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Business News/ Money / Personal Finance/  Mutual funds: 7 essential factors that affect MF selection
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Mutual funds: 7 essential factors that affect MF selection

Choosing the appropriate mutual fund scheme(s) for your investments is a question subject to much debate, with no singular answer. To address this query, investors need to be open to contemplating a myriad of factors that influence investment decisions.

How do you choose the right mutual fund to invest in?Premium
How do you choose the right mutual fund to invest in?

Choosing your next mutual fund investment can be a challenging task, particularly when faced with a selection of over 1400 schemes. How do you go about making this decision? What criteria do you consider when determining which fund to invest in, the amount of money to allocate, the method of investment, and the duration for which you intend to keep your money invested in the fund?

Examining past performance is merely one aspect to contemplate when making mutual fund investments. Investing involves more than just concentrating on returns. Various factors come into play, such as the fund house’s sustained performance, its investment strategy, its approach to investing, and the rate of portfolio turnover aligned with economic cycles. A thorough evaluation should take into account a wider array of factors, including:

Sustained performance: The steadiness in performance serves as a crucial indicator of a mutual fund’s resilience and its capability to navigate diverse market conditions. A fund that consistently produces positive returns, even in the face of market downturns, showcases a strong investment strategy and a proficient management team.

Assessing a fund’s reliability involves examining its performance in various market conditions and over different time frames. A fund that has consistently exceeded its benchmark or peer group performance over an extended period, spanning both bullish and bearish market phases, is more likely to maintain a trend of producing favourable returns in the future.

Investment strategy: Understanding a fund’s investment strategy is essential for aligning your investment goals with the fund’s objectives. This includes gaining insights into the fund’s risk profile and potential returns through an understanding of asset allocation. For those unfamiliar, asset allocation pertains to how the fund distributes its investments across various asset classes, such as stocks, bonds, real estate, and cash.

Recognizing the sector focus helps you harmonize your investment objectives with the fund’s industry exposure, as it signifies the particular industries or sectors in which the fund emphasizes its investments.

Additionally, understanding the risk management approach aids in evaluating the fund house’s capacity to navigate market downturns. This delineates the AMC’s tactics for mitigating risks and safeguarding investor capital.

Investment mindset: The overarching philosophy and investment approach of a fund management company play a crucial role in shaping its sustained performance over the long term. A fund management firm that follows a disciplined investment philosophy, places significant importance on thorough research and effective risk management and prioritizes investor education is well-equipped to make informed decisions and adeptly navigate market cycles.

A transparent and steadfast investment philosophy serves as a guiding framework for the fund management company’s investment choices. A strong philosophy should be in harmony with prevailing market conditions and address the preferences of investors.

Portfolio turnover ratio: Many investors unwittingly ignore a fund’s portfolio turnover ratio not realizing how this feature is a crucial element of fund management that can significantly influence its performance and, by extension, investor returns. Excessive portfolio turnover, marked by frequent buying and selling of securities, can have several drawbacks, although it also indicates the fund management’s readiness to reevaluate its portfolio allocation in response to market conditions and abrupt shifts in customer preferences.

Fund management charges: The expense ratio, denoting the yearly fees imposed on shareholders as a percentage of the fund’s average net assets, plays a pivotal role in influencing the fund’s overall returns. Generally, lower expense ratios lead to higher net returns for investors.

Expense ratios encompass the operational costs of the fund, including management fees, marketing expenses, and distribution costs. These expenditures are subtracted from the fund’s assets prior to computing the net asset value (NAV), representing the fund’s price per share.

A greater expense ratio implies that a greater share of the fund’s returns is eaten up by fees, reducing the amount available to investors. On the flip side, a lower expense ratio allows investors to retain a larger portion of the fund’s returns.

The influence of expense ratios on returns becomes more evident over extended holding periods. A reduced expense ratio has the potential to result in higher net returns, particularly for long-term investors. It is advisable for investors to meticulously assess a fund’s expense ratio when comparing various investment options.

Size of the fund: The performance and liquidity of a mutual fund can be impacted by its size. Generally, larger funds provide increased diversification and stability by having the ability to invest in a broader range of securities, which reduces vulnerability to individual stock movements. However, as a fund’s assets grow, it may become more challenging for the fund manager to pinpoint and capitalize on high-performing opportunities. Furthermore, larger funds may encounter difficulties in executing trades without causing notable price fluctuations in the securities they are buying or selling.

Tax implications: It is essential to grasp the tax implications of investing in a specific mutual fund to optimize your overall investment strategy. The consequences of taxes can have a significant impact on your net returns, making it crucial to incorporate them into your decision-making process.

Investors must conduct a thorough evaluation of various factors to make informed decisions that align with their financial goals when selecting the appropriate mutual funds. This diligent approach enhances their prospects for long-term financial success. Being well-informed empowers investors to navigate the complexities of the financial market and optimize their potential returns.

 

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Published: 03 Dec 2023, 11:13 AM IST
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