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How to invest in equity mutual funds without risking your capital

The dividends announced by the source scheme will be transferred to transferee scheme at regular intervals.

Search for high returns make individuals consider investments in stocks. But they bring in 'high risk' to the table. Many senior citizens and low risk investors are looking to invest in stocks and equity mutual funds for high returns given low returns offered by traditional fixed income options such as bonds and fixed deposits. But the thought of losing one's capital is a big deterrent. Here is how you can invest in equity funds without losing your capital.

You are just going to use an existing facility offered by many mutual fund houses – dividend transfer plan. The facility allows you to invest the dividends declared by one mutual fund scheme into another scheme. What you just have to do is to invest your money in an arbitrage fund's dividend option and opt for a dividend transfer plan. The transferee scheme should be a diversified equity fund. This arrangement of transferring dividends to an equity mutual fund scheme allows you to invest in equity mutual funds without risking your capital. Even if stock markets tumble your capital remains safe. You may take a hit only on the dividends invested in equity mutual fund.

Let's us look into the details of this arrangement to understand how it works in your favour.

For the beginners, arbitrage fund manager buys a share in cash market and simultaneously sells equal number of shares in futures. The fund manager does not take any risk pertaining to stock markets. The aim is to lock in the price deferential to generate returns for the investor without risking capital. The returns generated are in line with money market returns. Though the scheme generates returns like a bond fund, the scheme is treated as an equity mutual fund for the purpose of taxation.

Arbitrage funds make good source scheme for dividend transfer plan as they distribute most of their profits by way of dividends as there is no tax on dividend.

As and when the scheme declares dividends the proceeds are invested in the scheme you have chosen. However there are couple of points you should keep in mind. First the amount of dividends if not more than a threshold then the same is reinvested in the source scheme. For example, most mutual fund schemes put this threshold at Rs 500. Your corpus invested in the arbitrage fund should be adequate to generate a dividend more than this threshold in each payout. To ensure that the payouts are more than the prescribed threshold, you may choose to invest in quarterly or bi-monthly dividend options instead of monthly dividend option.

Second factor is minimum investment norm of the transferee scheme. Unless the fund house waives it, the investor has to abide by this norm. In most open-ended diversified equity fund this amount stands at Rs 5000. If the initial dividend is not more than this minimum threshold, then the investor have to invest from his capital for the first time.

If both these norms are taken care of, the dividends announced by the source scheme will be transferred to transferee scheme at regular intervals. Please note both the dividend amount and the frequency of dividend are not guaranteed by mutual funds.

Arbitrage funds as a category have delivered 1.4% returns over past three months. Going by the trend one may see approximately 4-5% of the invested capital by way of dividends. This may look very small in the absolute terms. But look at it as a systematic investment plan with three year time frame and you will gradually build your equity mutual fund portfolio.

The returns depend on the arbitrage opportunities available. Given the liquidity gush in financial markets and falling interest rates the returns are expected to remain tepid from these categories of funds. If the situation persists, over three year period one may see around 10% to 12% of his money getting invested in diversified equity fund.                

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How to invest in equity mutual funds without risking your capital


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