A Mutual Fund is a body corporate that pools the savings of a number of investors and invests the same in a variety of different financial instruments, or securities. The income earned through these investments and the capital appreciation realised by the scheme are shared by its unit holders in proportion to the number of units owned by them. Mutual funds can thus be considered as financial intermediaries in the investment business who collect funds from the public and invest on behalf of the investors. The losses and gains accrue to the investors only. The Investment objectives outlined by a Mutual Fund in its prospectus are binding on the Mutual Fund scheme. The investment objectives specify the class of securities a Mutual Fund can invest in. Mutual Funds invest in various asset classes like equity, bonds, debentures, commercial paper and government securities.
Mutual funds are ideal for investors who want to invest in Indian equities, but do not have sufficient time and skills to pick winning stocks.
Another advantage of investing in mutual funds is that it provides the necessary diversification to your portfolio. Instead of investing in the stock of just one company, a mutual fund invests your money in a number of stocks, thereby reducing your risk.
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The NAV of a scheme has to be declared at least once a week. However many Mutual Fund declare NAV for their schemes on a daily basis. As per SEBI Regulations, the NAV of a scheme shall be calculated and published at least in two daily newspapers at intervals not exceeding one week. However, NAV of a close-ended scheme targeted to a specific segment or any monthly income schemes (which are not mandatorily required to be listed on a stock exchange) may be published at monthly or quarterly intervals.
Mutual Funds do not provide assured returns. Their returns are linked to their performance. They invest in shares, debentures and deposits. All these investments involve an element of risk.
The unit value may vary depending upon the performance of the company and companies may default in payment of interest/principal on their debentures/bonds/deposits. Besides this, the government may come up with new regulation which may affect a particular industry or class of industries. All these factors influence the performance of Mutual Funds.
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