Mutual Funds collect small sums of money from a large number of investors. This becomes a large pool of money which is invested into the market and the returns generated are distributed among the investors proportionately.
There are many advantages of investing in Mutual Funds:
- Professional Management: Investing directly in Equity is very risky for those who are not experts and lack the ability to track the market regularly. Mutual Funds are managed by professionals with adequate qualifications and experience.
- In house research is undertaken to aid the fund manager.
- Top management involvement to guide the investment policy and the fund house philosophy.
- Competitive performance resulting in constant improvement of portfolio and NAVs are disclosed at record timings.
- Diversification: Diversification is nothing but investing your money across different types of investments. An investor with a limited amount of funds might be able to invest in only one or two stocks/bonds. However, Mutual Funds invest in a no. of companies across a broad cross-section of industries and sectors. This diversification reduces the risk because it is unlikely that all the stocks decline at the same time. So Unit holders of a mutual fund achieve this diversification with very less money that an investor cannot do on its own.
- Low Cost: Mutual Funds invest huge amounts of money on a regular basis. Therefore they pay very less % of the amount such as brokerage, depository and other types of charges as compared to the individual investors. So mutual funds provide a cost efficient way to invest in the financial market.
- Transparency: Mutual Funds have to publish their NAV on a daily basis and they have to periodically share the portfolio investments with the investors. They offer transparency to investors and have to publish their results semi-annually. Any important change in the scheme has to be duly informed to investors.
- Attractive Returns: Mutual Funds give very attractive returns in the long or medium term because fund managers invest in stocks after considering the fundamentals, future plans of companies with the help of trained research teams. They use every possible technique to save the investors’ money such as Hedging. So it’s a very good investment avenue used in the financial planning process.
- Well Regulated: All the mutual funds have to be mandatorily registered with SEBI. SEBI Mutual Fund Regulations 1996, as amended till date, governs the mutual fund operations and investments. The regulatory system aims to ensure the protection of interest of investors. The fund investments have to be as per the scheme’s objectives and there has to be complete transparency about funds investment and performance. NAV of the fund has to be published daily and scheme’s performance periodically. SID (Society for Information Display) & SAI contains all relevant and important information pertaining to scheme and fund and serves as an important investment document for the investor. Thus mutual funds are a well regulated investment vehicle in India.
- Choice of Options: In India, Mutual Funds offer different types of schemes to suit the varying needs of investors. Investors have different goals and objectives, which may range from retirement planning to investing for a vacation. Investor’s needs may include capital appreciation, liquidity, regular income etc. Because of several types of schemes launched by mutual funds catering to different investment requirements, investors have numerous options to choose from the wide range of schemes such as growth plan, regular income plans or Equity oriented plan, Gilt Funds. They also have the choice available in their method of investment. They can invest lump sum money or they can opt for periodic investment in the form of monthly installments through Systematic Investment Plan (SIP). Similarly they can opt for single withdrawal of entire funds when needed or monthly Systematic Withdrawal Plan (SWP).
- Liquidity: Open ended mutual funds are very liquid investment avenues because investors. Open-ended schemes are all the time open for subscription and redemption with the fund house itself. Investors can enter and exit from the scheme at any time at the prevailing NAV. Closed ended schemes offer limited liquidity to investors. Investors can buy the units only during NFO (new fund offer) and can exit at the maturity of the scheme when the mutual fund redeems the units at the prevailing NAV. However, all the closed ended schemes have to be necessarily listed on the stock exchanges in India. This provides a secondary market exit route to the investors of closed ended schemes. Though the schemes are listed but practically trading volumes in mutual fund units are negligible and therefore closed ended schemes don’t offer liquidity to investors.
- Convenience: Mutual funds provide a very easy and convenient way of investment as well as withdrawal of funds as compared to other investment avenues like Real estate, Debt instruments etc. Investors can invest in any manner either through distributors in the physical form or can buy units online whatever is convenient to them. Units can be held in physical or demat form.
Mutual Fund is an investment avenue which gives the small investors an option to participate in the capital market with their small funds and limited knowledge of the volatile market.