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  • Should you evaluate past performance, and look for consistency?

    Although past performance is no guarantee for the future, it is a useful way of assessing how well or badly a fund has performed in comparison to its stated objectives and peer group. A good way to do this would be to identify the five best performing funds (within your selected investment objectives) over various periods, say 3 months, 6 months, one year, two years and three years. Shortlist funds that appear in the top 5 in each of these time horizons as they would have thus demonstrated their ability to be not only good but also, consistent performers. You can engage in such research through moneycontrol's Find-A-Fund query module.
  • Are investments in mutual funds liquid?

    Yes. Investors of open-ended schemes can redeem their units on any business day and receive the current market value on their investments within a short time period (normally three- to five-days). Investors of close-ended schemes can redeem their units only on maturity but can sell it in the secondary market like stocks
  • Is it good to buy a fund just before it goes ex-dividend?

    When a fund goes ex-dividend, the unit holders ( as of the ex-dividend date ) are paid out a dividend and the NAV of the fund declines by the amount of dividend per unit paid out. For an investor ( who has bought the fund prior to the ex-dividend date ), this results in an income that is tax-free in the hands of the investor and a capital loss ( as the ex-dividend NAV will be lower than the cum-dividend NAV at which the investor made his investment ) . For e.g., if a funds NAV is Rs11 and it pays out Rs1 as dividend, its ex-dividend NAV will be Rs10. In this case, the investor has a dividend ( tax-free ) income of Re1 and a capital loss of Re1 ( Rs11-Rs10 ) . If the investor has made a corresponding capital gain, then it is tax-beneficial to purchase the units of mutual fund just before it goes ex-dividend, take the dividend and then sell the units ( at the ex-dividend rate ) and book the capital loss. If there were no tax benefits, from a pure returns perspective, there would not be any difference in buying a fund cum- or ex-dividend.
  • How significant are fund costs while choosing a scheme?

    The cost of investing through a mutual fund is not insignificant and deserves due consideration, especially when it comes to fixed income funds. Management fees, annual expenses of the fund and sales loads can take away a significant portion of your returns. As a general rule, 1% towards management fees and 0.6% towards other annual expenses should be acceptable. Carefully examine the fee a fund charges for getting in and out of the fund. Again, you can query on entry and exit loads under our Find-A-Fund query module or get a pre-defined shortlist of funds on the load specification structure through the Mutual Fund Directory section.
  • What are Interval Schemes?

    Interval Schemes are those that combine the features of open-ended and close-ended schemes. The units may be traded on the stock exchange or may be open for sale or redemption during pre-determined intervals at NAV related prices.
  • Are investments in mutual fund units risk-free or safe?

    This depends on the underlying instrument that a mutual fund invests in, based on its investment objectives. Mutual funds that invest in stock market-related instruments cannot be termed risk-free or safe as investment in shares are inherently risky by nature, whereas funds that invest in fixed-income instruments are relatively safe and those that invest only in government securities are the safest.
  • Can a mutual fund impose fresh load or increase the load beyond the level mentioned in the offer documents?

    Mutual funds cannot increase the load beyond the level mentioned in the offer document. Any change in the load will be applicable only to prospective investments and not to the original investments. In case of imposition of fresh loads or increase in existing loads, the mutual funds are required to amend their offer documents so that the new investors are aware of loads at the time of investments.
  • What should an investor look into an offer document?

    An abridged offer document, which contains very useful information, is required to be given to the prospective investor by the mutual fund. The application form for subscription to a scheme is an integral part of the offer document. SEBI has prescribed minimum disclosures in the offer document. An investor, before investing in a scheme, should carefully read the offer document. Due care must be given to portions relating to main features of the scheme, risk factors, initial issue expenses and recurring expenses to be charged to the scheme, entry or exit loads, sponsors track record, educational qualification and work experience of key personnel including fund managers, performance of other schemes launched by the mutual fund in the past, pending litigations and penalties imposed, etc.
  • What are Tax-Saving Schemes?

    Tax-saving schemes offer tax rebates to the investors under tax laws prescribed from time to time. Under Sec.88 of the Income Tax Act, contributions made to any Equity Linked Savings Scheme (ELSS) are eligible for rebate @20% for a maximum investment on Rs10,000 per financial year.
  • If schemes in the same category of different mutual funds are available, should one choose a scheme with lower NAV?

    Some of the investors have the tendency to prefer a scheme that is available at lower NAV compared to the one available at higher NAV. Sometimes, they prefer a new scheme which is issuing units at Rs. 10 whereas the existing schemes in the same category are available at much higher NAVs. Investors may please note that in case of mutual funds schemes, lower or higher NAVs of similar type schemes of different mutual funds have no relevance. On the other hand, investors should choose a scheme based on its merit considering performance track record of the mutual fund, service standards, professional management, etc. This is explained in an example given below.

    Suppose scheme A is available at a NAV of Rs.15 and another scheme B at Rs.90. Both schemes are diversified equity oriented schemes. Investor has put Rs. 9,000 in each of the two schemes. He would get 600 units (9000/15) in scheme A and 100 units (9000/90) in scheme B. Assuming that the markets go up by 10 per cent and both the schemes perform equally good and it is reflected in their NAVs. NAV of scheme A would go up to Rs. 16.50 and that of scheme B to Rs. 99. Thus, the market value of investments would be Rs. 9,900 (600* 16.50) in scheme A and it would be the same amount of Rs. 9900 in scheme B (100*99). The investor would get the same return of 10% on his investment in each of the schemes. Thus, lower or higher NAV of the schemes and allotment of higher or lower number of units within the amount an investor is willing to invest, should not be the factors for making investment decision. Likewise, if a new equity oriented scheme is being offered at Rs.10 and an existing scheme is available for Rs. 90, should not be a factor for decision making by the investor. Similar is the case with income or debt-oriented schemes.

    On the other hand, it is likely that the better managed scheme with higher NAV may give higher returns compared to a scheme which is available at lower NAV but is not managed efficiently. Similar is the case of fall in NAVs. Efficiently managed scheme at higher NAV may not fall as much as inefficiently managed scheme with lower NAV. Therefore, the investor should give more weightage to the professional management of a scheme instead of lower NAV of any scheme. He may get much higher number of units at lower NAV, but the scheme may not give higher returns if it is not managed efficiently.

mutual funds glossary

  • Acid Test Ratio

    It is the ratio indicated by dividing a company\'s current assets by current liabilities. It reflects the financial strength of a company and hence called Acid test ratio.
  • Alpha

    Alpha measures the difference between a fund\'s actual returns and its expected performance, given its level of risk (as measured by beta). A positive alpha figure indicates the fund has performed better than its beta would predict. In contrast, a negative alpha indicates a fund has underperformed, given the expectations established by the fund\'s beta. Some investors see alpha as a measurement of the value added or subtracted by a fund\'s manager. There are limitations to alpha\'s ability to accurately depict a manager\'s added or subtracted value. In some cases, a negative alpha can result from the expenses that are present in the fund figures but are not present in the figures of the comparison index. Alpha is dependent on the accuracy of beta: If the investor accepts beta as a conclusive definition of risk, a positive alpha would be a conclusive indicator of good fund performance. Of course, the value of beta is dependent on another statistic, known as R-squared.
  • Annual Fund Operating Expenses

    The expenses incurred, during a particular year, by Asset Management Company for managing the funds.
  • Asset Allocation

    The process of diversifying the investments in different kinds of assets such as stocks, bonds, real estate, cash in order to optimize risk.
  • Asset Allocation Fund

    A fund that spreads its portfolio among a wide variety of investments, including domestic and foreign stocks and bonds, government securities, gold bullion and real estate stocks. Some of these funds keep the proportions allocated between different sectors relatively constant, while others alter the mix as market conditions change.
  • Asset Management Company (AMC)

    A Company registered with SEBI, which takes investment/divestment decisions for the mutual fund, and manages the assets of the mutual fund.
  • Automatic Investment Plan

    A plan offered by most mutual funds where a small fixed amount is automatically deducted monthly from an investor\'s bank account and invested in the mutual fund of their choice.
  • Automatic Reinvestment

    An investment option for mutual fund unit holders in which the proceeds from either the fund\'s dividends or capital gains, or both, are automatically used to buy more units of the funds.