Mutual Fund schemes: Why long-term investors are on the decline

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Updated: Mar 11, 2019 7:05 AM

Study shows in last one year, out of 364 such schemes, 67% gave negative returns.

One reason for this could be the poor performance of equity schemes.

Fewer retail investors in equity schemes of mutual funds now have the patience to stay invested for long periods. While four years ago, in December 2014, as much as 60% of retail equity AUM (assets under management) stayed invested for more than two years, this share had fallen to just 41% in December 2018. The data have been gathered by Association of Mutual Funds in India (Amfi).

One reason for this could be the poor performance of equity schemes. A study by ValueResearch revealed that of 364 equity schemes, 67% had given a negative return in the past one year. Of this, 78 equity schemes have given a negative return of more than 10%. In fact, inflows into pure equity schemes slipped to their lowest levels in 25 months in February.

The investors moving out before two years are mainly those who put in lump sum amounts rather than those who invest through SIPs (systematic investment plans).

However, in the past two or three months, some investors have started redeeming or stopping SIPs.

While the Sensex has gained 11% in the last one year, the BSE MidCap index and the BSE Small Cap index have lost 7% and nearly 16%, respectively. Moreover, only a handful of stocks — TCS, the HDFC twins, Bajaj Finance, Infosys and Reliance Industries — have driven up the Sensex with the rest performing poorly.

Jimmy Patel, MD and CEO at Quantum Asset Management Company (AMC), said the volatility in the equity markets had prompted some people to redeem units. That had caused the percentage of retail AUM to the total AUM to fall over the last two years. Nonetheless, he said the retail AUM was growing. The CEO of a leading fund house said lump-sum investments had slowed in the past few months.

The Amfi data show the average monthly inflows into equity schemes in the April-February slowed to Rs 9,110 crore from Rs 14,200 crore in 2017-18. Inflows into equity mutual funds (which includes equity, ELSS and arbitrage funds) in February were subdued at Rs 4,640 crore, the second smallest in 2018-19 so far. In December 2018, equity funds had attracted only Rs 4,442 crore, the smallest sum in 27 months.

The data from Amfi show that the contribution of SIPs stood at over Rs 8,095 crore in February against Rs 8,064 crore in January. In the period between April and February, total SIP contribution stood at Rs 84,638 crore. In the past three-four years, there has been a surge in SIPs as equity markets touched a new high. In the financial year, 2016-17 total SIP contribution in the industry was Rs 43,921 crore while it increased to Rs 67,190 crore in financial year 2017-18, show the Amfi data. The industry’s assets under management were Rs 23.37 lakh crore as on January, 2019.

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