Category Archives: Mutual Funds

Wishes for a Happy Diwali 2017

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Dear Friends,

                            Advance Diwali wishes from team PenguWIN !

Right from my childhood days, Deepavali day has been my favourite day of the year (birthday comes latter) as I used to be deeply obsessed with Crackers. I have even had ideas to open a fireworks shop during Diwali eve, not with money-making motive, but get a chance to visit Sivakasi and buy fireworks at cheap prices so that I get a huge quantity to burst. But till date, it remains an unfulfilled wish.

I am aware that Fireworks cause health hazards, but was unaware of its intensity – Apparently, burning snake tablets is equal (how many boxes is something that was not published and obviously it’s not just 1 tablet or a box containing a dozen tablets) to 475 cigarettes (courtesy NDTV). Fireworks have been banned in many places in NCR (in and around Delhi) and I guess it’s only a matter of time that it ceases to exist for retail consumption.

I would like to brief about a category of equity funds called Equity Savings Fund, which as a concept I am really impressed. The fund category has only a 2-year history and long-term performance is yet to be tested. All major fund houses have launched this fund, starting 3rd quarter of FY 15-16. After the 2014 budget when the Finance Minister changed the taxation of debt funds, all debt funds need to be held for 3 years for indexation benefit and subsequently taxed at 20%. Manufacturers in mutual fund industry (who create new schemes) are extremely savvy and came up with the concept of Equity Savings Fund.

For a fund to be categorized as Equity Fund, it has to have a minimum of 65% exposure to Equity (Stocks) and the balanced fund category is based on this principle, though SEBI continues to say that Balanced Fund should be 50%:50%, Equity and Debt. Meanwhile a separate category of funds called Arbitrage Funds came into existence, where the fund manager tries to identify opportunities of mispricing between cash and futures markets. Without getting too technical, Arbitrage Funds belongs to equity category but potential returns are like debt category (about 5 to 6% ROI now). There is no issue of losses in these funds as purchase and sale of securities are done at the same time.

Using the advantage of Equity for high returns, Debt for stable returns and Arbitrage for Equity tax treatment and stable returns, Equity Savings Fund was conceptualized. They take 1/3rd exposure to Equity, Debt and Arbitrage, with specific schemes taking a little higher or lower proportion of securities. They maintain a minimum of 65% exposure to Equity and Arbitrage so that the fund enjoys equity taxation. From a risk perspective, it’s a lot lower than Balanced Funds giving a comfort feel to investors.

This category of fund, caps both the upside and downside quite well through its composition and has potential to generate 10% to 12% (net of tax) over a 3-year time frame. If this fund category proves its mettle, they will become a great hit among investors who don’t have the appetite for high exposure to Equity and Tolerate Volatility. Balanced Funds have attracted huge inflows in the recent run, higher than any other equity fund category – good returns with reduced risk. Equity Savings Fund could well be the next category to bet on.  

< PenguWIN TITBIT # 103 – Equity Savings Fund>

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>

Welcoming New Year 2017-18

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Dear Friends,

                  A very Happy New Year to you!

For the Finance world in India the New Year starts on 1st April XXXX and ends on 31st March XXX(X+1). However, this is not a standard practice across the globe and some companies use Calendar Year as the financial accounting period i.e. 1 Jan XXXX to 31 Dec XXXX. While these 2 are the predominant periods, companies do follow other timelines for financial accounting. Ex. Oracle follows 1 June XXXX to 31 May XXX(X+1) as the accounting period.

We should feel extremely happy at this juncture, when the returns from the Equity Markets (and Debt too) have been wonderful for the period ending 31 Mar 2017. Rewind it by 1 year, 31 Mar 2016, the portfolio of most of our investors were in Red. Though none of our customers exited in fear, I was definitely worried as most of them are first time equity investors and typical investor reaction is to salvage whatever they have and exit the market. Here, I must say that the level of Composure and Maturity demonstrated by our investors was really great.

Equity Returns are never linear and the risk of equity is the volatility and not that we will lose everything like the fund scams (Sharda, EMU birds, Ponzi schemes and Gold houses in Chennai). The volatility decreases over time and that is the reason why Equities are referred as long term growth products.

A simple approach that I follow for equity investing is

  • Do not look at Equity for short term goals. It might happen that investors who started investing a year back would have made handsome returns in just 1 year, but I would say that luck was in their favour as predicting the market is impossible.
  • Never lose your conviction on Equity to deliver. Whenever there is a blood bath in the markets, eroding significant value, people tend to question their conviction and negative thoughts arise as whether they made a mistake.
  • Don’t invest in Lump-sum mode when the markets are highly valued and stagger the investments over a period of time. Valuation can be figured out through Price to Earnings Ratio (P/E) and Price to Book Value (P/BV) which is easily available.
  • Leave the investment management part to experts through MFs (I would be publishing a separate note on this)
  • The advantage of Equity investment is not just the returns that it can generate but also the taxation aspect of the instrument – currently not taxed if the investment duration crosses a year. Let’s make hay while the sun shines and before Finance Minister brings a twist.

I am enclosing some interesting data on the returns delivered by Equity in the last decade i.e. 31 Mar 2008 to 31 Mar 2017

I cannot predict if the year 2017-18 will continue to be a fantastic year for equity but the drivers are in position today, unlike the past. Investments from Domestic Institutions (DIIs), EPF, NPS and Mutual Funds have significantly improved countering the FII flows. Real Estate and Gold are not expected to improve which helps money flow into Equity

I propose to conduct year end portfolio reviews starting the week of 10th April 2017 and will reach out to you.

<Blog # PenguWIN 1052 – Welcoming New Year 2017-18>