Paytm\u2019s investment platform Paytm Money will likely help small town people get on board the mutual fund bandwagon, and further boost inflows for the asset management industry already flourishing due to shifting habits towards financialisation of savings. Paytm Money is looking to garner huge traction from the hinterlands by making it easier to invest, where mutual fund penetration is currently low, say experts. \u201cPaytm money is an excellent step towards ease of investing in MFs. The reach of Paytm in the hinterlands of India will help masses to enter the world of MFs and create long term wealth,\u201d Radhika Gupta, CEO, Edelweiss Asset Management, told FE Online. Mutual fund inflows have surged of late, with the total assets under management recently crossing a whopping Rs 25 lakh crore, helped by an increase in investments into liquid funds. Investors\u2019 interest in mutual funds saw a sharp rise after Prime Minister Narendra Modi\u2019s demonetisation, coupled with other curbs on black money, narrowed investment avenues. First time investors With Paytm Money, the mutual fund industry may expect even more inflows as the much talked about app is expected to bring first time investors from the hinterlands into the fold. \u201cPaytm will get in first time investors into mutual funds,\u201d Radhika Gupta said, adding in the same sentence: \u201cand it will also be important to advise these investors in a right way and hand hold them.\u201d Advisors will have an important role to play in guiding such investors, she pointed out, adding, \u201cI urge all new investors to seek advice before they invest.\u201d Moreover, investors on Paytm Money platform may also benefit from usually higher returns given by direct plans offered here, as opposed to regular mutual fund options. This could also provide a fillip to direct mutual fund plans, where traditionally the penetration has remained very low at 14% of overall industry AUM (assets under management). Direct entry \u201cI think if executed well it can increase flows into direct MFs, especially because their strategy is to focus on small town and cities where penetration level is very low,\u201d Alok Singh of BOI AXA mutual fund told FE Online. His views were echoed by Radhika Gupta. \u201cDue to its (Paytm\u2019s) reach and ease, expect a busloads of investors in direct plans,\u201d Radhika Gupta said.\u00a0However, not all asset managers are as hopeful. Saibal Ghosh, CIO, Aegon Life told FE Online he doesn\u2019t think that Paytm Money will have any impact on inflows into direct plans of mutual funds. Getting everyone to play Notably, Paytm Money has announced ambitious plans. It seeks to achieve a customer base of two-crore investors on its mutual fund platform in 1,000 days (less than three years). However, one must note that Paytm Money is not the only platform to offer online investment into direct mutual funds. Several other brokerages are moving to offer more avenues to invest in mutual funds via direct plans. Kotak Securities, Coin by Zerodha, Groww are among those that have already shifted to selling direct plans some time back. Further, India\u2019s top mutual fund registrars CAMS and Karvy also offer same investment avenues via their apps MyCams and KTrack.\u00a0Interestingly, only 14% of the overall mutual fund AUM is in direct plans, whereas 86% is in regular options, according to a CRISIL report.