Banking and PSU (public sector undertaking) debt funds primarily invest at least 80% of their corpus in obtaining debt instruments issued by banking institutions and other public sector companies. As per a recent amendment announced by SEBI in December 2017, debt securities issued by municipal bodies can also be included in the portfolio of such a banking and PSU fund. Such listed companies are usually large-cap and have AAA- rating from the top credit rating agencies in the country.
A banking and PSU debt fund is one of the most popular types of mutual funds, as it has nominal risk associated with the total investment. Fund managers mainly target the Maharatna and Navratna companies to build the portfolio, as they have a history of yielding substantial gains.
The characteristics of a banking and PSU fund can be described as follows –
Banking and public sector companies pose as one of the safest forms of investment, as they are government-backed companies functioning in one of the major sectors of the country. As of 2019, the total assets under management maintained by such mutual funds stood at Rs. 58,345 crores (on 31st October 2019). Returns generated by most banking and PSU debt funds stood at an average of 10.81% on the total principal amount invested.
The benefits of investing in a PSU and banking debt fund can be listed as –
The best banking and PSU debt funds comprise debt tools of public sector companies and top-performing banking organisations. Hence, the risks associated with such investment are minimal, as the corpus amount is secured by central government backing. Also, debt funds by nature have lesser risk.
As the best banking and PSU debt fund primarily invests in debt securities of large-cap companies, the probability of realising substantial market gains is less. Individuals should keep in mind the following restrictions before choosing to pool their money in such mutual funds –
As a result, the cost of investing might be substantial, which might impose a financial burden on investors.
Individuals realising capital gains upon resale of NAV units of banking and PSU funds after three years are taxed as LTCG (long term capital gains). After adjustment for indexation, and LTCG tax rate at 20% is imposed on total profits realised.
Centralised scheduled banks and public sector undertakings are backed by the government, and hence, have nominal risk associated. Also, this type of mutual funds primarily focuses on debt instruments issued by such companies. Debt securities generally have a lower risk factor than equities as they act as a liability on the issuing organisation. Companies have to pay interest to debenture holders before distributing profits among equity shareholders.
Risk-averse investors looking for a secure investment option can opt for a banking and PSU debt fund. Individuals opting for the dividend pay-out option can realise gains through timely yields, while growth option allows investors to enjoy capital gains through increased NAV value on resale.
Investors who are habituated with the workings of the stock market and often pool their money in risky assets can choose to allocate a part of the portfolio to the best banking and PSU debt fund, as it mitigates the risk factor considerably. In times of unforeseen downtrend of the stock market, money deposited in such debt mutual funds can provide considerable returns to compensate for lower returns from the risky assets.
Thus, the primary objective behind investment in a banking and PSU debt fund is the preservation of corpus. However, the rate of return on investment (ROI) may be lower than ROI realised through equity tools.
Nonetheless, such debt mutual funds are ideal for investors looking to park surplus funds with a relatively secure investment scheme, so that the entire portfolio amount is preserved, along with corresponding returns.
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