Posts Tagged ‘Government securities’

2009 Turned Out To Be Worst for Gilts Funds

2009 turned out to be a worst for gilt funds

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2009 turned out to be one of the worst for gilt funds, which offered the best returns to investors in a gloomy and uncertain 2008.

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On the other hand, 2009 proved to be a good year for diversified equity mutual funds (MFs).

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Most gilt funds gave more than 20% growth in 2008 with the best one topping the performance chart with a 44.8% increase in a year which saw equity funds post 34.2% to 80.4% losses.

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While diversified equity funds are back on top this year, gilt funds have slipped considerably due to the sharp rise in yields on government securities (G-Secs).

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The yield on the 10-year government bond has moved up by about 2.5% in 2009 bringing down bond prices.

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Prices of the 6.05% 10-year government bond issued in February 2009 is about Rs 11 lower than its opening price.

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Bond prices and bond yields are inversely related.

Rising yields have pushed down bond prices affecting the performance of gilt funds, which invest primarily in G-Secs.

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Only seven out of the 40-odd medium-term and long-term gilt funds have shown growth in 2009 while the 15-odd short-term gilt funds have shown only a marginal increase.

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While the market was expecting net government borrowings at Rs 1.1 lakh crore, it came at over Rs 3 lakh crore.

The gross borrowings for financial 2010 would be around Rs 4.51 lakh crore.

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Investor’s Dilemma : Are ULIPs just another Mutual Fund??

ulips

At almost every investor mind a question is generally cropped up: β€œWhat is the difference between a ULIP and a Mutual Fund?”

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The reason, perhaps for the wide extent of confusion, lies largely in the way ULIPs have been sold by agents. As just another mutual fund.

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Unit Linked Insurance Policies (ULIPs) as an investment avenue are closest to mutual funds in terms of their structure and functioning.

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As is the case with mutual funds, investors in ULIPs is allotted units by the insurance company and a net asset value (NAV) is declared for the same on a daily basis.

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Similarly ULIP investors have the option of investing across various schemes similar to the ones found in the mutual funds domain, i.e. diversified equity funds, balanced funds and debt funds to name a few.

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Generally speaking, ULIPs can be termed as mutual fund schemes with an insurance component.

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Mutual Fund is a body corporate that pools the money from individual/corporate investors and invests the same on behalf of the investors /unit holders, in various investment avenues like equity shares, Government securities, Bonds, Call money markets etc., as per the pre-specified objective and distributes the profits earned from such investment.

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In India, Mutual Funds are registered with the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI).


ULIPs vs Mutual Funds

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ULIPs are a mix of investment and insurance. πŸ™‚

But very long term investment, not even medium term.

Insurance companies themselves admit, that if your investment horizon is anything less than 7 years, don’t even consider a ULIP.

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Charge structure in a ULIP is vastly different from a mutual fund.

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ULIP investors also have the flexibility to alter the premium amounts during the policy’s tenure.

The freedom to modify premium payments at one’s convenience clearly gives ULIP investors an edge over their mutual fund counterparts.

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In mutual fund investments, expenses charged for various activities like fund management, sales and marketing, administration among others are subject to pre-determined upper limits as prescribed by the Securities and Exchange Board of India.

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Insurance companies have a free hand in levying expenses on their ULIP products with no upper limits being prescribed by the regulator, i.e. the Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority.

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ULIPs also allow you to switch from debt to equity within the same scheme, at no extra charge.

So if you want to get the benefits of long term investment and risk cover in one single product, ULIP is the product for you.

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So it is not an issue, of whether a mutual fund is better or a ULIP. It is about your need.

Both can co-exist in your basket of needs. πŸ™‚

So identify your needs with a financial planner and then pick the product suitable for you.

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ULIPs are a mix of investment and insurance. But very long term investment, not even medium term.

Insurance companies themselves admit, that if your investment horizon is anything less than 7 years, don’t even consider a ULIP.

Charge structure in a ULIP is vastly different from a mutual fund.

ULIP investors also have the flexibility to alter the premium amounts during the policy’s tenure.

The freedom to modify premium payments at one’s convenience clearly gives ULIP investors an edge over their mutual fund counterparts.

In mutual fund investments, expenses charged for various activities like fund management, sales and marketing, administration among others are subject to pre-determined upper limits as prescribed by the Securities and Exchange Board of India. Insurance companies have a free hand in levying expenses on their ULIP products with no upper limits being prescribed by the regulator, i.e. the Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority.

ULIPs also allow you to switch from debt to equity within the same scheme, at no extra charge. So if you want to get the benefits of long term investment and risk cover in one single product, ULIP is the product for you.

So it is not an issue, of whether a mutual fund is better or a ULIP. It is about your need.

Both can co-exist in your basket of needs.

So identify your needs with a financial planner and then pick the product suitable for you.

SEBI releases guidelines for interest rate futures :)

Interest Rate Futures

Market regulator SEBI on Friday issued guidelines for trading in interest rate futures under which the 10-year government securities can be traded on bourses, a development that will deepen the debt market.

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As per the guidelines, the contract size for futures trading would be Rs 2 lakh with a maximum maturity period of 12 months.

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The contract cycle, it added, would consist of four fixed quarterly contracts expiring in March, June, September and December.

The notional coupon rate for such trade, the guidelines said, would be 7 per cent to be compounded every six months.

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Welcoming the move SMC Capitals Equity Head Jagannadham Thunuguntla said, “It is a right step by SEBI. This will activate the debt market in the country.”

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The guidelines further said stock exchanges will have to seek approval of the SEBI before starting trading in interest rate futures in their currency derivative segment.

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The clearing system for the interest rate futures, it added, would be the same as for the currency derivatives segment.

The exchanges will also be required to disclose upfront the composition of the basket of deliverable grade securities and the associated conversion factors for each of the quarterly contract.

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Factors that Move the Interest Rates – Part 2 (MONETARY POLICY)

Monetary Policy

In previous Blog we have discussed about the major factors responsible for the change in interest rates and price of bonds indirectly.

All those three factors like Inflation, Currency and Liquidity have been touched upon in last blog.

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Now time to look into another major factor which causesΒ  movement in the interest rate. The factor i am talking about is Monetary Policy. πŸ™‚

Monetary Policy: The RBI controls liquidity largely through monetary policy instruments –

(i) CRR & SLR – CRR (Cash Reserve Ratio) refers to a portion of deposits (as cash) which banks have to maintain with the RBI.

Banks are also required to invest a portion of their deposits in government securities as a part of their SLR (Statutory Liquidity Ratio) requirements.

If either of these is increased, liquidity tightens and so interest rates harden (increase).:(

Recently, RBI has reduced both these rates to infuse liquidity in the system – CRR is 5% (down 250 bps from March ’08) and SLR is 24% (down 100 bps).

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(ii) Reverse repo rate – it is the overnight interest rate that a bank earns for lending money to the RBI in exchange for G-Secs.

A hike in reverse repo rate increases interest rates. Currently, reverse repo rate stands at 3.25%.

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(iii) Repo rate – it is the discount rate at which a central bank repurchases government securities from the commercial banks.

To temporarily expand the money supply, the central bank decreases repo rates (so that banks can swap their holdings of government securities for cash).

To contract the money supply, it increases the repo rates. The current repo rate is 4.75%.

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(iv) OMO and MSS – OMOs (Open Market Operations) are outright transactions in government securities.

When the RBI buys G-Secs, it is injecting money into the system, hence, increasing liquidity, which softens (reduces) interest rates.

When the RBI sells G-Secs, it sucks out excess money from the system i.e. reduces liquidity in the system which hardens interest rates.

MSS (Market Stabilisation Scheme) is the issuance of treasury bills and dated securities by way of auction by the RBI.

This affects interest rates in the same manner as OMOs.

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Having collected updates on where the above parameters stand, one can have a better understanding of why interest rates are at their current levels, as well as which direction they are expected to move in.

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If most of them indicate that a rise in interest rates is expected, bond prices are likely to fall in the future.

On the contrary, an expectation of a fall in interest rates means bond prices will rise.

A word of caution here though – timing interest rate changes is difficult. This is because there is a low likelihood of being able to precisely predict the movement in the factors discussed above.

So in order to minimize interest rate risk, one should ensure that the bond portfolio is diversified across various maturities.

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4 Monetary Policy: The RBI controls liquidity largely through monetary policy instruments –

(i) CRR & SLR – CRR (Cash Reserve Ratio) refers to a portion of deposits (as cash) which banks have to maintain with the RBI. Banks are also required to invest a portion of their deposits in government securities as a part of their SLR (Statutory Liquidity Ratio) requirements. If either of these is increased, liquidity tightens and so interest rates harden (increase). Recently, RBI has reduced both these rates to infuse liquidity in the system – CRR is 5% (down 250 bps from March ’08) and SLR is 24% (down 100 bps).

(ii) Reverse repo rate – it is the overnight interest rate that a bank earns for lending money to the RBI in exchange for G-Secs. A hike in reverse repo rate increases interest rates. Currently, reverse repo rate stands at 3.25%.

(iii) Repo rate – it is the discount rate at which a central bank repurchases government securities from the commercial banks. To temporarily expand the money supply, the central bank decreases repo rates (so that banks can swap their holdings of government securities for cash).

To contract the money supply, it increases the repo rates. The current repo rate is 4.75%.

(iv) OMO and MSS – OMOs (Open Market Operations) are outright transactions in government securities. When the RBI buys G-Secs, it is injecting money into the system, hence, increasing liquidity, which softens (reduces) interest rates. When the RBI sells G-Secs, it sucks out excess money from the system i.e. reduces liquidity in the system which hardens interest rates. MSS (Market Stabilisation Scheme) is the issuance of treasury bills and dated securities by way of auction by the RBI. This affects interest rates in the same manner as OMOs.

Having collected updates on where the above parameters stand, one can have a better understanding of why interest rates are at their current levels, as well as which direction they are expected to move in. If most of them indicate that a rise in interest rates is expected, bond prices are likely to fall in the future. On the contrary, an expectation of a fall in interest rates means bond prices will rise. A word of caution here though – timing interest rate changes is difficult. This is because there is a low likelihood of being able to precisely predict the movement in the factors discussed above. So in order to minimize interest rate risk, one should ensure that the bond portfolio is diversified across various maturities.

What are ULIPs? How is it different from Mutual funds ?

ULIPs are a mix of investment and insurance

ULIPs are a mix of investment and insurance

At almost every investor mind a question is generally cropped up: “What is the difference between a ULIP and a Mutual Fund?”

The reason, perhaps for the wide extent of confusion, lies largely in the way ULIPs have been sold by agents. As just another mutual fund.

Unit Linked Insurance Policies (ULIPs) as an investment avenue are closest to mutual funds in terms of their structure and functioning.

As is the case with mutual funds, investors in ULIPs is allotted units by the insurance company and a net asset value (NAV) is declared for the same on a daily basis.

Similarly ULIP investors have the option of investing across various schemes similar to the ones found in the mutual funds domain, i.e. diversified equity funds, balanced funds and debt funds to name a few.

Generally speaking, ULIPs can be termed as mutual fund schemes with an insurance component.

And as you would be aware about Mutual Fund, it is a body corporate that pools the money from individual/corporate investors and invests the same on behalf of the investors /unit holders, in various investment avenues like equity shares, Government securities, Bonds, Call money markets etc., as per the pre-specified objective and distributes the profits earned from such investment.

In India, Mutual Funds are registered with the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI).

ULIPs vs Mutual Funds

ULIPs

Mutual Funds

Investment amounts

Determined by the investor and can be modified as well

Minimum investment amounts are determined by the fund house

Expenses

No upper limits, expenses determined by the insurance company

Upper limits for expenses chargeable to investors have been set by the regulator

Portfolio disclosure

Not mandatory*

Quarterly disclosures are mandatory

Modifying asset allocation

Generally permitted for free or at a nominal cost

Entry/exit loads have to be borne by the investor

Tax benefits

Section 80C benefits are available on all ULIP investments

Section 80C benefits are available only on investments in tax-saving funds

ULIPs are a mix of investment and insurance. But very long term investment, not even medium term.Insurance companies themselves admit, that if your investment horizon is anything less than 7 years, don’t even consider a ULIP.

Charge structure in a ULIP is vastly different from a mutual fund.

ULIPs invest for the long term, as they expect investors to stay for the long term. And the purpose of a ULIP is also different build assets through a pension plan, retirement plan or child plan. All of which, need very long term investing, say 10-15 years or even more.

ULIP investors also have the flexibility to alter the premium amounts during the policy’s tenure.

For example an individual with access to surplus funds can enhance the contribution thereby ensuring that his surplus funds are gainfully invested; conversely an individual faced with a liquidity crunch has the option of paying a lower amount (the difference being adjusted in the accumulated value of his ULIP).

The freedom to modify premium payments at one’s convenience clearly gives ULIP investors an edge over their mutual fund counterparts.

In mutual fund investments, expenses charged for various activities like fund management, sales and marketing, administration among others are subject to pre-determined upper limits as prescribed by the Securities and Exchange Board of India. Insurance companies have a free hand in levying expenses on their ULIP products with no upper limits being prescribed by the regulator, i.e. the Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority.

Mutual fund houses are required to statutorily declare their portfolios on a quarterly basis, albeit most fund houses do so on a monthly basis. Investors get the opportunity to see where their monies are being invested and how they have been managed by studying the portfolio.

*There is lack of consensus on whether ULIPs are required to disclose their portfolios. While some insurers claim that disclosing portfolios on a quarterly basis is mandatory, others state that there is no legal obligation to do so.

ULIPs also allow you to switch from debt to equity within the same scheme, at no extra charge. So if you want to get the benefits of long term investment and risk cover in one single product, ULIP is the product for you.

So it is not an issue, of whether a mutual fund is better or a ULIP. It is about your need.

Both can co-exist in your basket of needs.

So identify your needs with a financial planner and then pick the product suitable for you.