MFs see highest ever net inflows in April
The Indian mutual fund (MF) industry witnessed its highest ever net inflows in the month of April. As per the data available on the website of the Association of Mutual Funds of India (Amfi), the industry’s trade body, MFs recorded a net inflow (inflows minus outflows) of Rs1,85,956 crore. Previously, the highest net inflow was recorded in May 2009—Rs1,84,340 crore.
Says A. Balasubramanian, chief executive officer, Birla Sun Life Asset Management Co. Ltd: “This is a normal phenomenon. Money goes out in March because banks and companies withdraw on account of the closing of the financial year-end. In April, much of this money again comes back.”
Graphic: Yogesh Kumar / Mint
The surge in the assets under the management has, therefore, been mostly on account of debt funds, especially ultra short-term bond funds that were earlier called liquid-plus schemes. As per Amfi data, debt funds saw net inflows of Rs1,77,773 crore in April. However, equity funds have for the second month in a row, and in as many months since August when entry loads were abolished, have shown net outflows. April saw a net outflow of Rs1,239 crore from equity funds.
Interestingly, and in what could be seen as an emerging trend, in April, exchange-traded funds (ETFs), excluding gold ETFs, recorded their lowest outflows in recent years at just Rs55 crore and their highest net inflows since May 2007.
Say Sanjiv Shah, executive director, Benchmark Asset Management Co. Ltd:
“A lot of retail investors are showing interest in ETFs, having realized that it’s getting tough for actively managed funds to outperform benchmark indices on a regular basis. With more fund houses launching—and talking about—passive funds, it bodes well for index and exchange-traded funds.”
Kayezad E. Adajania
Cheap global calls on Airtel World SIM
Bharti Airtel Ltd has launched Airtel World SIM for outbound travellers. The new SIM features a slashed calling rate and also offers the flexibility to route calls from one’s local number to the new SIM card.
The SIM is valid in 190 countries, which means that a customer doesn’t have to change numbers while travelling across multiple countries. At the same time, the customer can retain his local number as all the calls would be automatically forwarded from the local Airtel number to the new number. This also means you don’t need to share the new number with your contacts.
The calling rate on World SIM varies depending upon the country you choose. For instance, the outgoing rate per minute in the US is Rs41, while in the UK and South-East Asia, it is Rs51. In Europe, West Asia and the UAE, it is Rs52 and in Australia the rate Rs54.
The incoming rate per minute for the US, the UK, Europe and Australia is Rs10, while for West Asia and the UAE, it is Rs22 and Rs40 for South-East Asia.
Compare this with the roaming charges in Airtel, which is a flat Rs150 per minute in case of an outgoing call and Rs100 per minute in case of an incoming call.
But buying a local SIM card or a calling card may still work cheaper, they wouldn’t have the advantage of moving between multiple countries.
Then there are country-specific SIM cards from Matrix Cellular Service that offers post-paid connections and from Clay Telecom that offers post- and prepaid connections. These work like any new SIM card that assigns you a new number, which you can use when you reach the destination. You will have to circulate the new number among your contacts and these cards will work only for a specific country or region. Once you are back from your trip, you need to return it to the company from which you bought it. A call from the US to India would cost you around Rs42 per minute through a country-specific SIM compared with Rs150 per minute through international roaming and Rs41 for the World SIM. A call you receive from India on a country-specific SIM and international roaming will cost you around Rs14 per minute and Rs90 per minute, respectively, while the World SIM would charge you Rs10.
The World SIM comes at a cost of Rs500 for Airtel users and you need to activate it before you leave the country. It is a pre-paid card and can be bought in multiples of Rs1,000. It can also be recharged online.
Deepti Bhaskaran and Bindisha Sarang