To many people, Mutual Funds can seem complicated or intimidating. We are going to try and simplify it for you at its very basic level. Essentially, the money pooled in by a large number of people (or investors) is what makes up a Mutual Fund. This fund is managed by a professional fund manager. It is a trust that collects money from a number of investors who share a common investment objective. Then, it invests the money in equities, bonds, money market instruments and/or other securities. Each investor owns units, which represent a portion of the holdings of the fund. The income/gains generated from this collective investment is distributed proportionately amongst the investors after deducting certain expenses, by calculating a scheme’s “Net Asset Value or NAV. Simply put, a Mutual Fund is one of the most viable investment options for the common man as it offers an opportunity to invest in a diversified, professionally managed basket of securities at a relatively low cost.
Many of us dread the thought of managing our own investments. With a professional fund management company, people are put in charge of various functions based on their education, experience and skills.
As an investor, you can either manage your finances yourself, or hire a professional firm. You opt for the latter when:
1. You do not know how to do the job best – many of us hire someone to file our income tax returns, or almost all of us get an architect to do our house.
2. You do not have enough time or inclination. It’s like hiring drivers even though we know how to drive.
3. When you are likely to save money by outsourcing the job instead of doing it yourself. Like going on a journey driving your own vehicle is far costlier than taking a train.
4. You can spend your time for other activities of your choice / liking. Professional fund management is one of the best benefits of Mutual Funds. The infographic on the left highlights all the others. Given these benefits, there is no reason why one should look at any other investment avenue.
Fund managers are responsible for implementing a consistent investment strategy that reflects the goals of the fund. Fund managers monitor market and economic trends and analyze securities in order to make informed investment decisions.
Diversification is one of the best ways to reduce risk. Mutual funds offer investors an opportunity to diversify across assets depending on their investment needs.
Investors can sell their mutual fund units on any business day and receive the current market value on their investments within a short time period (normally three- to five-days).
The minimum initial investment for a mutual fund is fairly low for most funds (as low as Rs500 for some schemes).
Most private sector funds provide you the convenience of periodic purchase plans, automatic withdrawal plans and the automatic reinvestment of interest and dividends.
You can pick from conservative, blue-chip stock funds, sectoral funds, funds that aim to provide income with modest growth or those that take big risks in the search for returns. You can even buy balanced funds, or those that combine stocks and bonds in the same fund.
1. 100% Income Tax exemption on all Mutual Fund dividends
2. Equity Funds - Short term capital gains is taxed at 15%. Long term capital gains is not applicable. Debt Funds - Short term capital gains is taxed as per the slab rates applicable to you. Long term capital gains tax to be lower of - 10% on the capital gains without factoring indexation benefit and 20% on the capital gains after factoring indexation benefit.
3. Open-end funds with equity exposure of more than 65% (Revised from 50% to 65% in Budget 2006) are exempt from the payment of dividend tax for a period of 3 years from 1999-2000.