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  • What is Investment ?

    Money is a need in todays environment and everybody has a varied income level. Whatever is earned is partly spent and partly saved for meeting future expenses. Instead of keeping the savings idle an individual uses the savings in order to get return on it in the future and mitigate inflation to some extent. This is called Investment.

  • What is Inflation ?

    The rate at which the cost of living increases is termed as inflation. It is simply the costs to buy the goods and services you need to live. Inflation causes money to lose value as the same amount of money will not buy the same amount of a good or a service in the future as it does now or did in the past. For example, if the average inflation rate is 7% for the next 20 years, goods or serviced that are priced at (Rs.) 1000 today would cost (Rs.) 3617 in 20 years. This makes it all the more important to consider inflation as a factor in any long-term investment strategy. One should look at an investment's 'actual' rate of return, which is the return after inflation. One should aim to invest to get a return above the inflation rate ensuring that the investment does not decrease in value.

  • What is Equity ?

    Equity investments are basically investments in shares of companies which are listed/being listed on trading exchanges. Stocks can be bought/sold from the exchanges (secondary market) or via IPOs Initial Public Offerings (primary market). Stocks can be termed as one of the best long-term investment options as the market volatility and the resultant risk of losses are mitigated by the general upward momentum of the economy in the long run.

  • What is a Share ?

    Shares define the portion of investment an investor has made in a particular company at a given price. The total equity capital of a company is divided into equal units of small denominations, each called a share. The holders of such shares are members of the company and have voting rights.

  • What is a Derivative ?

    It is a product whose value is derived from the value of one or more basic variables, which is called underlying. The underlying asset can be equity, commodity or any other asset. These products had initially emerged as hedging devices to safe guard an individual/ organization from the volatility of commodity prices over a period of time. Financial derivatives gained momentum post-1970 period due to growing instability in the financial markets. However, since their emergence, these products have become very popular.

  • What is an Index ?

    An Index is a basket of securities and the average price movement of the basket of securities indicates the index movement, whether upwards or downwards The leading Indices in the Indian markets are based on BSE( e.g. BSE SENSEX) and NSE Exchanges(e.g. NSE NIFTY) . These indices are a reflection of the overall price movement in the market.

  • What is a Depository ?

    A depository is like a bank wherein the deposits are securities (viz. shares, debentures, bonds, government securities, units etc.) in electronic form. In India currently there are two depositories namely National Securities Depository Limited(NSDL) & Central Depository services Limited(CDSL) whose services are availed of by many members who are called Depository Participants.

  • What is Dematerialization ?

    Prior to the concept of electronic exchanges shares were issued to investors in physical form. Dematerialization is the process by which physical certificates of an investor are converted to an equivalent number of securities in electronic form and credited to the investors account with his Depository Participant (DP).

  • What is the function of Securities Market ?

    Securities Markets, in India they are majorly Stock Exchanges namely NSE National Stock Exchange and BSE Bombay Stock Exchange, is a place where buyers and sellers of securities can enter into transactions to purchase and sell shares, bonds, debentures etc. These exchanges also perform an important role of enabling corporates, entrepreneurs to raise resources for their companies and business ventures through public issues. It efficiently facilitates transfer of resources from investors to others who have a need for those (corporates). It links savings to investments by a variety of intermediaries, through a range of financial products, called Securities.

  • Why do Securities Markets need Regulators ?

    Due to the changing economy and ratio between supply and demand resulting in the absence of conditions of perfect competition in the securities market, the role of the Regulator is extremely important. The regulator ensures that the market participants behave in a desired manner so that securities market continues to be a major source of liquidity for corporate and government and the interest of investors are protected.

  • Who regulates the Securities Market ?

    It is a shared responsibility jointly taken by Department of Economic Affairs (DEA), Department of Company Affairs (DCA), Reserve Bank of India (RBI) and Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI).

  • What is SEBI and what is its role ?

    The Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) is the regulatory authority in India established under Section 3 of SEBI Act, 1992. It provides SEBI with statutory powers for protecting the interests of investors in securities, promoting the development of the securities market and regulating the securities market. Its regulatory jurisdiction extends over organisations in the issuance of capital and transfer of securities, in addition to all intermediaries and persons associated with securities market. It has been obligated to perform the aforesaid functions by such measures as it thinks fit. To be specific, it has powers as below :

    • To regulate the business in stock exchanges and any other securities markets
    • To Register and regulate the working of stock brokers, subbrokers etc
    • Promoting and regulating self-regulatory organizations
    • Prohibiting fraudulent and unfair trade practices
    • Taking information by undertaking inspection, conducting inquiries and audits of the stock exchanges, intermediaries, self regulatory organizations, mutual funds and other persons associated with the securities market.

  • Who are the participants in the Stock Exchanges ?

    The Stock Exchanges essentially has three categories of participants, which are, the issuers of securities, investors in securities and the intermediaries which bring in the issuers and the investors together, such as merchant bankers, brokers etc.

  • Is it necessary to transact through an intermediary ?

    It is advisable to conduct transactions through an intermediary as you need a trading member of a stock exchange if you intend to buy or sell any security on stock exchanges, maintain an account with a depository if you intend to hold securities in demat form, need to deposit money with a banker to an issue if you are subscribing to public issues. One also gets guidance while transacting through an intermediary. We should choose a SEBI registered intermediary, as he is accountable for its activities.

  • What are the major segments of a Stock Exchange ?

    The Stock Exchanges has two interdependent segments: the primary (new issues) market and the secondary market. The primary market provides the channel for sale of new securities while the secondary market deals in securities previously issued.

  • What is meant by Face Value of a share ?

    The nominal or stated amount in (Rs.) assigned to a security by the issuer. For shares, it is the original cost of the stock shown on the certificate. For an equity share, the face value is usually a very small amount (Rs. 5, Rs. 10) and is a small contributor on the price of the share, which may quote higher in the market, at (Rs.) 100 or (Rs.) 1000 or any other price.

  • What is an Initial Public Offer (IPO) ?

    An Initial Public Offer (IPO) is the selling of securities to the public in the primary market. This is when an unlisted company makes either a fresh issue of securities or an offer for sale of its existing securities or both for the first time to the public. This paves way for listing and trading of the issuers securities. The sale of securities is generally through book building or through normal public issue.

  • What is meant by Secondary market ?

    It refers to a market where securities are traded after they have initially offered to the public in the primary market and/or listed on the Stock Exchange. Majority of the trading is done in the secondary market.

  • What is the role of a Stock Exchange in buying and selling shares ?

    Under the overall supervision of the regulatory authority, the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI), the stock exchanges in India provide a trading platform, where buyers and sellers can meet to transact in securities. The trading platform provided by BSE & NSE is an electronic one and there is no need for buyers and sellers to meet at a physical location to trade. The trade is done through the computerized trading screens or internet based trading facilities available and provided by the trading members.

  • What is Dividend ?

    Periodic payments to shareholders made out of the company's profits are termed as dividends. The company decides the amount in a board meeting based on the company's performance and surplus.

  • What are the advantages of depository services ?

    By trading in demat segment the risk of bad deliveries is completely eliminated. One can also save on 0.5% in stamp duty in case of transfer of electronic shares. It also avoids the cost of courier; follow up with broker and loss of share certificates in transit. One can also take a loan against shares held in demat form by pledging the same with various lending institutions if required.

  • What is the process of opening a demat account ?

    Opening a demat account is as simple as opening a bank account. One can open a depository account with any DP by filling up the account opening form, which is available with the DP. Sign the DP-client agreement that defines the rights and duties of the DP and the person wishing to open the account. Receive your client account number (client ID). This client id along with your DP id gives you a unique identification in the depository system.

  • What is the procedure to dematerialize your share certificates ?

    One needs to fill up a dematerialization request form, which is available with your DP. The holder has to submit the share certificates along with the form; (write "surrendered for demat" on the face of the certificate before submitting it for demat). The credit of such shares is received in general in about 21 days from the registrar.

  • What makes investment different from savings ?

    Saving is a stage on the way to investing. You cannot be an investor without being a saver but you can be a saver without being an investor. Savings are effectively cash or cash instruments, such as deposit account, term bonds etc. Investing is what you do with the savings you have created if you are looking to generate a return on your money that is greater than what is already available to you through your savings instruments.

  • What is the safest investment ?

    There is really no such thing as 100% safe saving scheme or investment scheme. If anybody tells you different, don't believe them! Not even government-backed bonds are 100% safe. For that matter, ask anybody who had money invested in various Latin America debt instruments in the 1970s and 1980s. Even governments can go out of business!

  • Should everyone consider Stock Market/Direct Equity as investment option ?

    The answer to this question is a definite yes. It has been seen that over the years there has been no financial instrument which has given returns as high as the stock markets. The only important factor to be kept in mind is that investment should always be made with an objective in mind and we should not be too greedy while investing. On the other hand, as inflation has fallen over the last couple of decades so have the returns available from basic savings accounts. In fact, many instant access accounts no longer keep pace with inflation at all. Leaving your money in such an account now actually means it is falling in value!


Worldwide, the Mutual Fund, or Unit Trust as it is called in some parts of the world, has a long and successful history. The popularity of the Mutual Fund has increased manifold. In developed financial markets, like the United States, Mutual Funds have almost overtaken bank deposits and total assets of insurance funds. As of date, in the US alone there are over 5,000 Mutual Funds with total assets of over US $ 3 trillion (Rs. 100 lakh crores). In India,the Mutual Fund industry started with the setting up of Unit Trust of India in 1964. Public sector banks and financial institutions began to establish Mutual Funds in 1987. The private sector and foreign institutions were allowed to set up Mutual Funds in 1993. This fast growing industry is regulated by the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI).

  • What is a mutual fund ?

    A Mutual Fund is a trust that pools the savings of a number of investors who share a common financial goal. Anybody with an investable surplus of as little as a few thousand rupees can invest in Mutual Funds. These investors buy units of a particular Mutual Fund scheme that has a defined investment objective and strategy the money thus collected is then invested by the fund manager in different types of securities. These could range from shares to debentures to money market instruments, depending upon the scheme's stated objectives. The income earned through these investments and the capital appreciations realized by the scheme are shared by its unit holders in proportion to the number of units owned by them. Thus a Mutual Fund is the most suitable investment for the common man as it offers an opportunity to invest in a diversified, professionally managed basket of securities at a relatively low cost.

  • What are the types of mutual fund schemes ?

    There are a wide variety of Mutual Fund schemes that cater to your needs, whatever your age, financial position, risk tolerance and return expectations. Whether as the foundation of your investment program or as a supplement, Mutual Fund schemes can help you meet your financial goals.

    1. By Structure
    Open-Ended Schemes
    These do not have a fixed maturity. You deal directly with the Mutual Fund for your investments and redemptions. The key feature is liquidity. You can conveniently buy and sell your units at net asset value ("NAV") related prices.

    Close-Ended Schemes
    Schemes that have a stipulated maturity period (ranging from 2 to 15 years) are called close-ended schemes. You can invest directly in the scheme at the time of the initial issue and thereafter you can buy or sell the units of the scheme on the stock exchanges where they are listed. The market price at the stock exchange could vary from the scheme's NAV on account of demand and supply situation, unitholders' expectations and other market factors. One of the characteristics of the close-ended schemes is that they are generally traded at a discount to NAV; but closer to maturity, the discount narrows. Some close-ended schemes give you an additional option of selling your units directly to the Mutual Fund through periodic repurchase at NAV related prices. SEBI Regulations ensure that at least one of the two exit routes are provided to the investor.

    Interval Schemes
    These combine the features of open-ended and close- ended schemes. They may be traded on the stock exchange or may be open for sale or redemption during pre-determined intervals at NAV related prices.

    B) By Investment Objective

    Growth Schemes
    Aim to provide capital appreciation over the medium to long term. These schemes normally invest a majority of their funds in equities and are willing to bear short- term decline in value for possible future appreciation. These schemes are not for investors seeking regular income or needing their money back in the short-term. Ideal for: * Investors in their prime earning years. * Investors seeking growth over the long-term

    Aim to provide regular and steady income to investors. These schemes generally invest in fixed income securities such as bonds and corporate debentures. Capital appreciation in such schemes may be limited. Ideal for: * Retired people and others with a need for capital stability and regular income.
    * Investors who need some income to supplement their earnings.

    Aim to provide both growth and income by periodically distributing a part of the income and capital gains they earn. They invest in both shares and fixed income securities in the proportion indicated in their offer documents. In a rising stock market, the NAV of these schemes may not normally keep pace, or fall equally when the market falls. Ideal for:
    * Investors looking for a combination of income and moderate growth

    Money Market Schemes
    Aim to provide easy liquidity, preservation of capital and moderate income. These schemes generally invest in safer, short-term instruments, such as treasury bills, certificates of deposit, commercial paper and inter- bank call money. Returns on these schemes may fluctuate, depending upon the interest rates prevailing in the market. Ideal for:

    * Corporate and individual investors as a means to park their surplus funds for short periods or awaiting a more favorable investment alternative.

    Other Schemes
    Tax Saving Schemes
    These schemes offer tax rebates to the investors under tax laws as prescribed from time to time. This is made possible because the Government offers tax incentives for investment in specified avenues. For example, Equity Linked Savings Schemes (ELSS) and Pension Schemes. Recent amendments to the Income Tax Act provide further opportunities to investors to save capital gains by investing in Mutual Funds. The details of such tax savings are provided in the relevant offer documents. Ideal for:

    * Investors seeking tax rebates.

    Special Schemes
    This category includes index schemes that attempt to replicate the performance of a particular index such as the BSE Sensex or the NSE 50, or industry specific schemes (which invest in specific industries) or sectoral schemes (which invest exclusively in segments such as 'A' Group shares or initial public offerings). Index fund schemes are ideal for investors who are satisfied with a return approximately equal to that of an index. Sectoral fund schemes are ideal for investors who have already decided to invest in a particular sector or segment. Keep in mind that any one scheme may not meet all your requirements for all time. You need to place your money judiciously in different schemes to be able to get the combination of growth, income and stability that is right for you. Remember, as always, higher the return you seek higher the risk you should be prepared to take. A few frequently used terms are explained here below:

    Net Asset Value ("NAV")
    Net Asset Value is the market value of the assets of the scheme minus its liabilities. The per unit NAV is the net asset value of the scheme divided by the number of units outstanding on the Valuation Date.

    Sale Price Is the price you pay when you invest in a scheme. Also called Offer Price. It may include a sales load.
    Repurchase Price Is the price at which a close-ended scheme repurchases its units and it may include a back-end load. This is also called Bid Price.
    Redemption Price Is the price at which open-ended schemes repurchase their units and close-ended schemes redeem their units on maturity. Such prices are NAV related.
    Sales Load Is a charge collected by a scheme when it sells the units. Also called, 'Front-end' load. Schemes that do not charge a load are called 'No Load' schemes.
    Repurchase or 'Back-end' Load Is a charge collected by a scheme when it buys back the units from the unit holders.

  • Why should you invest in mutual funds ?

    The advantages of investing in a Mutual Fund are:
    1. Professional Management. You avail of the services of experienced and skilled professionals who are backed by a dedicated investment research team which analyses the performance and prospects of companies and selects suitable investments to achieve the objectives of the scheme.

    2. Diversification. Mutual Funds invest in a number of companies across a broad cross-section of industries and sectors. This diversification reduces the risk because seldom do all stocks declare at the same time and in the same proportion. You achieve this diversification through a Mutual Fund with far less money than you can do on your own.

    3. Convenient Administration. Investing in a Mutual Fund reduces paperwork and helps you avoid many problems such as bad deliveries, delayed payments and unnecessary follow up with brokers and companies. Mutual Funds save your time and make investing easy and convenient.

    4. Return Potential. Over a medium to long-term, Mutual Funds have the potential to provide a higher return as they invest in a diversified basket of selected securities.

    5. Low Costs. Mutual Funds are a relatively less expensive way to invest compared to directly investing in the capital markets because the benefits of scale in brokerage, custodial and other fees translate into lower costs for investors.

    6. Liquidity. In open-ended schemes, you can get your money back promptly at net asset value related prices from the Mutual Fund itself. With close-ended schemes, you can sell your units on a stock exchange at the prevailing market price or avail of the facility of direct repurchase at NAV related prices which some close-ended and interval schemes offer you periodically.

    7. Transparency. You get regular information on the value of your investment in addition to disclosure on the specific investments made by your scheme, the proportion invested in each class of assets and the fund manager's investment strategy and outlook.

    8. Flexibility. Through features such as regular investment plans, regular withdrawal plans and dividend reinvestment plans, you can systematically invest or withdraw funds according to your needs and convenience.

    9. Choice of Schemes. Mutual Funds offer a family of schemes to suit your varying needs over a lifetime.

    10. Well Regulated. All Mutual Funds are registered with SEBI and they function within the provisions of strict regulations designed to protect the interests of investors. The operations of Mutual Funds are regularly monitored by SEBI.

  • How do you understand and manage risk ?

    All investments whether in shares, debentures or deposits involve risk: share value may go down depending upon the performance of the company, the industry, state of capital markets and the economy; generally, however, longer the term, lesser the risk; companies may default in payment of interest/ principal on their debentures/bonds/deposits; the rate of interest on an investment may fall short of the rate of inflation reducing the purchasing power. While risk cannot be eliminated, skillful management can minimize risk. Mutual Funds help to reduce risk through diversification and professional management. The experience and expertise of Mutual Fund managers in selecting fundamentally sound securities and timing their purchases and sales, help them to build a diversified portfolio that Minimizes risk and maximizes returns.

  • How to invest in mutual funds ?

    Step One - Identify your investment needs.
    Your financial goals will vary, based on your age, lifestyle, financial independence, family commitments, level of income and expenses among many other factors. Therefore, the first step is to assess your needs. Begin by asking yourself these questions:

    1. What are my investment objectives and needs? Probable Answers: I need regular income or need to buy a home or finance a wedding or educate my children or a combination of all these needs.

    2. How much risk am I willing to take? Probable Answers: I can only take a minimum amount of risk or I am willing to accept the fact that my investment value may fluctuate or that there may be a short-term loss in order to achieve a long-term potential gain.

    3. What are my cash flow requirements? Probable Answers: I need a regular cash flow or I need a lump sum amount to meet a specific need after a certain period or I don't require a current cash flow but I want to build my assets for the future. By going through such an exercise, you will know what you want out of your investment and can set the foundation for a sound Mutual Fund investment strategy.

    Step Two - Choose the right Mutual Fund.
    Once you have a clear strategy in mind, you now have to choose which Mutual Fund and scheme you want to invest in. The offer document of the scheme tells you its objectives and provides supplementary details like the track record of other schemes managed by the same Fund Manager. Some factors to evaluate before choosing a particular Mutual Fund are:

    * the track record of performance over the last few years in relation to the appropriate yardstick and similar funds in the same category.

    * how well the Mutual Fund is organized to provide efficient, prompt and personalized service.

    * degree of transparency as reflected in frequency and quality of their communications.

    Step Three - Select the ideal mix of Schemes
    Investing in just one Mutual Fund scheme may not meet all your investment needs. You may consider investing in a combination of schemes to achieve your specific goals. The charts could prove useful in selecting a combination of schemes that satisfy your needs

    Step four - Invest regularly
    For most of us, the approach that works best is to invest a fixed amount at specific intervals, say every month. By investing a fixed sum each month, you buy fewer units when the price is higher and more units when the price is low, thus bringing down your average cost per unit. This is called rupee cost averaging and is a disciplined investment strategy followed by investors all over the world. With many open-ended schemes offering systematic investment plans, this regular investing habit is made easy for you.

    Step Five - Keep your taxes in mind
    If you are in a high tax bracket and have utilized fully the exemptions under Section 80L of the Income Tax Act, investing in growth funds that do not pay dividends might be more tax efficient and improve your post-tax return. If you are in a low tax bracket and have not utilized fully the exemption available under Section 80L, selecting funds paying regular income could be more tax efficient. Further, there are other benefits available for investment in Mutual Funds under the provisions of the prevailing tax laws. You may therefore consult your tax advisor or Chartered Accountant for specific advice.

    Step Six - Start early
    It is desirable to start investing early and stick to a regular investment plan. If you start now, you will make more than if you wait and invest later. The power of compounding lets you earn income on income and your money multiplies at a compounded rate of return.

    Step Seven - The final step
    All you need to do now is to get in touch with a Mutual Fund or your agent/broker and start investing. Reap the rewards in the years to come. Mutual Funds are suitable for every kind of investor-whether starting a career or retiring, conservative or risk taking, growth oriented or income seeking.

  • What are your rights as a mutual fund unitholder ?

    As a unit holder in a Mutual Fund scheme coming under the SEBI (Mutual Funds) Regulations, ("Regulations") you are entitled to:
    1. Receive unit certificates or statements of accounts confirming your title within 6 weeks from the date of closure of the subscription or within 6 weeks from the date your request for a unit certificate is received by the Mutual Fund;

    2. Receive information about the investment policies, investment objectives, financial position and general affairs of the scheme;

    3. Receive dividend within 42 days of their declaration and receive the redemption or repurchase proceeds within 10 days from the date of redemption or repurchase;

    4. Vote in accordance with the Regulations to:

    5. Either approve or disapprove any change in the fundamental investment policies of the scheme which are likely to modify the scheme or affect your interest in the Mutual Fund; (as a dissenting unit holder, you would have a right to redeem your investments);

    6. Change the asset management company;

    7. Wind up the schemes.

    8. Inspect the documents of the Mutual Funds specified in the scheme's offer document. In addition to your rights, you can expect the following from Mutual Funds:

    9. To publish their NAV, in accordance with the regulations: daily, in case of most open ended schemes and periodically, in case of close-ended schemes

    10. To disclose your schemes' portfolio holdings, expenses, policy on asset allocation, the Report of the Trustees on the operations of your schemes and their future outlook through periodic newsletters, half- yearly and annual accounts;

    11. To adhere to a Code of Ethics which require that investment decisions are taken in the best interests of the unit holders?