Rajiv Gandhi Equity Savings Scheme(RGESS): Tax Saving Scheme now with Mutual Funds

Rajiv Gandhi Equity Savings Scheme(RGESS): Tax Saving Scheme now with Mutual Funds.

The Rajiv Gandhi Equity Savings Scheme (RGESS) which is a Tax Saving Scheme comes now loaded with Mutual Funds for your investments. After considering the various views of the marketmen and general sentiment in the Mutual Fund Industry, the Finance Ministry is now proposing to add Mutual Funds as one of the products to avail the tax rebates under the amended rules for Salaried employees. Managing to do a delicate act of pleasing both the investors as well as marketmen.

Mutual Fund Market Sentiments.

This is in response to the general market sentiments of the Indian Mutual Fund Industry. The Industry was losing direction and focus. The growth had already tappered off and the clearly it was headed for years of down trending. The AAUM were falling, so were the number of new registration of Folio Numbers. The Regulator re-defined couple of rules which made many Asset management Companies reconsider their business models. The regulator set up firewalls between Industry bodies and Self Regulatory Organisations. It also questioned the logic of various fees structures which were being charged to investors. Finally, a change of guard at the Finance Ministry made few changes evident, one of them being the push for adding  ELSS scheme to the RGESS albeit in reincarnated form.

AUM OF TOP 5 CITITES

AUM OF TOP 5 CITIES

Reincarnation of Equity Linked Savings Scheme ELSS

The popular ELSS survives the government wrath to be reborn in a new avatar as RGESS. ELSS which was eligible for Tax rebates under the Section 80 C was proposed to be removed. The new Direct Tax Code which was intended to be rolled out, excluded the rebates provided for the ELSS. Thus effectively putting an end to a succesful product which was gaining popularity among the retail investors. It takes huge and consistent  efforts to educate the investors of benefits of any products. It is certainly a product which was gaining lot of momentum and acceptance since its launch more than 5 years ago.

ELSS SALES

ELSS SALES

(RGESS)Rajiv Gandhi Equity Savings Scheme

The proposed Rajiv Gandhi Equity Savings Scheme scheme would allow income tax deduction of 50 per cent to new retail investors, who invest up to Rs 50,000 directly in equities, and whose annual income is below Rs 10 lakh. To make the scheme more attractive for retail investors, the Finance Ministry is considering reduction in the lock-in period under the scheme to one year from the proposed three years. Now this will make this a truly retail market product for tax saving instrument. Though as an investor benefits of Mutual Fund investments are better realised over a period of at least 3-4 years. If this product gets launched in the market in the proposed form, it would be the only tax saving instrument with least number of years in terms of the lock-in period. However, this is something no one in currently seems to be worried about.

For first time retail investors investing directly in the equity markets, this would be an option which is definitely worth considering.

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Common Benefit and Features of Investing in Mutual Fund.

Mutual Fund is an excellent financial product which allows pooling of resources to reduce overall cost of investing and sharing of risks.

E-Mail/Electronic Communication

Feature of MUtual Fund

Account statements and scheme related documents can be send to your mailbox

Benefit of Fund

Email delivery of your account statements ensure that you do not waste you time in filing your paper statement(physical statements). It also ensures that your account statement do not go to wrong address or unintended/unauthorised person. This benefit of email communication is important from safety and security perspective. It is a eco-friendly option for environment conscious investors. By opting for email statement investors help in saving trees which are destroyed to make paper based physical statements.

Grievance Officer/Customer Complaint/Service Manager

Feature of MUtual Fund

Asset management Companies appoint experience staff to handle customer related complaints.

Benefit of Fund

Unsatisfactory service, delay in credit of dividends, delay in receiving statements, wrong address, incorrect NAV, Incorrect schemes and many other small and major customer service related issues are managed by these officers. They co-ordinate with Local branches and the Main Office of the AMC to resolve issues and ensure good customer service.

Request for Account statement/Annual Reports

Feature of MUtual Fund

Account statement can be requested by customer whenever required.

Benefit of Fund

Customer is provided with an Annual Report of the scheme in which he has invested. One can call on any of the popular Toll free Phone Numbers of Mutual fund to place a request for latest NAV details or updated A/C statement.

Website/SMS Code/NAV on Mobile Phone

Feature of MUtual Fund

All Major Mutual fund companies have active websites which provide scheme related information.

Benefit of Fund

Daily NAV, Dividend details, key persons, registrar company and various other details are regularly published on websites. Various locations where Mutual fund has service desk, branches are also listed on these sites.

Publishing of NAV Rate

Feature of MUtual Fund

Daily NAV Rates are updated by Mutual fund Companies on websites and newspapers.

Benefit of Fund

Everyday Net Asset Values of schemes are updated on the websites of fund companies. These are also uploaded on AMFI Website(Association of Mutual Funds in India). NAV of major fund houses are published in many regional and national dailies like MINT, ECONOMIC TIMES, BUSINESS LINE etc.

Buy Mutual Funds using your VISA ATM Card.

Feature of MUtual Fund

Use your VISA ATM Card to buy Mutual Funds Units at your ATM Center.

Benefit of Fund

Mutual Fund units can now be purchased by using your ATM Card at any VISA Approved ATM Center. This makes the process of investing in Mutual Funds extremely easy and convenient for many people who do not have time to manage their finances. Investments in Mutual Funds can be made on days when the increments/bonus/pending cheque payments are received. This will assist in parking funds for long-term to build an investment nest.

Back to Basics Series I (Part2) : This article is in response to SEBI's Public Appeal for following the right approach to Mutual Fund Industry.
SEBI Investor Education

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What are features and benefits of Mutual Funds?

Unlike most other financial products like provident fund, insurance and post office schemes, Top Mutual Funds not only provides convenience while investing money, but it also offers a variety of features that benefit investors. A few of most common features and benefits of  top mutual funds are highlighted.

Micro SIP/Chota SIP
Feature of Mutual Fund
Invest as low as Rs 100/- in Mutual Fund Companies

Top Mutual Fund Companies offer its investors an option to invest extremely small amounts such as Rs 100/-, Rs 500/-, Rs 1000/- each month depending on individual’s capacity into many of its mutual fund schemes.

Benefits of Mutual Fund: Benefits of Mutual Fund are for people who want to invest small amounts. Daily Wage Workers, Rickshaw Taxi Drivers, Labourers who wish to invest into Mutual Funds.

Flexibility of Dates
Features of Mutual Fund

Ease of investing on convenient dates

Investor can invest in top Mutual Fund Scheme on their choice of dates. Many large Mutual Fund companies offer multiple dates for investing into its top performing mutual fund schemes. E.g Few dates would be 1st, 5th, 10th, 15th, 25th of each month. This makes regular investments on salary dates possible.

Benefit of Mutual Funds:  Benefits Salaried people who receive money at the end of the month and wish to invest in Mutual Funds.

Timely Payments through ECS
Feature of Mutual Funds

Hassle free, Regular Payments to allow you to concentrate on other important things in life

Investors in Mutual Funds need not worry about making timely payments each month through opting for ECS Payment Method. This ensures regular, hassle free, timely and correct monthly payments.

Benefit of Mutual Fund:  Feature is useful for people who are busy or travel a lot, as he does not have time to keep track of his monthly payments.

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Investing Through POA (Power of Attorney)
Feature of MutualFund

Investing without physical presence

Investments in Mutual Funds can be done through Assignment of a Power of Attorney for effective financial planning. Army Personnel, Officers posted on-duty at far off places, owners/directors of limited companies, Non-Resident Indians, Resident Indian posted onsite/outside India can invest through the convenience of POA.

Benefit of Mutual Fund: Your Financial Planning for family’s benefit cannot be discontinued in your absence. Defense and Police Officers can appoint wife or family members to be POA and allow them to invest on your behalf.

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Invest in China with just Rs 10,000 with Hang Seng BeEs ETF

After the mad rush for Gold ETF Asset Management companies were actively scouting go the next big idea to launch to seek cover for their dwindling Assets Under Management(AUM). Accordingly, Benchmark Mutual Fund will be launching an ETF based on the Hang Seng Index. Hang Seng BeEs as it is called would be listed on the NSE on Monday , 15th February. The Purpose of this EFT is to enable investors track Hang Seng Live and reveal hang seng index chart on real-time basis.

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Benchmark AMC and its Niche:

Benchmark has carved a niche for itself in the Indian Mutual Fund Industry by successfully launching first ETF in Asia(not only India) Nifty BeEs. It is also credited with launching the Gold ETF first time in India. Shariah based ETF products were first introduced to the Indian Mutual Fund Investors by Benchmark Asset Management Company.

Trade on Hang Seng Stock Exchange:

Hang Seng BeEs would be the first ETF to introduce Indian Stock Market Investors to a closed market like China. India and China are two of the fastest growing economies in the world. Indian investors would largely benefit by the diversification offered with the launch of hang seng index based ETF. Hang Seng Stock Exchange is one of the largest exchanges in the world. Hang Seng Index Charts, Hang Seng Futures, Hang Seng Historical Data can also be now be determined and tracked on a real-time basis.

Hang Seng Timings:

Hang Seng BEnchmark Exchange traded Scheme(BeEs) will trade during the Hong Stock Exchange Timings. The Heng Seng Stock Exchange closes two and half hours prior to the NSE Closing timings. The corresponding time would be between 7.30 am to 1.30 pm Indian Standard Time. The timings are better suited to Indian Stock Market traders and investors alike, compared to US Markets and European market timings. The NAV for the Scheme would also include the currency fluctuation.

Taxation Rules for Trading in Foreign ETF:

The ETF are treated as Debt funds for tax treatment and would therefore attract tax rules which are currently applicable to the non-equity funds in India. The Hang Seng Index currently comprises of 42 Stocks and is the benchmark for the China ETF in India. Rs 10,000 is all you need for your ticket to China: The units are available for a minimum amount of just Rs 10,000. To cater to large masses and enable wider market participation the entry amount is kept at Rs 10000 only. All Major Global Corporations have invested billions of dollars in the Chinese Economy. So why Indian Investor should not join the race and participate to diversify their existing portfolios?

Charges for trading on China ETF:

There are no charges levied by the AMC in form of NIL entry load and NIL exit load for buying and selling on the NSE. A minor bid/ask spread, brokerage for trading and needs to be borne by the investor. Hitherto, only High Net worth Individuals was active in using these innovative financial products. In future retail investors should add such products to their overall portfolio diversification strategy.

F.A.Q’s ETF (PART 3)

ETFs are different from Mutual funds in the sense that ETF units are not sold to the public for cash. Instead, the Asset Management Company that sponsors the ETF (Fund) takes the shares of companies comprising the index from various categories of investors like authorized participants, large investors and institutions. In turn, it issues them a large block of ETF units. Since dividend may have accumulated for the stocks at any point in time, a cash component to that extent is also taken from such investors. In other words, a large block of ETF units called a “Creation Unit” is exchanged for a “Portfolio Deposit” of stocks and “Cash Component”.

The number of outstanding ETF units is not limited, as with traditional mutual funds. It may increase if investors deposit shares to create ETF units; or it may reduce on a day if some ETF holders redeem their ETF units for the underlying shares. These transactions are conducted by sending creation / redemption instructions to the Fund. The Portfolio Deposit closely approximates the proportion of the stocks in the index together with a specified amount of Cash Component. This “in-kind” creation / redemption facility ensures that ETFs trade close to their fair value at any given time.

Some investors may prefer to hold the creation units in their portfolios. While others may break-up the creation units and sell on the exchanges, where individual investors may purchase them just like any other shares.

ETF units are continuously created and redeemed based on investor demand. Investors may use ETFs for investment, trading or arbitrage. The price of the ETF tracks the value of the underlying index. This provides an opportunity to investors to compare the value of underlying index against the price of the ETF units prevailing on the Exchange. If the value of the underlying index is higher than the price of the ETF, the investors may redeem the units to the Sponsor in exchange for the higher priced securities. Conversely, if the price of the underlying securities is lower than the ETF, the investors may create ETF units by depositing the lower-priced securities. This arbitrage mechanism eliminates the problem associated with closed-end mutual funds viz. the premium or discount to the NAV.

F.A.Q’s ETF (PART 2)

Exchange Traded Funds (ETF) and its advantages:

Advantages of ETFs

While many investors have similar outlooks, no two are exactly alike. Due to the unique structure of ETFs, all types of investors, whether retail or institutional, long-term or short-term, can use it to their advantage without being at a disadvantage to others. They allow long-term investors to diversify their portfolio at one shot at low cost and insulate them from short-term trading activity due to the unique “in-kind” creation / redemption process. They provide liquidity for investors with a shorter-term horizon as they can trade intra-day and can have quotes near NAV during the course of trading day. As initial investment is low, retail investors find it simple and convenient to buy / sell. They facilitate FIIs, Institutions and Mutual Funds to have easy asset allocation, hedging, equitising cash at a low cost. They enable arbitrageurs to carry out arbitrage between the Cash and the Futures markets at low impact cost.

ETFs provide exposure to an index or a basket of securities that trade on the exchange like a single stock. They offer a number of advantages over traditional open-ended index funds as follows :

* While redemptions of Index fund units takes place at a fixed NAV price (usually end of day), ETFs offer the convenience of intra-day purchase and sale on the Exchange, to take advantage of the prevailing price, which is close to the actual NAV of the scheme at any point in time.

* They provide investors a fund that closely tracks the performance of an index throughout the day with the ability to buy/sell at any time, whereby trading opportunities that arise during a day may be better utilized.

* They are low cost.

* Unlike listed closed-ended funds, which trade at substantial premia or more frequently at discounts to NAV, ETFs are structured in a manner which allows Authorized Participants and Large Institutions to create new units and redeem outstanding units directly with the fund, thereby ensuring that ETFs trade close to their actual NAVs.

* ETFs are like any other index fund, wherein, subscription / redemption of units work on the concept of exchange with underlying securities instead of cash (for large deals).

* Since an ETF is listed on an Exchange, costs of distribution are much lower and the reach is wider. These savings in cost are passed on to the investors in the form of lower costs. Further, the structure helps reduce collection, disbursement and other processing charges.

* ETFs protect long-term investors from inflows and outflows of short-term investors. This is because the fund does not incur extra transaction cost for buying/selling the index shares due to frequent subscriptions and redemptions.

* Tracking error, which is divergence between the NAV of the ETF and the underlying Index, is generally observed to be low as compared to a normal index fund due to lower expenses and the unique in-kind creation / redemption process.

* ETFs are highly flexible and can be used as a tool for gaining instant exposure to the equity markets, equitising cash or for arbitraging between the cash and futures market.

The first ETF in India, “Nifty BeEs (Nifty Benchmark Exchange Traded Scheme) based on S&P CNX Nifty, was launched in January 2002 by Benchmark Mutual Fund. It may be bought and sold like any other stock on NSE. Its symbol on NSE is “NIFTYBEES”.

F.A.Q’s ETF (PART 1)

ETFs are just what their name implies: baskets of securities that are traded, like individual stocks, on an exchange. Unlike regular open-end mutual funds, ETFs can be bought and sold throughout the trading day like any stock.

Most ETFs charge lower annual expenses than index mutual funds. However, as with stocks, one must pay a brokerage to buy and sell ETF units, which can be a significant drawback for those who trade frequently or invest regular sums of money.

They first came into existence in the USA in 1993. It took several years for them to attract public interest. But once they did, the volumes took off with a vengeance. Over the last few years more than $120 billion (as on June 2002) is invested in about 230 ETFs. About 60% of trading volumes on the American Stock Exchange are from ETFs. The most popular ETFs are QQQs (Cubes) based on the Nasdaq-100 Index, SPDRs (Spiders) based on the S&P 500 Index, iSHARES based on MSCI Indices and TRAHK (Tracks) based on the Hang Seng Index. The average daily trading volume in QQQ is around 89 million shares.

Their passive nature is a necessity: the funds rely on an arbitrage mechanism to keep the prices at which they trade roughly in line with the net asset values of their underlying portfolios. For the mechanism to work, potential arbitragers need to have full, timely knowledge of a fund’s holdings.

In essence, ETFs trade like stocks and therefore offer a degree of flexibility unavailable with traditional mutual funds. Specifically, investors can trade ETFs throughout the trading day as in stocks. In comparison, in a traditional mutual fund, investors can purchase units only at the fund’s NAV, which is published at the end of each trading day. In fact, investors cannot purchase ETFs at the closing NAV. This difference gives rise to an important advantage of ETFs over traditional funds: ETFs are immediately tradable and consequently, the risk of price differential between the time of investment and time of trade is substantially less in the case of ETFs.

ETFs are cheaper than traditional mutual funds and index funds in terms of fees. However, while investing in an ETF, an investor pays a commission to the broker. The tracking error of ETFs is generally lower than traditional index funds due to the “in-kind” creation / redemption facility and the low expense ratio. This “in-kind” creation / redemption facility ensures that long-term investors do not suffer at the cost of short-term investor activity.

ETFs can be bought / sold through trading terminals anywhere across the country. Table No. 1 presents a comparative view ETFs vis-à-vis other funds.
ETFs Vs. Open Ended Funds Vs. Close Ended Funds

Parameter Open Ended Fund Closed Ended Fund Exchange Traded Fund

Fund Size Flexible Fixed Flexible

NAV Daily Daily Real Time

Liquidity ProviderFund itself Stock Market Stock Market / Fund itself
Sale Price At NAV plus load, Significant Premium Very close to actual NAV of Scheme
if any / Discount to NAV

Availability Fund itself Through Exchange where listedThrough Exchange where listed / Fund
itself.

Portfolio Disclosure Monthly Monthly Daily/Real-time

Uses Equitising cash – Equitising Cash, Hedging, Arbitrage

Intra-Day Trading Not possible Expensive Possible at low cost

Applications of ETFs

* Efficient Trading : ETFs provide investors a convenient way to gain market exposure viz. an index that trades like a stock. In comparison to a stock, an investment in an ETF index product provides a diversified exposure to the market. Depending on the index, investors may obtain exposure to countries/ markets or sectors.

* Equitising Cash : Investors with idle cash in their portfolios may want to invest in a product tied to a market benchmark like an index as a temporary investment before deciding which stocks to buy or waiting for the right price.

* Managing Cash Flows : Investment managers who see regular inflows and outflows may use ETFs because of their liquidity and their ability to represent the market.

* Diversifying Exposure : If an investor is not sure about which particular stock to buy but likes the overall sector, investing in shares tied to an index or basket of stocks provides diversified exposure and reduces stock specific risk.

* Filling Gaps : ETFs tied to a sector or industry may be used to gain exposure to new and important sectors. Such strategies may also be used to reduce an overweight or increase an underweight sector.

* Shorting or Hedging : Investors who have a negative view on a market segment or specific sector may want to establish a short position to capitalize on that view. ETFs may be sold short against long stock holdings as a hedge against a decline in the market or specific sector.