Mutual Funds - a great investment option
Mutual funds offers higher returns with respective risk levels. Since it is managed by experts there is no need to worry much on the returns. Just on choosing the right mutual fund, we can expect a greater return. Mutual funds have greater potential to deliver high returns if invested for more than 5 years. Mutual funds in the history have beaten the inflation by giving higher returns. A person who is not satisfied with the stock market or who could not sit daily to buy and sell stocks can enter into mutual funds. Based on the risk level and based on the investment horizon different types of mutual fund schemes are available.
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What Is a Mutual Fund?
A mutual fund is a company that invests in a diversified portfolio of securities. People who buy shares of a mutual fund are its owners or shareholders. Their investments provide the money for a mutual fund to buy securities such as stocks and bonds. A mutual fund can make money from its securities in two ways: a security can pay dividends or interest to the fund, or a security can rise in value. fund can also lose money and drop in value.
Why Invest in a Mutual Fund?
Mutual funds make saving and investing simple, accessible, and affordable. The advantages of mutual funds include professional management, diversification, variety, liquidity, affordability, convenience, and ease of record keeping—as well as strict government regulation and full disclosure.
Basic Types of Mutual Fund
1. Money market funds
These funds invest in short-term fixed income securities such as government bonds, treasury bills, bankers’ acceptances, commercial paper and certificates of deposit. They are generally a safer investment, but with a lower potential return then other types of mutual funds.
2. Fixed income funds
These funds buy investments that pay a fixed rate of return like government bonds, investment-grade corporate bonds and high-yield corporate bonds. They aim to have money coming into the fund on a regular basis, mostly through interest that the fund earns. High-yield corporate bond funds are generally riskier than funds that hold government and investment-grade bonds.
3. Equity funds
These funds invest in stocks. These funds aim to grow faster than money market or fixed income funds, so there is usually a higher risk that you could lose money. You can choose from different types of equity funds including those that specialize in growth stocks (which don’t usually pay dividends), income funds (which hold stocks that pay large dividends), value stocks, large-cap stocks, mid-cap stocks, small-cap stocks, or combinations of these.
4. Balanced funds
These funds invest in a mix of equities and fixed income securities. They try to balance the aim of achieving higher returns against the risk of losing money. Most of these funds follow a formula to split money among the different types of investments. They tend to have more risk than fixed income funds, but less risk than pure equity funds. Aggressive funds hold more equities and fewer bonds, while conservative funds hold fewer equities relative to bonds.
5. Index funds
These funds aim to track the performance of a specific index such as the
Nifty & Sensex Index. The value of the mutual fund will go up or down as the index goes up or down. Index funds typically have lower costs than actively managed mutual funds because the portfolio manager doesn’t have to do as much research or make as many investment decisions.
6. Specialty funds
These funds focus on specialized mandates such as real estate, commodities or socially responsible investing. For example, a socially responsible fund may invest in companies that support environmental stewardship, human rights and diversity, and may avoid companies involved in alcohol, tobacco, gambling, weapons and the military.
These funds invest in other funds. Similar to balanced funds, they try to make asset allocation and diversification easier for the investor. The MER for fund-of-funds tend to be higher than stand-alone mutual funds.
ACTIVE VS PASSIVE MANAGEMENT
Active management means that the portfolio manager buys and sells investments, attempting to outperform the return of the overall market or another identified benchmark. Passive management involves buying a portfolio of securities designed to track the performance of a benchmark index. The fund’s holdings are only adjusted if there is an adjustment in the components of the index.
Common approaches to investing
Top-down approach – looks at the big economic picture, and then finds industries or countries that look like they are going to do well. Then invest in specific companies within the chosen industry or country.
Bottom-up approach – focuses on selecting specific companies that are doing well, no matter what the prospects are for their industry or the economy.
A combination of top-down and bottom-up approaches – A portfolio manager managing a global portfolio can decide which countries to favour based on a top-down analysis but build the portfolio of stocks within each country based on a bottom-up analysis.
Technical analysis – attempts to forecast the direction of investment prices by studying past market data.