Monday, November 28, 2016

Why so many financial advisors and mutual fund distributors consider SIP as the best investment strategy?

When you talk to most mutual fund distributors or financial advisors, you are most likely to come across one common recommendation: start an SIP in a mutual fund scheme. Why do they so commonly recommend this? Is SIP so good?

Click here to read the article as appeared in Mid-day Gujarati edition today ...

The English translation of the article is as under:

Why so many financial advisors and mutual fund distributors consider SIP as the best investment strategy?
When you talk to most mutual fund distributors or financial advisors, you are most likely to come across one common recommendation: start an SIP in a mutual fund scheme. Why do they so commonly recommend this? Is SIP so good?
Well, there are many arguments and counterarguments regarding the merits of SIP. Some tend to indicate that investment through SIP may result into higher returns as compared to lump sum investing and there are arguments against this point. According to me, it is a fruitless exercise to try and figure out which strategy would result into higher returns. It is not the rate of return, but the amount accumulated for a goal that matters to an investor.
Given this, the discussion must shift to the amount required for the goal and the time available for such accumulation. With this information in hand, one has to plan to ensure enough amount is available at the time of the requirement.
There are three approaches that one may adopt:
1.     Investing lump sum
2.     Investing small amounts on a regular basis
3.     A combination of the above two
As we know, most of us often do not have large lump sum amounts available for investment and that most of us earn, spend and save on a regular basis. Due to this situation, regular investing becomes a better option, which helps us channelize our regular savings into productive investments.
SIP is not about earning higher returns, but about getting into a discipline of investing on a regular basis. It is this discipline that helps us accumulate large sums over long periods. Remember the old saying,
Every drop makes an ocean
Small amounts invested over a period have the power to help one reach one’s financial goals. This discipline is similar to the advice most seasoned cricketers give young batsmen – keep taking one and two runs and don’t rely heavily on the fours and sixes, keep rotating the strike. These runs add up to many over the course of a match.
SIP allows you to buy a diversified portfolio through investing small amounts on a regular basis. We have already seen the benefit of diversification earlier. Add to that the other benefit offered by SIP – Rupee cost averaging, which reduces the cost of buying the units. If you keep your money invested for long periods, the power of compounding sets in, helping you create a corpus enough to take care of your financial goals and your financial future.
All the best! Save regularly, in a disciplined way through an SIP.
-       Amit Trivedi


Saturday, November 19, 2016

Cycle is the destiny

More than two decades of professional experience in capital markets. As a trainer, trained more than 50,000 participants through 940 workshops (for mutual fund distributors, CFPs and regulators; as well as for investors) across 98 different locations across the country. Author of a book “Riding The Roller Coaster – Lessons From Financial Market Cycles We Repeatedly Forget”, published by TV18 Broadcast Ltd, a CNBC group company. Amit Trivedi writes about the eternal truth in this article.

Click here to read the article.

Monday, November 14, 2016

PPF or debt mutual funds?

Now that the interest rate in PPF has come down and with the debt funds offering double digit returns, should one shift from PPF to debt mutual funds?

Click here to get the answer.

The English translation of the article is as under:

“Should I continue to invest in PPF at reduced interest rates or invest in debt funds to earn between 9% to 12%?” Asked someone recently.
Looking at the question, it seemed he is a keen follower of the financial markets. He was aware of the interest rates on PPF, which have been recently lowered as well as the returns generated by various categories of debt funds.
However, there is a small observation on what he observed. He was referring to what interest rate would be earned in future on the investments in PPF, the debt fund returns were those generated in the past. Aren’t high past returns sustainable? Aren’t professional fund managers supposed to generate high returns? Well, in order to get answers to these questions, it is important to understand the reason why past returns are so high.
As of November 7th 2016, the returns generated by various categories debt funds are as under:

Fund category
1 year return (%)
Debt: Gilt Medium & Long Term
Debt: Dynamic Bond
Debt: Income
Debt: Credit Opportunities
Debt: Short Term

Data as on Nov 07, 2016
As you can see, certain categories of debt funds have delivered handsome returns given that the interest rates last year were below 10% in bank deposits as well as Government Securities. So what caused the debt funds to deliver such returns?
In the last one year, there was one factor that positively impacted the investment returns – drop in interest rates. You may recall that we had covered the impact of interest rate changes on debt securities and hence on debt funds.
Interest rates and bond prices have an inverse relationship, i.e. when the interest rates drop, bond prices rise and vice versa. When the bond prices rise, the NAV of debt funds would also go up.
Now that is one of the components that contribute to debt fund returns. The other component is the interest rates earned on the bonds or debentures that fund has bought.
Let us take an example:
Say a mutual fund invested in the debenture of a company. The debenture was available for purchase for Rs. 1,000 and it carried interest rate of 9% p.a. After a year, similar debentures available in the market were offering interest of 8.5% p.a. The earlier bond looks more attractive due to higher interest rate. It is this increased attractiveness that results in rise in price.
The bond fund would have gained from two things, (1) the 9% interest earned on the bond, and (2) the rise in market price of the bond.
However, the moment the price goes up, the future earnings are now adjusted in line with the new interest rates, i.e. from now onwards, the earnings would be at the rate of 8.5% p.a.
In other terms, the future earnings gap between 9% and 8.5% has been adjusted in the current price of the bond giving a capital gain.
With such an adjustment already completed, the future returns would be a function of (1) current interest rates, and (2) any capital gain or loss on account of change in interest rates in future.
In the above example, the interest rates reduced giving rise to bond prices. If the interest rates in economy move up, the prices of bonds would go down.
For the bond funds to deliver such high returns as the past one year, the interest rates in the economy must drop further. Now that is something I cannot predict.
Keep your expectations low. The past returns may not be sustained in future. After having low expectations, if you get higher returns, enjoy.
At the same time, let us not forget some major benefits offered by debt mutual funds. These are:
·      Diversified portfolio
·      Professional management of the funds
·      Easy and convenient liquidity
·      Flexibility to invest in the same folio
·      Flexibility to redeem full or part of the investments
·      Tax efficiency
It is not just the investment returns, there are many other factors that one must keep in mind before taking an investment decision.
- Amit Trivedi

Saturday, November 5, 2016

Quoted in India Today

In a story related to the TER on mutual funds, my quote was taken by India Today.

Here is the photo of the relevant page