Posts tagged: funds

Why You Should Not Invest in Mutual Funds Based on Absolute Returns

mutual fund investmentsWith every investment decision, investors only seek higher returns. Considered as a preferred choice for many, mutual funds offer high returns at a lower risk compared to direct equities. An investment in mutual fund allows investors to avail of the benefit of compounding interest and helps them generate optimum returns in the long term. Additionally, mutual fund investments may be made in the form of a Systematic Investment Plan (SIP) and its returns carry tax benefits.

When it comes to determining the performance of a fund, investors are not aware of what to consider. Measuring the short-term performance of the fund may sometimes lead to wrong decisions. Many consider this short-term return as a benchmark and set wrong expectations. Therefore, it is important to assess the fund correctly in order to avoid wrong financial investment decisions.

Ways in which investment returns are calculated

If you want to check your mutual fund performance, you must first understand the different ways in which the returns are calculated.

• Point-to-point return or absolute return

This is the figure that, you arrive at by deducting the final Net Asset Value (NAV) from the initial investment amount. An absolute return does not take into consideration the period for which your money has been invested or the inflation during that period. For instance, if you invested INR 20,000 in 2015 and its current NAV is INR 30,000, then your absolute earning is INR 10,000.

• Annualized returns

Each fund shows returns that are compounded and not absolute. Mutual fund returns compound over a period and the Compounded Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) shows the year-on-year growth rate of the investment over a particular duration.

Why absolute returns do not reveal the right picture

Fund managers often ask investors to stay away from considering a point-to-point return. Let us delve deeper to find out why absolute returns should not be considered as a benchmark and may be misleading.

• Reflects an incorrect financial picture

For short-term mutual fund investments of a year or less, absolute returns may show the right results, but in case the investment is for a long-term, this does not hold true.Over a longer period, the fund may not be able to sustain the same or an increased return percentage. For example, if a fund outperforms in a three-year period, you may not be assured that it will perform the same way over a five-year duration. This also does not mean that you will not earn good returns over a longer period. The three-year return could be fueled by a positive market movement and a favorable macro environment. There could be a significantly higher return in a three-year period and an average or below-average return in the five-year duration.

• Performance depends on the type of fund

The performance of the mutual fund depends on the type of fund you are invested in. Equity funds are highly volatile and the returns on the same may vary from one period to another. It is also affected due to the market conditions. CAGR does not account intermittent volatility. The equity fund may have gone up by 40% in the first year and may dip by 25% in another, but the absolute return will not provide correct information about the fund. It might only show the upswing of 40% in a particular year and misguide investors.In fact, most top-performing mutual funds perform well in the first year and then slump in the next two years. Hence, the overall performance may be determined by considering a three-year or a five-year investment period.

In order to gain maximum return from mutual funds, fund managers insist investors remain invested in the long run in order to gain maximum mutual fund returns and to bring down the impact of the market changes to a minimum. Every investor should learn how to interpret the CAGR and understand the implications of three-year or five-year returns on the investment.

The biggest benefit of a mutual fund is the compounding of interest. CAGR is ideal for measuring performance over a longer period whereas absolute returns may only measure the performance for a year.

To invest in top-performing mutual funds, investors must use user-friendly tools like the Angel Wealth mobile application. It offers customized recommendations for your financial goals. It runs an ARQ investment engine, which has no human intervention and is powered by advanced algorithms. So download the Angel Wealth mobile app today and streamline your investments.

Government Employees Can Choose Their NPS Fund Managers

pension plansThe National Pension System (NPS) is a defined contribution retirement plan offered by the government. The plan is regulated by the Pension Fund Regulatory and Development Authority (PFRDA).

Subscribers must avail their Tier 1 NPS accounts with one of the PFRDA-appointed Point of Presence (POP). The contributions may be invested in 3 asset classes’ viz. equities, government securities, and corporate bonds. These funds are managed by professional fund managers designated by the regulator.

NPS is compulsory for government employees except the armed forces. The plan is optional for the private sector personnel. An increasing number of private sector employees are choosing NPS to take advantage of the various tax benefits available under the Income Tax (IT) Act.

Here is how government employees may choose fund managers

Permanent Retirement Account Number (PRAN)

Applicants are updated about their PRAN application status through an email or SMS. This number is unique for each subscriber, which makes the NPS account completely portable. The applicants may check the status with the POP or the regulator’s website in case the PRAN card is not received.

Choosing the fund manager

Government employees did not have the liberty of choosing their fund manager as available under the All Citizen Model. The state or the central government had the responsibility of choosing the fund managers. However, recently, PFRDA announced that public sector employees will now be at par and may choose their preferred fund manager to handletheir NPS contributions.

Being able to choose their preferred fund manager provides the subscribers an opportunity to assume higher risks and enjoy better NPS interest rate. The returns on NPS contributions depend on the percentage that is invested in the different asset classes. Therefore, by investing the maximum permissible amount (50% of the total annual contribution) in equities offers investors the chance to earn higher returns.

Changing the fund manager

The private sector personnel also have the option of changing the fund manager in case they are unsatisfied with the services. The proposed modification by the regulator also makes the option of changing the fund manager available for the government employees.

Opportunity to earn higher returns

The public sector employer matches the annual contribution made by the employees to the NPS. Having the option to choose their preferred fund manager allows the subscribers to take advantage of investing more in equities, which may potentially increase their returns.

The NPS corpus may be withdrawn on maturity. Investors may withdraw 60% of this amount as a lump sum. The balance must be compulsorily converted to an annuity plan. Subscribers may use a pension plan calculator to estimate the potential returns on their investments.

The revised norms for government subscribers make NPS beneficial for the investors. They may now choose the fund manager and the investment breakdown to maximize their returns.However, the existing system of the government choosing the fund manager will also continue for those subscribers who do not want to make their own choice.

NPS Assets Investment Crosses Rs 1 Lakh Crore Mark

asset investments ideasThe National Pension System (NPS) is a voluntary defined contribution plan for retirement income. Individuals aged between 18 and 60 years can open a Tier I and Tier II account. They need to contribute a minimum amount of INR 6,000 per annum to the Tier I NPS account.

The contribution is invested among different asset classes, such as government bonds, corporate bonds, and equities. Contributors can indicate their investment choice to maximize their returns on investments.

Although the NPS was launched in 2009, it did not gain much popularity initially. Individuals shied away from investing in the NPS because of its complexity and a general lack of clarity related to their contributions.

However, in the previous year’s Budget, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley took a huge step towards increasing the popularity of this tax saving investments plan. He made contributions of up to INR 50,000 tax deductible under the section 80 CCD (1B) of the Income Tax Act. This deduction was over and above the existing benefit available for investments up to INR 1.5 lakhs under the section 80 CCE. This offers individuals a total tax deduction benefit of INR 2 lakhs under sections 80 CCD (1) and 80 CCD (1B).

As a result, an increased number of investors started investing in the National Pension System. Assets under management for the NPS crossed INR 1 lakh crores for the first time since the launch of this tax saving scheme.

Working of the NPS

Individual subscribers

They can open their NPS accounts with any of the “Point of Presence (POP)” appointed by the regulatory authority, Pension Fund Regulatory and Development Authority (PFRDA). They need to fill and submit the Common Subscriber Registration Form (CRSF) to the POP along with KYC documents and initial contribution. On successfully opening an account, users receive a Welcome Kit comprising the Permanent Retirement Account Number (PRAN) card and other related documentation. The PRAN is unique for each subscriber and portable, giving you flexibility even if you change your job or location.

Tier I is the pension account while Tier II is the investment account. Withdrawals from Tier I accounts are limited and help to create the retirement corpus. Tier II is a voluntary investment facility and the amounts from this account can be withdrawn without any limitations.

Corporate subscribers

The corporate model for this tax saving scheme was made available from December 2011. It was customized to suit the requirements of different companies and employees. The NPS is an option offered for providing additional retirement benefits to the personnel, and can be made mandatory by the companies for their employees.

Companies can join this tax saving investments scheme through the POP. Employers who contribute to this pension plan on behalf of their employees also receive tax advantages, which make it attractive for them. Companies can claim such benefits for an amount that is up to 10% of the employees’ salaries (basic + dearness allowance) through deduction as business expenses.

Unlocking Cash For Your New Business

fundraising for businessMany of us dream of being our own boss, choosing our own hours, and doing something that we’re truly passionate about. But for as many benefits as we can think of, there are as many fears. What if it’s not financially viable? Will I be able to make as much as my current line of work? Where do I find the cash to start up? It is important not to silence these questions but to identify the rational ones and answer them honestly. One of the most common concerns is how to source the funds that would actually launch the business. The old adage goes that, “you have to spend money to make money”. There is an element of truth in that when it comes to beginning a business. You need funds for campaign launches and events, but also for normal living costs and unexpected expenses. What may seem overwhelming at first though is doable if you approach it methodically. Many people have found ways to unlock access to cash and have put it towards doing what they love.

Sell Off Non-Essentials

Selling what you already own can range from the minor to the major. You may feel that your new business will no longer require a car, for example. Without the daily commute or if you are moving to city lodgings, public transport will be sufficient. Not to mention far cheaper! You may have old collections such as DVDs, records, or clothing that could bring in a few extra hundred. It may seem a small contribution to a large sum but this could cover the cost of business cards, for example, or invites to a launch. Equally, if you are beginning a new chapter in your life you may consider selling your home. Even if you owe more on the house than it is worth or never got round to those repairs, businesses like Sell My House can purchase without hassle. If you are serious about managing your finance then cutting ties with a property that is actually wasting money could be a positive step.

Start Small

If we are aiming towards a seemingly impossible sum, it can be tempting to only aim high with investors and support. We might approach the bank as our first port of call, for example. We might approach large local businesses or successful entrepreneurs. It is important not to overlook or shun the support offered by those closest to us, however. Many of our family and friends might believe in our idea or business plan. Several small investments might actually be easier to manage in the early days than one big cash injection. For a new business, they are also more realistic. Keep family and friends informed of your plans, and if they offer support, take it!

Funding Platforms

Sites like GoFundMe and Kickstarter have become more popular than ever. If you have a tangible goal and think that others might want to be a part of your business give it a try! Be honest about your goals, business plan, and likely return. Many people out there love to support new businesses even if there is unlikely to be a major return on their investment. This is especially true if your business plan is “ethical”, environmentally aware, or for the benefit of others.

Financial Advisor Tips: The Risks Of Variable Annuities

Retirement AnnuitiesNot all annuities are the same

One of the safe retirement investment options currently on the market are annuities. It might surprise you as these have a reputation as unsafe financial products. Anyway, the truth is that there is very much confusion about annuities.

Such investment vehicles are not all the same. Except variable annuities, there are other similar options which are much safer, like fixed annuities. However, as some condemn all annuities, others tend to present the variable type as the one which can generate the higher gains.

Misleading information and an improper knowledge about these products is what leads people to choose variable annuities for their retirement plans. One the one hand, it is true that this option allows you to get high returns, but this opportunity is to set against some factors that can compromise your retirement income.

What are variable annuities?

Variable annuities are a security and consist in a mutual fund subaccount which includes fees that can reach 7%. These include extra fees that not every investment option has and can be therefore avoided. Variable annuities, in fact, are insured by an insurance company that normally charges management expenses along with other fees.

As the name suggests, the gains generated by this type of financial product can considerably vary as they are highly influenced by the market performance. It means that if you invest an amount of money today, an economical downturn can produce a negative return causing you to lose part or all of your money. That considered, variable annuities are definitely not the best way to ensure a fruitful retirement.

What makes variable annuities risky?

The worst thing about annuities are the many fees you’ll need to pay and that not every financial advisor will tell you about. When planning your retirement you most probably consider important to ensure a safe, steady income. One of the most important things to avoid is unnecessary fees.

In the case of variable annuities, up to 2% of the fees consist in management fees, which are due to the peculiar way this investment option is managed. To these, you have to add up expense fees that, like management costs, you will need to pay to the insurance company that manage your account even in case it crashes.

From this point of view, variable annuities differ considerably from other accounts that only include fees related to your contributions payment or money withdrawals. As experts say, the many fees included in a variable annuity can seriously compromise your gains as you might end up losing money even if your investments do well.

Federica writes for First Senior Financial Group, providing investment education to people at or near retirement with a team of Philadelphia retirement financial advisors.