Category Archives: Personal Finance

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>

Who is Right?

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Dear Friends,

                            Navratri wishes to all of you!

In this titbit, I am presenting a real-life case of Life Insurance and leave it open to you for response as who is right!

Mr. Mayur, aged 32, IT professional lives in a newly purchased property along with his wife Shilpa, homemaker and 1-year old daughter Niveda. Mayur has taken a home loan of Rs. 90,00,000/- to be paid over 20 years resulting in a monthly EMI of 84,000/-. He does not have any other assets and both Mayur and Shilpa will not be beneficiaries of any inheritance.

One of Mayur’s colleagues, who knows his background, suggests that Mayur should meet a professional investment advisor and seek his help to plan his finances. In the initial meeting with the advisor (Manish), which was brief and more like an icebreaker session, Manish suggests that Mayur needs to buy a life cover as any contingency to his life will be a huge burden on his family. Based on the evaluation of Mayur’s human life value (HLV) by both Income Replacement and Expenses & Liability approach, Manish determines that Mayur would need a cover of atleast 2 Crores. Manish recommends Mayur to buy a 1 Crore term cover from 2 Life Insurers totalling 2 Crores of Sum Assured (SA). The total premium for 2 Crores sum assured would cost approx. Rs. 20,000/- per year

Mayur feels happy that this insurer is going the extra mile to service him.  The representative from Insurance company 2, meets Mayur and asks him the background of the Insurance requirement. Once he understands the requirement, he makes a different pitch to Mayur. Mayur has anyway bought a 1 Crore term insurance which will not provide him anything in return and the entire money paid to the insurer will go waste. Instead he proposes a ULIP cover with a premium or Rs. 12,000/- per annum that will provide a small SA of 1 Lakhs or the value of the investment, whichever is higher.

He convinces Mayur by showing him different scenarios of the return potential of the ULIP, with 100% equity investment. The Equity market soared that year and the ULIP bought by Mayur attained a value of 16,000/- for an initial investment of 12,000/- Mayur continues to pay for both the Term Cover and ULIP and at the end of 5 years finds the value of his ULIP to be about 1.25 Lakhs while the 10,000/- premium that he pays for the Term Cover has gone down the drain leaving him confused and thinking whether the decision of taking a Term Cover was right.

< PenguWIN TITBIT # 102 – Who is Right?>

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>