What Is A Mutual Fund And How Does It Work? – The stock market can be a difficult place for people who don’t have time to keep up with it. However, the market offers the best ways to build wealth for long-term goals.
In fact, investing in mutual funds can be as profitable as buying stocks directly, which begs the question – what are mutual funds and how do they work?
What Is A Mutual Fund And How Does It Work?
A mutual fund is a basket of stocks, bonds, ETFs and other instruments managed by a team of professional financial experts.
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Experts handle the buying and selling of all financial instruments, removing the burden of research from everyday investors.
In fact, mutual funds invest the capital of hundreds of thousands of investors with the objective of generating long-term returns.
That’s why mutual funds are called million or million rupee managed pool investments. The term for this pool is “assets under management”.
They manage a team of financial analysts and ensure that the fund meets its investment objective. To achieve the investment objective, the fund can be managed in two ways:
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Although mutual funds do not guarantee anything, returns are often good. But returns depend on the type of investment asset the mutual fund invests in along with the investment objective.
Take any mutual fund in India and you will find that it invests in equity, debt or a combination of the two.
As you know, equity as an asset class can generate better returns than debt.
Reason? Debt instruments generate steady returns while equity instruments have no reverse cap over long periods of time.
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Take a look at the 2-year returns generated by India’s largest company by market capitalization and India’s highest yielding bonds:
The reasons for choosing the right financial instrument depend on the investment objective. A long-term fund may go for equity, while a short- and medium-term fund relies on debt.
By now you have understood what a mutual fund is. They are smartly managed investments that are diversified into cash, equity, debt or both.
Now is the perfect time to dig deeper into the inner workings of mutual funds. Let’s spice things up with two examples – one interesting and the other traditional.
Mutual Funds: What They Are And How To Invest
Meet Mr. Baker at Delicious Cooks. He is a baker known for making the best cakes in the neighborhood. But her service comes with a catch – she’ll make the cake, but with a lot of money to collect.
The cake money should be given to the townspeople. Making your own cake can be difficult.
The townspeople know this, so they trust Mr. Baker and are willing to pay for it.
Mr. Baker appreciated the interest of the townspeople and was almost ready to finance the cake-making venture. Everyone loves cake!
How Mutual Funds Work
One fine morning, Mr. Baker announces that he is ready to make the cake of the century and is ready to take money from the townspeople.
Most of the townspeople follow suit and it starts with taking all the money from Mr. Baker to make the cake. If you’ve ever baked, you know that making a cake requires a lot of ingredients and tools.
One wrong move and the cake can turn into pudding! So Mr. Baker brought eggs, flour, granulated sugar, cream, etc. it takes time to carefully craft a recipe.
Lucky for the townspeople, Mr. Baker is baking the cake of the century—everyone gets a slice.
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Of course, Mr. Baker also takes a cut, but not from the cake, but from the townspeople’s money.
We use this traditional meaning with the following example to explain how a mutual fund works.
A mutual fund is offered by an asset management company called AMC. Each AMC is often a subsidiary of another financial institution, usually a bank.
For example, there are HDFC AMC, SBI AMC and others. Each AMC has several mutual fund schemes managed by a team of fund managers and their financial experts.
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These specialists plan the investment objective of the fund and select the assets in which the fund will invest to achieve this objective. After all these are processed, the AMC takes the mutual fund to the NFO stage.
In addition to listing shares in the market through an initial public offering (IPO), AMCs offer mutual funds to the public for the first time through a new fund offering (NFO).
NFO operates on a subscription basis where investors can take advantage of the offer price. This is also the period when mutual fund accumulation begins.
After the NFO period ends, the mutual fund moves into the live market like shares in the secondary market. A mutual fund is alive and supported by the market.
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Its value will rise and fall depending on various factors, especially the assets it invests in. .
When an investor buys units in a mutual fund, they can exit at any time (in the case of an open-end fund), but at a cost – called an expense ratio or management fee.
Exiting a mutual fund is called “redemption” or “redemption of units”. So, a mutual fund in India works as follows:
Now that you understand how mutual funds work, it’s time to move on to the various mutual funds available to investors.
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By now you understand that the term “mutual funds” is used to describe a wide range of mutual funds that invest in different assets, in different ways, and over different time periods.
This section breaks down the different types of mutual funds you can invest in in India, starting with mutual funds classified based on the asset class they invest in.
The asset class consists of financial instruments with similar behavior and regulation. There are 4 types of mutual funds based on asset class in India:
While there are 4 types of funds based on these asset classes, there is another type – target date funds – which is popular in the US and other countries but is yet to catch on in India.
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Target-date funds are all about retirement—funds invest in retirement and post-retirement goals, including stocks and mutual funds.
Fun fact: International funds invest in stocks and mutual funds overseas, but are considered debt funds for tax purposes.
“What is a mutual fund?” Remember when you talk. In the section discussing the two management styles. These two styles will be seen again and again.
Mutual funds can be managed in two ways: actively or passively. Active management of mutual funds means that the fund manager is heavily involved in the purchase of financial instruments.
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Sometimes, they can be sold monthly or annually. At other times, they can only make changes if the instrument is not performing well or is not helping the fund achieve its investment objectives.
On the other hand, passive management of mutual funds takes an easy approach. A fund manager builds a one-time portfolio, often tracking an index such as the Nifty 50.
The composition of the mutual fund will be the same as the index it tracks. As a result, the fund manager will not actively participate in the management of the fund.
Now let’s talk about goals. There are three types of mutual funds based on investment objectives:
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Growth mutual funds invest in stocks designed for growth through capital appreciation. To achieve this goal, a mutual fund can invest in risky stocks that have a bright future.
Income mutual funds focus on investing in assets that can generate steady income through dividend or interest payments. This includes debt and equity funds.
Liquidity-oriented mutual funds invest in assets that are highly liquid, meaning they can be easily converted into cash. Liquid funds and overnight funds are typical examples of this.
In both of the examples in How Mutual Funds Work, investors can exit their investments at any time. This can be done in open funds.
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More importantly, this brings us to the next mutual fund – structured. There are two main types in this category:
You can invest in open ended mutual fund at any time. This is not the case. Open funds allow you to use your investments at any time.
A closed-end fund has a predetermined number of units for sale, which means that a new investor cannot invest in a mutual fund.
There is another type of mutual fund based on structure. This is called a mutual fund.
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Like most closed-end funds, interval funds allow you to buy or sell units over a specific period of time. This period can be monthly or every other