SIPs (systematic investment plans) are in the news again. This time for showing a dip in their collections in the month of April, which is believed to be because of the shaky stock markets which might have rattled retail investors and prompted some of them to discontinue their SIPs at least for the time being. According to the Association of Mutual Funds in India (AMFI), mutual funds currently have about 2.16 crore SIP accounts through which investors regularly invest in mutual fund schemes. And the total amount collected through SIPs during April 2018 stood at Rs 6,690 crore as against Rs 7,119 crore in March this year, showing a dip by Rs 429 crore. Some industry experts attribute this dip in mutual fund investments through SIPs to the shaky stock markets. If that is the case, then the question arises: What should investors do now? Should they stop their SIPs or go slow on them till the markets remain shaky? Will it be a wise move? Financial experts, however, say that it is not unusual to see a slight dip in SIP collections in a particular month, which may happen for various reasons. Also, keeping the shaky or volatile markets in view, some investors sometimes postpone investing in equity markets either directly or through SIPs. However, the so-called dip in the SIP inflows in April 2018 compared to March 2018 should be seen in the right context. \u201cThe month of February has no 30th and 31st days. Hence, February 2018 showed a drop because SIP marked for those two days did not happen in that month. These two SIP installment days were reflected in March 2018, indicating a jump. The high March 2018 number actually was a result of this aberration. The April 2018 monthly SIP amount only reflects a normalized number,\u201d says Anil Rego, Founder and CEO, Right Horizons. Month-wise SIP amount collected from FY 2016-17 onwards: (Source: AMFI) What should investors do? According to experts, retail SIP investors must stick to their investment plan. Wobbly markets or not, reaching their financial goals are a must. Discontinuing SIP to avoid temporary volatility is akin to staying at home because there were heavy rains yesterday! In fact, systematic investment plans are best suited for volatile markets when stocks are going up or going down on different days. There is no need to do anything! \u201cKeep calm and carry on. Do not panic because this is the noise created by the slow decline. By looking at NAV and looking at investment value daily, it is quite unnerving an experience. Did long term SIP investors lose money despite bad years like 2008, 2011 or 2015? Continue your long-term SIPs and stop looking at markets every other day. If you have entrusted your money to good funds, trust the process to work for you,\u201d advises Rego. Financial experts say that SIPs are typically very long-term investments which follow the philosophy of 'rupee cost averaging'. Any bouts of volatility in the stock markers actually help SIP investments over long periods as the incremental allocations go into the markets at lower levels and the cost prices are lower. \u201cThe last few years, especially post 2014, have been a very good period for equity investors where markets have more or less gone up in a linear direction (barring a few months of consolidation and very short lived dips). However, this has been a rather unusual pattern and investors, especially the ones who have entered the markets post 2014, need to step back and understand that the only thing certain about equity markets is that they will be volatile and they should brace themselves for much longer and extended periods of volatility in the days and months to come,\u201d says Vivek Banka, Founder and CEO ALTIORE Capital. The way ahead Industry experts believe that equities should still continue to be the best possible asset class. However, the journey would be more arduous wherein their patience levels would be tested. In this periods of volatility, it is important for investors to stick to their asset allocation and not get carried away by either greed or fear. \u201cInvestors who are risk-averse can, however, reassess their allocations to the category of equity funds they are exposed to. Investors wanting lower volatility would be better off in large cap \/ multi cap or index funds as small and mid cap funds are more volatile. Needless to say, this should be done in conjunction with their risk profile and time horizon in conjunction with their financial \/ investment advisors,\u201d advises Banka.