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Over a period of time Mutual funds have become a very popular investment vehicle in India. The reasons for the popularity of mutual funds among investors are many:
Qualified Professionals manage the Mutual Funds and attempt to maximise the returns and minimise the risk within the stated objectives of the Mutual Fund Scheme.
This is the biggest advantage of investing in a mutual fund, especially for a small investor. This ensures that the investor is not exposed to the risk of a single sector and is not dependent on the performance of one company.
An investor can get exposure to professionally managed Mutual Fund investments for as low as Rs. 500. They can get exposure to big tickets investments(like some Fixed income instruments) through Mutual Funds. Also, SEBI has capped the maximum amount that can be charged as an Expenses to the fund based on the fund size.
Mutual Fund Schemes held by an investor are very liquid. They can be redeemed at the NAV of the Scheme which is declared every day and the redemption proceeds are received by the investor in T+2 days i.e. within two days of the date of redemption.
Choice of schemes
An investors can make a choice from a large number of Schemes so that the investments match with his objectives and goals.
Within Schemes, investors are provided with a number of options like Growth Option, Dividend Option, Reinvestment Option, Systematic Investment Plan (SIP), Systematic Transfer Plan (STP), Systematic Withdrawal Plan (SWP), etc.
Mutual Funds have come out with a number of innovative products like Trigger facility, transfer of equity gains to a debt scheme, etc. to satisfy the needs of the investors.
This has increased the confidence of investors in the Mutual Fund Structure. Information is available to investors through fact sheets, offer documents, annual reports, periodic investment statements, etc. on a periodic basis.
Dividends received from equity schemes of Mutual Funds (i.e. schemes with equity exposure of more than 65%) are completely tax-free. Equity schemes held for more than one year do not attract any capital gains tax on redemption.
SEBI Regulations govern the mutual funds industry and protect the interest of investors. This also ensures transparency in the operating of the Mutual Fund.
Though very less compared to the advantages, Mutual Funds suffer from the following disadvantages:
(a) In case the manager does not perform well, the fund may give returns lower than the index.
(b) The investor has to pay a management fees and other expenses even if the fund gives negative returns. Returns are not guaranteed.
(c) Investors have no say in their portfolio as the same is managed by the AMC as per the scheme objectives and customisation for an individual investor is not possible.