Monday, December 12, 2016

How do you know which scheme you have invested in?

"How do you know where the mutual fund scheme invests our money?"

To understand the answer to this basic question, click here to read my article in today's Mid-day Gujarati, Mumbai edition.


The English translation is as under:

Recently, after an investment seminar, someone approached me and asked a very basic question: “How do I know if a mutual fund scheme is an equity fund, a balanced fund, a debt fund or a liquid fund?” Well, for someone who has spent more than a decade and a half in mutual fund industry, this was unthinkable. However, the question only reflects that there is still a lot of work required to spread the awareness about a good investment vehicle.
Well, let us come back to the question that the person asked. How does one know what type of a fund it is?
A mutual fund is a portfolio of investments. All of us have a portfolio built by ourselves. We invest some money in bank deposits, some in company deposits, we buy some debentures, we buy some small savings schemes, and we also buy some shares or even a real estate property. We refer to a combination of all these investments together as an investment portfolio.
Similarly, a mutual fund scheme is another portfolio with a few differences. For one, the portfolio referred earlier is self-managed by the investor; whereas the mutual fund portfolio is managed by a professional fund management team. Second difference is huge. While constructing our self-managed portfolios, we normally do not start with some guidelines regarding how we would manage the same. In case of a mutual fund, the scheme’s investment objective, investment style and the investment universe have to be clearly defined in a legal document called the offer document.
It is this offer document that one must refer to in order to understand the details of the scheme. Let us introduce this particular document. An offer document is like a janam-kundli. It is the legal document that binds the fund management company and the fund management team. The fund management team has to manage the scheme in accordance with this document. This is why details like the scheme’s objective, investment style and details of where the money can be invested – are all part of this document. Apart from this basic scheme related details, this document also gives details of the fund management company as well as its promoters, which includes their financial details. This helps one assess the financial and technical strengths of those who manage your money. One can also access information (including the past track record) regarding other schemes managed by the same fund management team. The service and operational details are also a must.
Since the single document was becoming too bulky with too much information, SEBI made an investor friendly change – breaking the document in two parts, viz., Scheme Information and Statement of Additional Information. The former carries details regarding the scheme one is considering, whereas the latter details information regarding the fund management company and other general details.
An investor is required to have read the offer document before investing in the scheme. Please follow this advice as it is always in your benefit to “look before you leap”.
Happy investing
- Amit Trivedi

1 comment:

  1. Hey, thanks for the information. your posts are informative and useful.