It was advantage equity investors in 2018
The year started with a disadvantage for equity funds as the Budget reintroduced LTCG tax on gains exceeding 1 lakh, but Sebi's moves to cut costs and bring in more transparency make mutual funds a cheaper and simpler product for investors. On the other hand, defaults in high-rated debt securities jolted debt fund investors as returns fell and liquidity became an issue
The year 2018 will be remembered as the one in which investors saw their returns from mutual funds being affected by factors other than their own performance, especially in the equity space. The budget reintroduced a 10% long-term capital gains tax on gains exceeding ₹ 1 lakh on equity-oriented funds and imposed a 10% (plus surcharge and cess) dividend distribution tax on dividends from these funds, thereby reducing the effective return. But then, through the year, capital market regulator Securities and Exchange Board of India (Sebi) stepped in with measures—to streamline expenses, increase transparency and iron out regulations where there was some ambiguity—that are expected to reduce costs thus enhancing returns in the long run.