with the sponsor or anyof its subsidiaries or the trustees. The AMC needs to have a minimum net worth of Rs10 crores. An AMC cannot invest in its own schemes, unless the intention to invest is disclosed in the Offer Document. Further, the AMC cannot charge any fees for the investment. The appointment of an AMC can be terminated by a majority of the trustees, or by 75% of the Unit-holders. However, any change in the AMC is subject to prior approval of SEBI and the Unit-holders.
Asset Management Companies In India
- Axis Asset Management Company Ltd.
- Baroda Pioneer Asset Management Company Limited
- Birla Sun Life Asset Management Co. Ltd.
- Canara Robeco Asset Management Co. Ltd.
- DSP BlackRock Investment Managers Ltd.
- Edelweiss Asset Management Limited
- Escorts Asset Management Ltd.
- HDFC Asset Management Co. Ltd.
- ICICI Prudential Asset Management Co. Ltd.
- IDBI Asset Management Ltd.
- IDFC Asset Management Company Private Limited
- J.M. Financial Asset Management Private Ltd.
- LIC Nomura Asset Management Co. Ltd.
- L&T Investment Management Limited
- Kotak Mahindra Asset Management Co. Ltd.
- Motilal Oswal Asset Management Co. Ltd.
- Peerless Funds Management Co. Ltd.
- Quantum Asset Management Co. Private Ltd.
- Reliance Capital Asset Management Ltd.
- Religare Asset Management Company Private Limited
- Sahara Asset Management Co. Private Ltd.
- SBI Funds Management Private Ltd.
- Sundaram Asset Management Company Limited
- Tata Asset Management Ltd.
- Taurus Asset Management Co. Ltd.
- UTI Asset Management Company Ltd.
- AIG Global Asset Management Company (India) Private Ltd.
- Bharti AXA Investment Managers Private Limited
- BNP Paribas Asset Management India Private Limited
- Daiwa Asset Management (India) Private Limited
- Deutsche Asset Management (India) Private Ltd.
- FIL Fund Management Private Ltd.
- Fortis Investment Management (India) Pvt. Ltd.
- Franklin Templeton Asset Management (India) Private Ltd.
- Goldman Sachs Asset Management (India) Private Limited
- HSBC Asset Management (India) Private Ltd.
- ING Investment Management (India) Private Ltd.
- JP Morgan Asset Management (India) Private Ltd.
- Mirae Asset Global Investments (India) Private Ltd.
- Morgan Stanley Investment Management Private Ltd.
- Principal PNB Asset Management Co. Private Ltd.
- Pramerica Asset Managers Private Limited
Mutual Fund Industry in India
The formation of Unit Trust of India marked the evolution of the Indian mutual fund industry in the year 1963. The primary objective at that time was to attract the small investors and it was made possible through the collective efforts of the Government of India and the Reserve Bank of India. The history of mutual fund industry in India can be better understood divided into following phases:
Phase 1. Establishment and Growth of Unit Trust of India – 1964-87
Unit Trust of India enjoyed complete monopoly when it was established in the year 1963 by an act of Parliament. UTI was set up by the Reserve Bank of India and it continued to operate under the regulatory control of the RBI until the two were de-linked in 1978 and the entire control was transferred in the hands of Industrial Development Bank of India (IDBI). UTI launched its first scheme in 1964, named as Unit Scheme 1964 (US-64), which attracted the largest number of investors in any single investment scheme over the years.
UTI launched more innovative schemes in 1970s and 80s to suit the needs of different investors.
It launched ULIP in 1971 and six more schemes during 1981-84, Children’s Gift Growth Fund and India Fund (India’s first offshore fund) in 1986, Mastershare (India’s first equity diversified scheme) in 1987 and Monthly Income Schemes (offering assured returns) during 1990s. By the end of 1987, UTI’s assets under management grew ten times to Rs 6700 crores.
Phase II. Entry of Public Sector Funds – 1987-1993
The Indian mutual fund industry witnessed a number of public sector players entering the market in the year 1987. In November 1987, SBI Mutual Fund from the State Bank of India became the first non-UTI mutual fund in India. SBI Mutual Fund was later followed by Canbank Mutual Fund, LIC Mutual Fund, Indian Bank Mutual Fund, Bank of India Mutual Fund, GIC Mutual Fund and PNB Mutual Fund.
By 1993, the assets under management of the industry increased seven times to Rs. 47,004 crores. However, UTI remained to be the leader with about 80% market share.
|1992-93||Amount Mobilised||Assets Under Management||Mobilisation as % of gross Domestic Savings|
Phase III. Emergence of Private Sector Funds – 1993-96
The permission given to private sector funds including foreign fund management companies (most of them entering through joint ventures with Indian promoters) to enter the mutual fund industry in 1993, provided a wide range of choice to investors and more competition in the industry. Private funds introduced innovative products, investment techniques and investor-servicing technology. By 1994-95, about 11 private sector funds had launched their schemes.
Phase IV. Growth and SEBI Regulation – 1996-2004
The mutual fund industry witnessed robust growth and stricter regulation from the SEBI after the year 1996. The mobilisation of funds and the number of players operating in the industry reached new heights as investors started showing more interest in mutual funds.
Investor’s interests were safeguarded by SEBI and the Government offered tax benefits to the investors in order to encourage them. SEBI (Mutual Funds) Regulations, 1996 was introduced by SEBI that set uniform standards for all mutual funds in India. The Union Budget in 1999 exempted all dividend incomes in the hands of investors from income tax. Various Investor Awareness Programmes were launched during this phase, both by SEBI and AMFI, with an objective to educate investors and make them informed about the mutual fund industry.
In February 2003, the UTI Act was repealed and UTI was stripped of its Special legal status as a trust formed by an Act of Parliament. The primary objective behind this was to bring all mutual fund players on the same level. UTI was re-organised into two parts:
- The Specified Undertaking,
- The UTI Mutual Fund
Presently Unit Trust of India operates under the name of UTI Mutual Fund and its past schemes (like US-64, Assured Return Schemes) are being gradually wound up. However, UTI Mutual Fund is still the largest player in the industry.
Phase V. Growth and Consolidation – 2004 Onwards
The industry has also witnessed several mergers and acquisitions recently, examples of which are acquisition of schemes of Alliance Mutual Fund by Birla Sun Life, Sun F&C Mutual Fund and PNB Mutual Fund by Principal Mutual Fund. Simultaneously, more international mutual fund players have entered India like Fidelity, Franklin Templeton Mutual Fund etc. There were 29 funds as at the end of March 2006. This is a continuing phase of growth of the industry through consolidation and entry of new international and private sector players.
Key Developments over the Years
The mutual fund industry in India has come a long way. Significant spurts in size were noticed in the late 80s, when public sector mutual funds were first permitted, and then in the mid-90s, when private sector mutual funds commenced operations. In the last few years, institutional distributors increased their focus on mutual funds. The emergence of stock exchange brokers as an additional channel of distribution, the continuing growth in convenience arising out of technological developments and higher financial literacy in the market should drive the growth of mutual funds in future.AUM of the industry, as of February 2010 has touched Rs 766,869 crores from 832 schemes offered by 38 mutual funds.
In some advanced countries, mutual fund AUM is a multiple of bank deposits. In India, mutual fund AUM is hardly 10% of bank deposits. This is indicative of the immense potential for growth of the industry. The high proportion of AUM in debt, largely from institutional investors is not in line with the role of mutual funds, which is to channelize retail money into transforming mutual funds into a truly retail vehicle of capital mobilization for the larger benefit of the economy the capital market. Various regulatory measures to reduce the costs and increase the conveniences for investors are aimed at.
ADVANTAGES OF MUTUAL FUND
– Professional Management
Mutual funds offer investors the opportunity to earn an income or build their wealth through professional management of their investible funds. There are several aspects to such professional management viz. investing in line with the investment objective, investing based on adequate research, and ensuring that prudent investment processes are followed.
– Affordable Portfolio Diversification
Units of a scheme give investors exposure to a range of securities held in the investment portfolio of the scheme. Thus, even a small investment of Rs 5,000 in a mutual fund scheme can give investors a diversified investment portfolio. With diversification, an investor ensures that all the eggs are not in the same basket. Consequently, the investor is less likely to lose money on all the investments at the same time. Thus, diversification helps reduce the risk in investment. In order to achieve the same diversification as a mutual fund scheme, investors will need to set apart several lakhs of rupees. Instead, they can achieve the diversification through an investment of a few thousand rupees in a mutual fund scheme.
– Economies of Scale
The pooling of large sums of money from so many investors makes it possible for the mutual fund to engage professional managers to manage the investment. Individual investors with small amounts to invest cannot, by themselves, afford to engage such professional management. Large investment corpus leads to various other economies of scale. For instance, costs related to investment research and office space get spread across investors. Further, the higher transaction volume makes it possible to negotiate better terms with brokers, bankers and other service providers.
At times, investors in financial markets are stuck with a security for which they can’t find a buyer – worse; at times they can’t find the company they invested in! Such investments, whose value the investor cannot easily realise in the market, are technically called illiquid investments and may result in losses for the investor. Investors in a mutual fund scheme can recover the value of the moneys invested, from the mutual fund itself. Depending on the structure of the mutual fund scheme, this would be possible, either at any time, or during specific intervals, or only on closure of the scheme. Schemes where the money can be recovered from the mutual fund only on closure of the scheme, are listed in a stock exchange. In such schemes, the investor can sell the units in the stock exchange to recover the prevailing value of the investment.
– Tax benefits
Specific schemes of mutual funds (Equity Linked Savings Schemes) give investors the benefit of deduction of the amountinvested, from their income that is liable to tax. This reduces theirtaxable income, and therefore the tax liability. Further, the dividend that the investor receives from the scheme is tax-free in his hands.
– Investment Comfort
Once an investment is made with a mutual fund, they make it convenient for the investor to make further purchases with very little documentation. This simplifies subsequent investment activity.
– Convenient Options
The options offered under a scheme allow investors to structure their investments in line with their liquidity preference and tax position.
– Regulatory Comfort
The regulator, Securities & Exchange Board of India (SEBI) has mandated strict checks and balances in the structure of mutual funds and their activities. These are detailed in the subsequent units. Mutual fund investors benefit from such protection.
LIMITATIONS OF MUTUAL FUND
– Lack of portfolio customization
Some securities houses offer Portfolio Management Schemes to large investors. In a PMS, the investor has better control over what securities are bought and sold on his behalf. On the other hand, a unit-holder is just one of several thousand investors in a scheme. Once a unit-holder has bought into the scheme, investment management is left to the fund manager (within the broad parameters of the investment objective). Thus, the unit-holder cannot influence what securities or investments the scheme would buy. Large sections of investors lack the time or the knowledge to be able to make portfolio choices. Therefore, lack of portfolio customization is not a serious limitation in most cases.
– Choice overload
Over 800 mutual fund schemes offered by 38 mutual funds – and multiple options within those schemes – make it difficult for investors to choose between them. Greater dissemination of industry information through various media and availability of professional advisors in the market should help investors handle this overload.
– No control over costs
All the investor’s moneys are pooled together in a scheme. Costs incurred for managing the scheme are shared by all the Unit holders in proportion to their holding of Units in the scheme. Therefore, an individual investor has no control over the costs in a scheme.
SEBI has however imposed certain limits on the expenses that can be charged to any scheme. These limits vary with the size of assets and the nature of the scheme.
– No guarantees
No investment is risk free. If the entire stock market declines in value, the value of mutual fund shares will go down as well, no matter how balanced the portfolio. Investors encounter fewer risks when they invest in mutual funds than when they buy and sell stocks on their own. However, anyone who invests through a mutual fund runs the risk of losing money.
– Management risk
When you invest in a mutual fund, you depend on the fund’s manager to make the right decisions regarding the fund’s portfolio. If the manager does not perform as well as we had hoped, we might not make as much money on our investment as we expected. However, if we invest in Index Funds, we forego management risk, because these funds do not employ fund managers.
TYPES OF MUTUAL FUND
Equity Funds are considered to be the more risky funds as compared to other fund types, but they also provide higher returns than other funds. It is advisable that an investor looking to invest in an equity fund should invest for long term i.e. for 3 years or more. There are different types of equity funds each falling into different risk bracket. In the order of decreasing risk level, there are following types of equity funds:
- Aggressive Growth Funds – In Aggressive Growth Funds, fund managers aspire for maximum capital appreciation and invest in less researched shares of speculative nature. Because of these speculative investments Aggressive Growth Funds become more volatile and thus, are prone to higher risk than other equity funds.
- Growth Funds – Growth Funds also invest for capital appreciation (with time horizon of 3 to 5 years) but they are different from Aggressive Growth Funds in the sense that they invest in companies that are expected to outperform the market in the future. Without entirely adopting speculative strategies, Growth Funds invest in those companies that are expected to post above average earnings in the future.
- Speciality Funds – Speciality Funds have stated criteria for investments and their portfolio comprises of only those companies that meet their criteria. Criteria for some speciality funds could be to invest/not to invest in particular regions/companies. Speciality funds are concentrated and thus, are comparatively riskier than diversified funds. There are following types of speciality funds:i. Sector Funds: Speciality Funds have stated criteria for investments and their portfolio comprises of only those companies that meet their criteria. Criteria for some speciality funds could be to invest/not to invest in particular regions/companies. Speciality funds are concentrated and thus, are comparatively riskier than diversified funds.. There are following types of speciality funds:
ii. Foreign Securities Funds: Foreign Securities Equity Funds have the option to invest in one or more foreign companies. Foreign securities funds achieve international diversification and hence they are less risky than sector funds. However, foreign securities funds are exposed to foreign exchange rate risk and country risk.
iii. Mid-Cap or Small-Cap Funds: Funds that invest in companies having lower market capitalization than large capitalization companies are called Mid-Cap or Small-Cap Funds. Market capitalization of Mid-Cap companies is less than that of big, blue chip companies (less than Rs. 2500 crores but more than Rs. 500 crores) and Small-Cap companies have market capitalization of less than Rs. 500 crores. Market Capitalization of a company can be calculated by multiplying the market price of the company’s share by the total number of its outstanding shares in the market. The shares of Mid-Cap or Small-Cap Companies are not as liquid as of Large-Cap Companies which gives rise to volatility in share prices of these companies and consequently, investment gets risky.
iv. Option Income Funds: While not yet available in India, Option Income Funds write options on a large fraction of their portfolio. Proper use of options can help to reduce volatility, which is otherwise considered as a risky instrument. These funds invest in big, high dividend yielding companies, and then sell options against their stock positions, which generate stable income for investors.
- Diversified Equity Funds – Except for a small portion of investment in liquid money market, diversified equity funds invest mainly in equities without any concentration on a particular sector(s). These funds are well diversified and reduce sector-specific or company-specific risk. However, like all other funds diversified equity funds too are exposed to equity market risk. One prominent type of diversified equity fund in India is Equity Linked Savings Schemes (ELSS). As per the mandate, a minimum of 90% of investments by ELSS should be in equities at all times. ELSS investors are eligible to claim deduction from taxable income (up to Rs 1 lakh) at the time of filing the income tax return. ELSS usually has a lock-in period and in case of any redemption by the investor before the expiry of the lock-in period makes him liable to pay income tax on such income(s) for which he may have received any tax exemption(s) in the past.
- Equity Index Funds – Equity Index Funds have the objective to match the performance of a specific stock market index. The portfolio of these funds comprises of the same companies that form the index and is constituted in the same proportion as the index. Equity index funds that follow broad indices (like S&P CNX Nifty, Sensex) are less risky than equity index funds that follow narrow sectoral indices (like BSEBANKEX or CNX Bank Index etc). Narrow indices are less diversified and therefore, are more risky.
- Value Funds – Value Funds invest in those companies that have sound fundamentals and whose share prices are currently under-valued. The portfolio of these funds comprises of shares that are trading at a low Price to Earning Ratio (Market Price per Share / Earning per Share) and a low Market to Book Value (Fundamental Value) Ratio. Value Funds may select companies from diversified sectors and are exposed to lower risk level as compared to growth funds or speciality funds. Value stocks are generally from cyclical industries (such as cement, steel, sugar etc.) which make them volatile in the short-term. Therefore, it is advisable to invest in Value funds with a long-term time horizon as risk in the long term, to a large extent, is reduced.
- Equity Income or Dividend Yield Funds – The objective of Equity Income or Dividend Yield Equity Funds is to generate high recurring income and steady capital appreciation for investors by investing in those companies which issue high dividends (such as Power or Utility companies whose share prices fluctuate comparatively lesser than other companies’ share prices). Equity Income or Dividend Yield Equity Funds are generally exposed to the lowest risk level as compared to other equity funds.
Money Market / Liquid Funds invest in short-term (maturing within one year) interest bearing debt instruments. These securities are highly liquid and provide safety of investment, thus making money market / liquid funds the