Systematic Investment Plans (SIPs), which have withstood volatile markets, seem to be losing steam. Officials in the mutual fund industry say that investors have started reconsidering their SIPs in equity funds due to unstable markets.
SIPs are largely being closed by those who have invested directly in mutual funds, without the help of distributors or independent financial advisors.
Data from the Association of Mutual Funds in India (Amfi) show that contribution of SIPs in September was highest at Rs 7,727 crore. In the six months of the current fiscal, total SIPs contribution was Rs 44,487 crore.
However, a CEO of one of the mid-sized fund houses said: “Despite sharp fall in equity markets in September, investors have faith in SIPs. But, I fear, in the months to come, we might witness SIPs getting closed as investors start seeing negative returns.” High volatility in the equity markets is also a reason for stopping their SIPs.
In the past three-four years, there has been a surge in SIPs as equity markets touched new high. In FY17, total SIP contribution in the industry was Rs 43,921 crore. It increased to Rs 67,190 crore in FY18, show data from Amfi.
However, investments through lump-sums are slowing down in the last few months. The average monthly inflows into equity schemes in H1FY19 fell to Rs 10,080 crore from Rs 14,200 crore in 2017-18. Equity funds (which include equity, ELSS and arbitrage funds) saw inflows of Rs 11,251 crore in September; this is higher than the Rs 5,923 crore in August, which was an 18-month low. The industry’s assets under management (AUM) were Rs 22.04 lakh crore, a fall of 12.5% over the Rs 25.20 lakh crore in August.
Market participants say that many investors started coming in mutual funds through SIPs in 2014-15, when the equity markets were on the rise.
“There were investors who just looked at the past performance of equity schemes and particularity in mid- and small-cap schemes, which were at that time giving very high returns. But now, with the sharp correction in mid- and small-cap stocks, investors will start pulling out money or stop their SIPs in the coming months,”said the marketing head of a leading fund house.