How to invest in mutual funds?

When investing in Mutual Funds, the investor is again spoilt for choices. Just like the numerable mutual fund schemes, the investor has the following routes to actually execute the investments. Direct Investment: Investing in any Mutual Fund involves getting hold of the Common Application Form of the scheme one wants to invest in, filling it up and signing it and submitting it along with the cheque to the Investor Service Centre of the specific Mutual Fund. If the amount of investment exceeds Rs. 50,000 in a year, then it is mandatory for the investor to first get his KYC (Know your customer) done.
                                                                                       Whatever route you may take, you must invest
Your Advisor: The most obvious choice is to invest through your Financial advisor. As he advises you on the investment choices, most Advisors also facilitate the execution of the investments. It saves you the work of doing the running around. A Mutual Fund Agent/Distributor: Just like an insurance agent, a Mutual Fund agent will help you make the investments. Post the banishing of entry loads on Mutual Funds(the 2.25% entry load), an agent may charge you a fee for facilitating the transaction. He may also double as an advisor. Your Bank: If you are a Do-It-Yourself investor, then investing through your bank is a good option. Banks like HDFC bank and ICICI bank offer the facility to do the investments online with no paper work involved as against the conventional route. Mutual Fund Websites: If your bank doesn’t offer you online facility, you can choose to invest through the website of the Mutual Funds directly. Payment can be made online through Netbanking facility offered by the Mutual Funds. However, you needs to remember a separate password for each Mutual Fund you want to transact in. Third party  Websites: The best option for a Do-It-Yourself investor is to purchase mutual funds through the online route provided by some Mutual Fund specialist companies in India. Two of them are FundsIndia.com and fundsupermart.co.in. Both do not charge any fee for opening an online account with them. Even Paytm and other apps have now started mutual funds investments. The Stock Exchanges: From December, 2009 Stock exchanges in India have started offering the facility to transact in Mutual Funds through their brokers and sub-brokers. This has widened the reach of the Mutual Funds network. However, this route has not been successful because of the brokerage cost and the conflict between the brokers’ interest in frequent trading versus Mutual Funds being a long-term investment tool. At the end of the day you, as an Investor, will choose the route that offers you good service and value for money.

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