by Sanjeev Kumar Gopalakrishnan, Investing
13 Jul , 2017

Invest in direct mutual funds for getting higher returns

3 years back, Thomas George invested Rs.5 lacs in Birla Sunlife Frontline Equity fund through a distributor of the fund. His friend Muhammed also invested same amount in same fund on the same day. Now Thomas George’s investment has grown to Rs.7,36,715. He got returns of about 13.79% annualised. Fantastic! But Muhammed’s investment has grown to Rs. 7,58,190 which is about   14.89% annualised returns. How come Muhammed got Rs. 21,475 or 4.3% higher returns, even though both invested in the same fund on the same day?

Muhammed did not invest it through an agent or distributor. He visited the website of the mutual fund and invested directly. When you invest directly no commission is paid to the agent or distributor. So, that amount is also getting invested which leads to higher returns.

Mutual funds agents or distributors do not take commission from you directly. But the mutual fund companies pay them commission. So, the value that get invested will be less by that amount. Each mutual fund scheme will have a regular and direct option. The regular option is one which provides for commission. Generally the direct plans of equity and balanced funds seem to give 1% of more returns per year when compare to similar regular plan. For short term debt funds direct plans give 0.1% more returns for medium and long term funds the direct plan returns seems to be higher by 0.6% every year. For liquid funds the direct plan returns are higher by 0.06% every year.

The distributors often provide you analysis of the comparative schemes and helps you select the best in a category. This service is not available when you approach a fund directly because the fund company will provide information about their schemes only. So, there is a risk of getting lower than expected returns.

The alternative is to approach a SEBI Registered Investment Adviser who will advice you for a fee. You pay the fees, take the advice and invest directly. It can save you lot of money. Suppose you invest Rs.10 lacs in mutual funds through regular option. The commission account be anywhere near Rs.10000 assuming an average first year commission of 1%. The fees charged by the Investment Adviser will be a fraction of that.

Only tedious job is that you should visit each mutual fund company’s website to buy or redeem their scheme. But that is worth the money you save. You can get consolidated mutual fund statement about your holding from registrars like CAMs or Karvy which will help you see your investments in one document.

If you are first timer, you will have a doubt about where to start? You have to first register your KYC to invest. You can approach a mutual fund company or registrars like CAMs, Karvy, CVL etc with your address proof, PAN and photo. They will help you register your KYC.

If you are approaching a SEBI Registered Investment Adviser then they will help you register your KYC and advice you on where to invest based on your risk profile and investment time horizon. They will suggest you a portfolio which will be a combination equity, debt, balanced, liquid and gold funds.

Whether you take advice or not after registering KYC you can visit the website of the mutual fund company, whose fund you wish to buy. Register there as a new investor. They will ask you to submit your PAN number, Bank details and Nomination details. Once you submit these and confirm the details, your account will be created and there on you can invest directly.

The 3 year annualised returns of the top 5 schemes based on the AUM in equity, debt, balanced and liquid funds are provided in the chart for regular and direct plans. The current value of Rs.1 lac invested 3 years back and as on 27-6-2017 for both type of plans are also given.

SchemeAUM (crs)3 Year Annualised Returns % Value of Rs.1 lacs invested
  RegularDirectRegularDirect
Equity Funds     
HDFC Equity19,09310.811.71,36,0841,39,448
Birla Sun Life Frontline Equity17,40413.814.91,47,3431,51,638
ICICI Prudential Value Discovery17,30414.315.61,49,3361,54,399
HDFC Mid-Cap Opportunities16,60621.022.11,77,1731,82,144
HDFC Top 20014,58810.311.01,34,2001,36,929
Balanced Funds     
HDFC Prudence24,47911.912.91,40,1171,43,907
ICICI Prudential Balanced Advantage19,04311.813.21,39,7421,45,057
ICICI Prudential Balanced12,60014.816.21,51,2951,56,898
HDFC Balanced11,74815.016.11,52,0881,56,494
SBI Magnum Balanced11,25914.115.31,48,5451,53,281
Debt Funds     
ICICI Prudential Flexible Income Plan20,9708.88.91,28,7911,29,147
Birla Sun Life Short Term18,6779.59.61,31,2171,31,610
Birla Sun Life Savings18,5868.99.01,29,1471,29,503
Reliance Money Manager17,6077.98.71,25,6221,28,437
Reliance Short Term15,1379.19.71,29,7071,32,048
Liquid Funds     
ICICI Prudential Liquid Plan34,6497.98.01,25,7571,25,973
Birla Sun Life Cash Plus33,0748.08.11,25,8471,26,159
HDFC Liquid31,9857.98.01,25,6371,25,913
Reliance Liquid  - Treasury Plan31,1797.98.01,25,7701,26,084
SBI Premier Liquid27,2857.97.91,25,5151,25,740

 About The Author

Sanjeev Kumar G, an IBS Chennai Alumni, is a Certified Financial Planner (CFP) from India, since 2005. He has 22 years of experience and is an expert in various personal finance areas like portfolio construction, investment research, life insurance and financial planning.

 

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