What if you could invest your money and have someone else professionally manage it for you? Services like these do exist, but they come with a requirement of high amounts of capital or money to be invested. What if you could avail such a service, even with a small investment and get the advantage of professional money management? Well, this is possible by investing in mutual funds.
WHAT IS A MUTUAL FUNDS ?
A mutual fund is essentially a common pool of money in which investors put in their contribution. This collective amount is then invested according to the investment objective of the fund.
The money could be invested in stocks, bonds, money market instruments, gold and other similar assets. These funds are operated by money managers or fund managers, who by investing in line with the specified investment objective attempt to create growth or appreciation of the amount for investors.
For example, a debt fund will have its specified objective to invest in fixed income instruments or products like bonds, government securities, debentures, etc. Similarly, an equity fund will invest in stocks and other equity instruments.
SOME COMMON CATEGORIES OF MUTUAL FUNDS ARE :
Equity funds - funds that invest only in stocks and other equity instruments
Debt funds - funds that invest only in fixed income instruments
Money market funds - funds that invest in short-term money market instruments
d funds - funds that divide investments between equity and debt to create a balance
HOW IS A MUTUAL FUNDS SET UP ?
A mutual fund is set up in the form of a trust, which has a sponsor, trustees, Asset Management Company (AMC) and custodian. The trust is established by a sponsor who is like the promoter of a company. The trustees of the mutual fund hold its property for the benefit of the unit holders. The custodian, who is registered with the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI), holds the securities of various schemes of the fund in its custody. The trustees are vested with the general power of superintendence and direction over the AMC. They monitor the performance and compliance with SEBI Regulations.
The AMC employs professional money managers, having expertise in investing in equity, debt or both, who then invest the collected amount from investors and manage it on their behalf.
The AMC may have several mutual fund schemes with their specific investment mandates. An investor can choose which scheme he or she wants to invest in, based on the given mandate or objective.
All AMCs are governed by a Board of Directors and come under the SEBI (Mutual Funds) Regulations, 1996. The regulator or SEBI has set clear mutual fund regulations and requires all mutual fund schemes of an AMC to clearly spell out the fund's objectives in its prospectus that an investor must read before he/she invests in a mutual fund.
WHAT IS THE BENEFIT OF INVESTINGS IN MUTUAL FUNDS ?
One of the key advantages of investing in a mutual fund is that each investor (even with a small investment) gets access to professional money management and expertise. Also, it would be very difficult for an investor to create a diversified portfolio of investments on his own with a small amount of money. With mutual funds, each investor participates proportionally in the return the scheme generates.
Each unit gets a proportional share of gain (or bears loss) from the fund. There is a portfolio report generated for each investor, which tracks all investments and the returns generated by the mutual fund.
REQUIREMENTS AND MODES OF INVESTMENTS IN MUTUAL FUNDS
One Needs to be KYC compliant with one of the KRAs to be able to invest in Mutual Funds. You can gey KYC compliant online or offline depending on your comfort. You need following documents to get KYC compliant:-
You can invest into mutual funds in Lumpsum amounts or systematically, via Systematic Investment Plans, commonly known as SIPs
Open ended funds
An open-end fund is a diversified portfolio of pooled investor money that can issue an unlimited number of shares. The fund sponsor sells shares directly to investors and redeems them as well.
Close Ended funds
A closed-end fund (CEF) or closed-ended fund is a collective investment model based on issuing a fixed number of shares which are not redeemable from the fund.
An equity fund is a mutual fund that invests principally in stocks. It can be actively or passively (index fund) managed. Equity funds are also known as stock funds.
A bond fund or debt fund is a fund that invests in bonds, or other debt securities. Bond funds can be contrasted with stock funds and money funds.
Hybrid funds are mutual funds or exchange-traded funds (ETFs) that invest in more than one type of investment security, such as stocks and bonds.
Income funds are mutual funds or ETFs that prioritize current income, often in the form of interest or dividend paying investments.
Real asset funds
Real assets are physical assets that have an intrinsic worth due to their substance and properties. Real assets include precious metals, commodities, real estate, land, equipment, and natural resources.
A sector fund is a fund that invests solely in businesses that operate in a particular industry or sector of the economy. Sector funds are commonly structured as mutual funds or exchange-traded funds