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Global Scenario

Some basic facts :

The money market mutual fund segment has a total corpus of $ 1.48 trillion in the U.S. against a corpus of $ 100 million in India.

Out of the top 10 mutual funds worldwide, eight are bank- sponsored. Only Fidelity and Capital are non-bank mutual funds in this group.

In the U.S. the total number of schemes is higher than that of the listed companies while in India we have just 277 schemes

Internationally, mutual funds are allowed to go short. In India fund managers do not have such leeway.

In the U.S. about 9.7 million households will manage their assets on-line by the year 2003, such a facility is not yet of avail in India.

On- line trading is a great idea to reduce management expenses from the current 2 % of total assets to about 0.75 % of the total assets.

72% of the core customer base of mutual funds in the top 50-broking firms in the U.S. are expected to trade on-line by 2003.

(Source: The Financial Express September, 99)

Internationally, on-line investing continues its meteoric rise. Many have debated about the success of e- commerce and its breakthroughs, but it is true that this aspect of technology could and will change the way financial sectors function. However, mutual funds cannot be left far behind. They have realized the potential of the Internet and are equipping themselves to perform better.

In fact in advanced countries like the U.S.A, mutual funds buy- sell transactions have already begun on the Net, while in India the Net is used as a source of Information.

Such changes could facilitate easy access, lower intermediation costs and better services for all. A research agency that specializes in internet technology estimates that over the next four years Mutual Fund Assets traded on- line will grow ten folds from $ 128 billion to $ 1,227 billion ; whereas equity assets traded on-line will increase during the period from $ 246 billion to $ 1,561 billion. This will increase the share of mutual funds from 34% to 40% during the period.

(Source: The Financial Express September ,99)

Such increases in volumes are expected to bring about large changes in the way Mutual Funds conduct their business.

Here are some of the basic changes that have taken place since the advent of the Net.

Lower Costs: Distribution of funds will fall in the online trading regime by 2003 . Mutual funds could bring down their administrative costs to 0.75% if trading is done on- line. As per SEBI regulations , bond funds can charge a maximum of 2.25% and equity funds can charge 2.5% as administrative fees. Therefore if the administrative costs are low , the benefits are passed down and hence Mutual Funds are able to attract mire investors and increase their asset base.

Better advice: Mutual funds could provide better advice to their investors through the Net rather than through the traditional investment routes where there is an additional channel to deal with the Brokers. Direct dealing with the fund could help the investor with their financial planning.

In India , brokers could get more Net savvy than investors and could help the investors with the knowledge through get from the Net.

New investors would prefer online : Mutual funds can target investors who are young individuals and who are Net savvy, since servicing them would be easier on the Net.

India has around 1.6 million net users who are prime target for these funds and this could just be the beginning. The Internet users are going to increase dramatically and mutual funds are going to be the best beneficiary. With smaller administrative costs more funds would be mobilized .A fund manager must be ready to tackle the volatility and will have to maintain sufficient amount of investments which are high liquidity and low yielding investments to honor redemption.

Net based advertisements: There will be more sites involved in ads and promotion of mutual funds. In the U.S. sites like AOL offer detailed research and financial details about the functioning of different funds and their performance statistics. a is witnessing a genesis in this area.


The asset base will continue to grow at an annual rate of about 30 to 35 % over the next few years as investor’s shift their assets from banks and other traditional avenues. Some of the older public and private sector players will either close shop or be taken over.

Out of ten public sector players five will sell out, close down or merge with stronger players in three to four years. In the private sector this trend has already started with two mergers and one takeover. Here too some of them will down their shutters in the near future to come.

But this does not mean there is no room for other players. The market will witness a flurry of new players entering the arena. There will be a large number of offers from various asset management companies in the time to come. Some big names like Fidelity, Principal, Old Mutual etc. are looking at Indian market seriously. One important reason for it is that most major players already have presence here and hence these big names would hardly like to get left behind.

In the U.S. most mutual funds concentrate only on financial funds like equity and debt. Some like real estate funds and commodity funds also take an exposure to physical assets. The latter type of funds are preferred by corporate’s who want to hedge their exposure to the commodities they deal with.

For instance, a cable manufacturer who needs 100 tons of Copper in the month of January could buy an equivalent amount of copper by investing in a copper fund. For Example, Permanent Portfolio Fund, a conservative U.S. based fund invests a fixed percentage of it’s corpus in Gold, Silver, Swiss francs, specific stocks on various bourses around the world, short –term and long-term U.S. treasuries etc.

In U.S.A. apart from bullion funds there are copper funds, precious metal funds and real estate funds (investing in real estate and other related assets as well.).In India, the Canada based Dundee mutual fund is planning to launch a gold and a real estate fund before the year-end.

In developed countries like the U.S.A there are funds to satisfy everybody’s requirement, but in India only the tip of the iceberg has been explored. In the near future India too will concentrate on financial as well as physical funds.

The mutual fund industry is awaiting the introduction of DERIVATIVES in the country as this would enable it to hedge its risk and this in turn would be reflected in it’s Net Asset Value (NAV).

SEBI is working out the norms for enabling the existing mutual fund schemes to trade in Derivatives. Importantly, many market players have called on the Regulator to initiate the process immediately, so that the mutual funds can implement the changes that are required to trade in Derivatives.

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