What is an STP and how does it work?

What is STP?

Now almost every investor is familiar with the Systematic Investment Plan (SIP).  While SIP is the transfer of money from savings to a mutual fund plan, STP means transferring money from one mutual fund to another.

STP is a smart strategy to stagger your investment over a specific term to reduce risks and balance returns. For instance, if you invest ‘systematically’ in equity, you can earn risk-free returns even during volatile market scenarios. Here, an AMC permits you to put a lump sum in one fund, and transfer a fixed amount to another scheme regularly. The former fund is called source scheme or transferor scheme, and the latter is called the target scheme or destination scheme.

How does STP work?

One opts for an STP when there is a lump sum to invest and want to spread the risk of investing in one go over a period of time. Like a SIP, an STP helps spread out investments over a period of time to average the purchase cost and rule out the risk of getting into the market at its peak.

While Investing

However, with an STP, you invest a lump sum in one scheme (mostly a debt scheme) and transfer a fixed amount from this scheme regularly to another scheme (mostly an equity scheme).

The basic idea behind an STP is to earn a little extra on the lump sum while it is being deployed in equity since debt funds provide better returns than a normal savings bank account.

While Redemption

STP is also done from an Equity Fund to a debt Fund when you are approaching your long term goals for which you had invested in Equity Funds, you do not wait till the last day to redeem your investments. You start transferring your funds 2-3 years before the goal date to your debt fund. Now, where the markets are not at its best, you can do an STP from equity to debt. Where the market is very good, you could opt for a lumpsum transfer.

How to make the most of your STP investments?

As we had discussed in the Article – Why you should avoid timing the markets for your SIP and SIP’s automatically make the most of the market changes and help you average the cost of making mutual fund investments.  STP’s work on similar lines. STPs are also a method of making regular investments in mutual funds.

In STPs, you transfer funds from one mutual fund scheme to another, periodically.

Every month, a fixed sum flows into the investment, leading to cost averaging and eventual high returns. However, when it comes to investing a lump sum amount, you are faced with the challenge of how to manage the market risk. For anyone who has understood the efficacy of SIP, the right way to go about this kind of an investment is to put it into a liquid fund, and then do a monthly transfer from there.

Taxation of an STP

When you transfer from one mutual fund scheme to another, it is considered as sale and the same is taxable as per Mutual Fund taxation provisions.

In case of debt funds, if your holding period is less than 36 months, then the amount that you withdraw will form a part of your income. It will then be taxed according to your income slab. On the other hand, if the holding period is more than 36 months, then the long-term capital gains will be taxed at 20% with indexation.

In case of equity funds, if your holding period is less than 1 year, then the withdrawn amount will be taxed at the rate of 15%. On the other hand, if the holding period is more than 1 year, then the long-term capital gains will be taxed at 10% without indexation.

Wealth Cafe Actionable: Where you are a regular SIP investor and want to distribute your market risk and make use of cost averaging, Invest your lumpsum gains such as bonus, wedding gifts, etc into a liquid fund and set up an STP into an equity Fund

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