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Equity Market Dynamics

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Friends,

            Apologies for the long silence (excluding the folks for whom it might have been a bliss) – Some investors even asked me if I had stopped writing Blogs. Income Tax Filing and GST Registration took a toll on my time – Need some excuse, right?

I have realized that starting a new habit like walking, running, swimming, meditation is easy. But, sustaining it for a long period of time is extremely difficult. I am telling this in the context of publishing blogs on a periodic basis rather than adhoc.       

  • ‘Invest cautiously through dynamic asset allocation funds’
  • ‘Move from mid-caps to large cap’
  • ‘Lower your return expectations’
  • ‘Earnings continue to be muted’
  • ‘Cash holding and arbitrage positions have increased’
  • ‘Risk-Reward is unfavourable for Equities’
  • ‘GDP growth takes a hit’
  • ‘Foreign Money is chasing India’s Reform Story’

 

The above statements were made by key fund managers and analysts, both Indian and International, in the recent weeks. Has our reform story taken off or yet to take-off? Statements like price to earnings P/E is more than 10-year average; 1 to 15 is considered cheap, 16-20 is considered fair and greater than 20 is considered as expensive may not be relevant in the current context. Currently Nifty and Sensex are trading at close to 24 P/E. I would tend to argue that there are major changes to the investment pattern which will change the contour of equity investments and following are some of the points why I think so.

  • Retail Investor participation in markets through MFs and ULIPs is at all time high with inflows increasing month over month. Equity MFs had an all-time high net-inflow of Rs. 21,875 Crores in Aug 2017. How was it before? Equity MFs had an all-time high net-inflow of Rs. 14,480 Crores in July 2017. This highlights the appetite of Indian Retail Investors which was not the case earlier.
  • Other than MF Equity route, inflows are high from sources like National Pension Scheme, Provident Fund, ULIPs.
  • The reason attributed to this heavy inflow is not that Investors have started embracing equity but also due to stagnant Real Estate Sector, Gold still struggling to cross 2012 levels and lowering of Bank/Post Office/Company Fixed deposit rates.
  • Instead of yearly dividend payments which was the norm until a few years ago, Quarterly and Monthly dividends in Equity Funds are being paid to attract gullible investors.
  • Some Wealth Management firms and independent practitioners, enticed by the volume and immediate benefits, invest huge lump-sums of their clients, running into crores, even in the current market.
  • The argument of average 10-year Price Earning is something that I don’t subscribe as there will be demand-supply mismatches which inflates the PE of a good stocks with earnings visibility

So, as sensible investors, what is that we can do in this frenzied Bull Run:

  1. Investors who embark on direct equity in this period need to know that, during bull runs, even the worst of stocks do well. Warren Buffet, the Oracle of Omaha and considered as the god of equity investing quoted ‘Only when the tide goes out do you discover who’s been swimming naked’.
  2. Do not go for Lump-Sum investments and invest through systematic plans – SIP and STP – Almost all Chief Investment Officers and Fund Managers of Fund houses are unanimous with this message.
  3. Medium and Small Company stocks have become overvalued and the hit will be heavier during correction. Advice is to stick with Large Company Stocks or move allocation from Small and Mid to Large. This is also a unanimous message
  4. The Equity markets would have changed the asset allocation pattern – skewed towards Equity than Debt and this needs to be rebalanced.
  5. Cashing out of Equity, especially MFs, is not a good idea as it is extremely difficult to predict when the correction will happen and when the market will go back to the original high. I remember atleast 3 popular fund houses, that took cash calls during the 2008-9 global crisis and for a short period those funds were doing better as they contained losses. But the celebration for those funds was short lived as the markets turned around sharply, not allowing the funds to re-deploy the cash. Some of these funds are still languishing.
  6. Even if there is a 10 to 20% correction, the macro factors for India is good which will life the markets – Inflation down, GST Implementation, Current Account and Fiscal deficit, Government gaining due to low Crude Prices – The only reason to be cautious is if we get another shock like Demon. or Beef ban or unrest with neighbours

 

<Blog # PenguWIN 1055 – Equity Market Dynamics>

SWP Campaign by a Leading Asset Management Company – 101

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Friends,

               I am not sure how many of you have seen the Systematic Withdrawal Campaign (SWP) by a leading Fund House (AMC). The advertisement (ad) has been published in several Newspapers and Magazines (Not sure about TV)

Today, one of our clients, who is close to his retirement, sent me a note and asked for my opinion on the ad. Initially when I had seen the ad, couple of days ago, the text ‘SWP’ caught my attention. Since I am very familiar with SWPs, I did not spend time in reading the details. They had shown an illustration as how you can look at Systematic Withdrawal Plan as a periodic cash flow. The ad had also explained the advantage of SWP by which you can save on taxation.

Now comes the interesting part. As per the illustration, an Investor does a purchase for 50 lakhs in an equity fund and starts monthly withdrawals of 30,000/- (which will work out to 3.6 Lakhs) and at the end of the year the balance is about 52 Lakhs.

The following section details my point of view:

The Idea of investing a huge amount as a Lump-sum is not a good one (I wouldn’t do that for our clients or me, unless we are taking about a person whose networth is 50C+ and can afford to take such huge bets). In case if that approach is taken, starting to withdraw from month 1 is a poor decision and can backfire since the volatility in equity markets can erode the principal amount. A 10% fall will erode the corpus by 5 lakhs making it 45 lakhs. This is the reason why we insist on a cooling/settling period of 5 years for equity investments to play out. That way the stock movements of ups and downs and volatility of returns settle down. This is also supported by historical data. It is possible that the stock prices keeps increasing throughout the year which will then support the illustration (like a 1 year bull run). However, the risk level with this approach is very high. It’s like I need 10 Lakhs for one of my impending financial goals (say kids’ education) next year and I am investing this 10L corpus in equity based instruments.

Typically our suggestion would be build a corpus (Diversified Equity Funds or/and Balanced funds) over a period of time through SIP/STP/small Lumpsum and allow it to stabilize. During the distribution (when cash flows are required) phase, the SWP approach of monthly/periodic withdrawals can be effectively used.  

Category: TITBITS

PenguWIN’s 3rd Anniversary

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Dear Friends,

Today, 4th July 2017, PenguWIN steps into 4th year of successful operations. It has been an exciting journey so far with ups and some downs. Our humble and sincere thanks to all our clients, well-wishers and partners for imposing faith and supporting us. There have been many instances where some of our existing clients have referred their friends/colleagues/relatives to benefit from our services and follow up with them on a regular basis, until they become our clients. I presume that only delighted clients would go so far.  

Personally, the learning have been immense and the confidence that we are able to build among our clients has increased significantly with magnitude of returns their portfolios have achieved. We have struck to our original objective of maximizing the value delivered over revenues. In this profession, if your focus is always on revenues and profits, then you tend to compromise on the kind of products and services that you offer to the clients. I believe that certain professions are to be run in this fashion or otherwise the person should not have chosen this. Professions including Doctors, Civil services have to be run in this fashion and not purely for the sake of money. We do keep hearing that doctors are given targets on performing surgeries and ‘Bureaucrats have become more corrupt than politicians’.  It’s not that these professionals should not make money, (and for the hard work that goes into their profession) but have to draw a clear line between what is ethics and what is not.

When we started 3 years back, the business has to be built from scratch with less than half a dozen investors who were very close friends of mine. A significant proportion of our clients that we work with today are new to financial investments, especially equities. However much historic data and facts are presented, unless the investors experience it personally in their portfolios, the conviction will not be there. Now, after 3 years of operation, I can confidently say that clients with whom we have worked for 2 years and above have made excellent returns in their portfolio. Though the market valuations (slightly on the higher side) is one of the reasons, the discipline of investing systematically and the pedigree of funds invested also play a key role.

Sensex from 4 July 14 to 4 Jul 17

 

From 25,962 on 4th July 2014, Sensex has moved to 31,321 (today’s opening) which is annualized return of 6.88%. But all our clients have made significant alpha (Fund returns over Sensex) over this period. The markets are almost at all-time high. But people who think that it is probably a time to sell need to understand that 12k, 16k, 22k and even 25,962 when we commenced operation (4-Jul-14) was an all-time high at that point in time. There is no doubt that Sensex will continue to grow further as long as the companies make profits (earnings) and the macro environment is good in India. While we don’t recommend lump-sum investments at this point in time, continuing your systematic investing (SIPs and SWPs) is a discipline that you have to adhere to. Selling should be done only based on our goals, when we have planned commitments and the fund managers are in a better position on judging the market. 

Equity as an asset class provides the best returns over longer time frames (3 to 5 years, minimum, depending on the product type). Investors who aspire to create wealth, should have conviction on Equity. Yes, it would not be a smooth journey and have minor and major jerks. But, this is the risk premium for fantastic returns that it provides, way above the other Asset classes. Don’t panic (investors typically get worried when the markets tank and at the same time the market touches new highs), remain cool and you will definitely make good returns and we are there to handhold you in this long journey. Please remember that “time” is a very important factor for success in Equity investment and allocation of short term funds to equity is one of the key issues that creates dissonance among people.

I want to repeat the following once again and ‘n’ number of times:  Our sincere thanks to all our esteemed clients for their support and encouragement without which we would not be where we are today. We strongly believe that references and word of mouth of delighted customers is what helps us grow rather than marketing gimmicks which are ephemeral.

 ‘The only place where success comes before work is in dictionary’ – Vidal Sasoon.

 

<Blog # PenguWIN 1054 – PenguWIN’s 3rd Anniversary>