Monday, February 28, 2011


* Fiscal deficit for FY11 at 5.1% ; FY12 seen at 4.6%
* Personal income tax exemption limit for individual tax payers raised to Rs 1.8 lakh from Rs 1.6 lakh.
* Tax exemption limit for senior citizens increased to Rs 2.5 lakh from Rs 2.4 lakh
* Eligibile age for senior citizens reduced to 60 years against 65 years
* No new tax exemption limits for women
* Tax exemption limit for ‘very senior’ citizens over 80 years at Rs.5 lakh
* SEZ to come under MAT.
* MAT raised to 18.5% v/s 18%
* Corporate surcharge reduced to 5% from 7.5%
* FY11 Fiscal deficit at 5.1%; F12 at 4.6%
* AC restaurants serving liquor to pay service tax
* Direct Tax Code (DTC) to be effective from April 01, 2012
* Divestment target at Rs.40,000 crore for FY12
* SEBI registered mutual funds permitted to accept subscription from foreign investors
* FII limit for investment in corporate bonds in infrastructure sector raised from US$20 bln to US$40bln
* SIDBI to create India Microfinance Equity Fund of Rs. 100 crore
* Special incentives for hybrid vehicle makers if Made in India
* Health Check-Ups in Private hospitals to become expensive
* Rs 52,057 cr for education sector
* Rs 58,000 cr to Bharat Nirman projects
* Social projects spending outlay up 17%
* 24% increase in educational allocations
* Rs 30K crore tax free bonds for railways, NHAI
* To tax life insurance service providers
* Servcie tax on hotel accommodation above Rs 1,000 per day
* Domestic travel to pay Rs 50 service tax, Rs 250 on international travel
* AC hospitals with more than 25 beds under service tax
* Import duty on gypsum and coal from 5% to 2.5%
* Fertiliser sector to get infrastructure status
* 7 Mega clusters for leather products to be set up
* Rs.200 crore for cleaning of rivers
* 7 Mega clusters for leather products to be set up
* 23.3% increase in allocation for infrastructure

Tuesday, February 01, 2011

How To Invest in Mutual Funds ?

Mutual funds normally come out with an advertisement in newspapers publishing the date of launch of the new schemes. Investors can also contact the agents and distributors of mutual funds who are spread all over the country for necessary information and application forms. Forms can be deposited with mutual funds through the agents and distributors who provide such services. Now a days, the post offices and banks also distribute the units of mutual funds. However, the investors may please note that the mutual funds schemes being marketed by banks and post offices should not be taken as their own schemes and no assurance of returns is given by them. The only role of banks and post offices is to help in distribution of mutual funds schemes to the investors.

Investors should not be carried away by commission/gifts given by agents/distributors for investing in a particular scheme. On the other hand they must consider the track record of the mutual fund and should take objective decisions.

Non-Resident Indians (NRI) can also invest in mutual funds. Normally, necessary details in this respect are given in the offer documents of the schemes.

Mutual Funds Performance

The performance of a Mutual Fund is reflected in its net asset value (NAV) which is disclosed on daily basis in case of open-ended schemes and on weekly basis in case of close-ended schemes. The NAVs of mutual funds are required to be published in newspapers. The NAVs are also available on the web sites of mutual funds. All mutual funds are also required to put their NAVs on the web site of Association of Mutual Funds in India (AMFI) and thus the investors can access NAVs of all mutual funds at one place

The mutual funds are also required to publish their performance in the form of half-yearly results which also include their returns/yields over a period of time i.e. last six months, 1 year, 3 years, 5 years and since inception of schemes. Investors can also look into other details like percentage of expenses of total assets as these have an affect on the yield and other useful information in the same half-yearly format.

The mutual funds are also required to send annual report or abridged annual report to the unitholders at the end of the year.

Various studies on mutual fund schemes including yields of different schemes are being published by the financial newspapers on a weekly basis. Apart from these, many research agencies also publish research reports on performance of mutual funds including the ranking of various schemes in terms of their performance. Investors should study these reports and keep themselves informed about the performance of various schemes of different mutual funds.

Investors can compare the performance of their schemes with those of other mutual funds under the same category. They can also compare the performance of equity oriented schemes with the benchmarks like BSE Sensitive Index, S&P CNX Nifty, etc.

On the basis of performance of the mutual funds, the investors should decide when to enter or exit from a mutual fund scheme

Types of Mutual Funds

Schemes according to Maturity Period:

A mutual fund scheme can be classified into open-ended scheme or close-ended scheme depending on its maturity period.

Open-ended Fund

An open-ended Mutual fund is one that is available for subscription and repurchase on a continuous basis. These Funds do not have a fixed maturity period. Investors can conveniently buy and sell units at Net Asset Value (NAV) related prices which are declared on a daily basis. The key feature of open-end schemes is liquidity.

Close-ended Fund

A close-ended Mutual fund has a stipulated maturity period e.g. 5-7 years. The fund is open for subscription only during a specified period at the time of launch of the scheme. Investors can invest in the scheme at the time of the initial public issue and thereafter they can buy or sell the units of the scheme on the stock exchanges where the units are listed. In order to provide an exit route to the investors, some close-ended funds give an option of selling back the units to the mutual fund through periodic repurchase at NAV related prices. SEBI Regulations stipulate that at least one of the two exit routes is provided to the investor i.e. either repurchase facility or through listing on stock exchanges. These mutual funds schemes disclose NAV generally on weekly basis.

Fund according to Investment Objective:

A scheme can also be classified as growth fund, income fund, or balanced fund considering its investment objective. Such schemes may be open-ended or close-ended schemes as described earlier. Such schemes may be classified mainly as follows:

Growth / Equity Oriented Scheme

The aim of growth funds is to provide capital appreciation over the medium to long- term. Such schemes normally invest a major part of their corpus in equities. Such funds have comparatively high risks. These schemes provide different options to the investors like dividend option, capital appreciation, etc. and the investors may choose an option depending on their preferences. The investors must indicate the option in the application form. The mutual funds also allow the investors to change the options at a later date. Growth schemes are good for investors having a long-term outlook seeking appreciation over a period of time.

Income / Debt Oriented Scheme

The aim of income funds is to provide regular and steady income to investors. Such schemes generally invest in fixed income securities such as bonds, corporate debentures, Government securities and money market instruments. Such funds are less risky compared to equity schemes. These funds are not affected because of fluctuations in equity markets. However, opportunities of capital appreciation are also limited in such funds. The NAVs of such funds are affected because of change in interest rates in the country. If the interest rates fall, NAVs of such funds are likely to increase in the short run and vice versa. However, long term investors may not bother about these fluctuations.

Balanced Fund

The aim of balanced funds is to provide both growth and regular income as such schemes invest both in equities and fixed income securities in the proportion indicated in their offer documents. These are appropriate for investors looking for moderate growth. They generally invest 40-60% in equity and debt instruments. These funds are also affected because of fluctuations in share prices in the stock markets. However, NAVs of such funds are likely to be less volatile compared to pure equity funds.

Money Market or Liquid Fund

These funds are also income funds and their aim is to provide easy liquidity, preservation of capital and moderate income. These schemes invest exclusively in safer short-term instruments such as treasury bills, certificates of deposit, commercial paper and inter-bank call money, government securities, etc. Returns on these schemes fluctuate much less compared to other funds. These funds are appropriate for corporate and individual investors as a means to park their surplus funds for short periods.
Gilt Fund
These funds invest exclusively in government securities. Government securities have no default risk. NAVs of these schemes also fluctuate due to change in interest rates and other economic factors as is the case with income or debt oriented schemes.
Index Funds
Index Funds replicate the portfolio of a particular index such as the BSE Sensitive index, S&P NSE 50 index (Nifty), etc These schemes invest in the securities in the same weightage comprising of an index. NAVs of such schemes would rise or fall in accordance with the rise or fall in the index, though not exactly by the same percentage due to some factors known as "tracking error" in technical terms. Necessary disclosures in this regard are made in the offer document of the mutual fund scheme. There are also exchange traded index funds launched by the mutual funds which are traded on the stock exchanges.