There are few myths and misconceptions associated with investing in mutual fund schemes. Some of these notions have faded over time, as investor awareness has increased but some continue to hold strong. It is imperative to dispel these myths as investments should not be made under wrong impressions. It can throw the best laid out financial plan out of control, and the situation can be avoided with a little bit of caution.
Lower NAV is cheaper: The most common myth that is prevalent among mutual fund investors is that of associating a scheme with a lower NAV being a better buy compared to a scheme with a higher NAV. This stems from the mindset of equating mutual fund units with equity shares of a company. NAV of a scheme is irrelevant and irrespective of whether we are investing into a fund having a low NAV or a fund with a higher NAV, the amount of investment remains the same.
Let's look at a hypothetical investment into two schemes A and B. Scheme A has a NAV of Rs 10 whereas scheme B has a NAV of Rs 200. We made equal amount of investment of Rs. 1 lakh each in both the schemes. Scheme A would come across as a cheaper buy because we got 10,000 units as against 500 units in scheme B. Now, let us assume that both the scheme returns 10 % in a month. The NAV for scheme A is Rs 11 and Scheme B has a NAV of Rs 220. The value of your investment in both the case is Rs 1,10,000. Therefore, we see that the NAV of a scheme is irrelevant, as far as generating returns is concerned. The only difference being in case of the former, the investor gets more units and in the latter, he gets lesser units. For two schemes with identical portfolio and other things remaining constant, the difference in NAV will hardly matter and both the schemes will grow at the same rate.
Regular dividends means good performance: Another popular myth which emerges due to the linkages we make between the concepts of a stock markets and mutual funds is the dividend payout mechanism. When a company pays dividend, in effect it is transferring acerta in portion of its surplus to its shareholders. Therefore a generous dividend payout policy could be considered favourable in case of a company. However, in case of mutual funds, dividends are declared out of the distributable surplus which is included in calculation of net asset value. In effect it is paying back a certain portion of net assets from our own investments. Therefore, dividends from mutual fund units don't make us any richer, as there are no additional gains to be made. The NAV of the scheme falls to the extent of the dividend payout, when a scheme pays dividend. Thus, a scheme with a high dividend payout record does not necessarily mean that it is performing well. Dividend option may prove important to plan cash flows, especially in the case of tax savings scheme which have a lock-in period and also for tax incidence.
Demat account is required for MF investments : Except in case of schemes which are listed on the stock exchange and are available on their platforms, demat account is not required to own units in a mutual fund scheme.
Past performers are the best funds to buy : Despite the disclaimers, mutual fund investors tend to invest in the top performing scheme of the last year, hoping that past performance will ensure that the scheme continues to stay at the top. Therefore, instead of chasing the top performer in the short term, it is advisable to invest in a scheme which features in the top quartile consistently over a longer period of time. In addition to past performance, the investors should also consider other factors viz. professional management, service standards etc.
Fees and Expenses : As is the case with any other business, running a mutual fund business also involves costs. The various costs incurred by a mutual fund could be associated with transactions made by investors, operating costs, marketing and distribution expenses etc. Expenses borne by the mutual fund investor can be broadly classified into two categories: - (i) The load which may be charged to the investor at the time of redemption (ii) The recurring expenses which are charged to the fund.
Loads or Sales Charges : Loads are charges which investors incur when they redeem units in a mutual fund scheme. A load charged at the time of redemption is known as ‘Exit Load or Back End Load'. Asset management companies charge these loads to defray the selling and distribution expenses including commission paid to the agents/distributors.
Since August 1, 2009 entry load has been banned and therefore purchase/subscription of mutual funds happen at a price which is equal to the NAV. However, an investor is required to pay an exit load (if any) if he chooses to redeem units. This happens at a price linked to the NAV. This re-purchase price price may differ from NAV to the extent of exit load charged, if any.
Further, expenses related to New Fund Offer (NFO) are borne by the AMC / Trustee / Sponsor.
Recurring Expenses: These are costs incurred for day to day operation of a scheme. These expenses inter alia include investment management and advisory fees, trustee fees, registrar's fees, custodian's fees, Audit fees, marketing and selling expenses including agents' commission etc. Expenses exceeding the specified limit are to borne by the AMC.
Additional Distribution Expenses in case of new inflows from specified cities
In addition to total expenses ratio (TER) as specified above, the AMC will charge expenses not exceeding 0.30% of daily net assets if the new inflows in the scheme from such cities, as specified by SEBI from time to time, are at least: (i) 30% of gross new inflows in the scheme, or; (ii) 15% of the average assets under management (year to date) of the scheme, whichever is higher. In case, inflows from such cities is less than the higher of (i) or (ii) of above, such expenses on daily net assets of scheme will be charged on proportionate basis in accordance with SEBI Circular vide reference no. CIR/IMD/DF/21/2012 dated September 13, 2012. The additional expenses on account of inflows from such cities charged will be credited back to the scheme in case the said inflows are redeemed within a period of one year from the date of investment. The additional expenses charged in case of inflows from such cities will be utilized for distribution expenses incurred for bringing inflows from such cities.
Brokerage and Transaction Cost: In addition to limits specified in regulation 52 (6) of the Regulations, brokerage and transaction costs incurred for the purpose of execution of trade not exceeding 0.12% of value of trade in case of cash market transaction and 0.05% of value of trade in case of derivative transactions (inclusive of service tax) will be capitalised.
Any payment towards brokerage and transaction cost for execution of trade, over and above the said limit of 0.12% for cash market transactions and 0.05% for derivatives transactions may be charged to the scheme within the maximum limit of TER as prescribed under regulation 52 of the Regulations.
The total expenses of the scheme(s) including the Investment Management and Advisory Fee shall not exceed the limits stated in Regulation 52 of the SEBI (MF) Regulations. Any expenditure in excess of the prescribed limit (including brokerage and transaction cost, if any) will be borne by the AMC/ the Trustee /Sponsors. The Mutual Funds needs to update the current expense ratios on its website within two working days mentioning the effective date of change.
Mutual Fund investments are subject to market risks, read all scheme related documents carefully.