I have invested some money into Franklin Savings fund.
I was going through the fund disclosure for the month of March 2020 and saw a negative cash balance. Does this mean they have borrowed to honour redemptions? Is this a red flag? I am honestly quite worried about the events that are transpiring.
Yes, Franklin India Savings had a little under 5% of negative cash as of March 2020. However, its portfolio as of April 23 suggests that it moved 35% into cash. That means the fund has liquidated some investments and kept cash ready, anticipating redemptions. So, to answer your question, no, the fund did not have any borrowings as of April 23.
And between April 23 and April 29, the AUM fell by half. It is likely that the fund would have again liquidated its investments or borrowed post that. We do not have the data. But there does not appear any NAV impact up to April 29 and the movement seems in line with other similar category funds. This suggests that the fund did not have to sell anything in distress thus far.
Similarly, Franklin India Corporate Debt moved 40% to cash as of April 23 and has seen 26% decline in AUM between April 23-29. That means its cash was enough to meet redemptions.
Overall, since April 23, several credit risk funds as well as other debt categories have seen redemption. Some of the funds with over 20% AUM fall for April 23-28 is given below. Please note that this data is not comprehensive as there is lag in declaration of AUM data and not all the schemes are available.
|Scheme||AUM (Rs crore) Apr 28, 2020||Fall (Apr 23-28)|
|BOI AXA Credit Risk Fund||71.38||-52.6%|
|Franklin India Savings Fund||2157.8||-48.4%|
|L&T Credit Risk Fund||715.53||-36.9%|
|Edelweiss Corporate Bond Fund||19.44||-33.0%|
|Franklin India Floating Rate Fund||287.88||-30.0%|
|Kotak Credit Risk Fund||3041.51||-27.7%|
|Aditya Birla Sun Life Credit Risk Fund||2975.86||-26.6%|
|Franklin India Banking & PSU Debt Fund||1148.74||-25.5%|
|PGIM India Credit Risk Fund||157.29||-25.1%|
|JM Dynamic Debt Fund||94.7||-24.8%|
|Aditya Birla Sun Life Medium Term Plan||2626.1||-23.7%|
|IDFC Credit Risk Fund||1078.88||-23.3%|
|Franklin India Corporate Debt Fund||1167.22||-21.5%|
|Kotak Medium Term Fund||1924.44||-21.4%|
|HDFC Credit Risk Debt Fund||9451.3||-21.4%|
|DSP Credit Risk Fund||802.98||-21.2%|
|L&T Low Duration Fund||560.92||-19.6%|
|L&T Resurgent India Bond Fund||1166.14||-19.4%|
|Nippon India Strategic Debt Fund||638.94||-19.0%|
The important thing to note is that not all funds that are faced with redemption pressure will end up closing their funds and not all funds with redemption pressure will see fall in their NAV. Much depends on:
- How quickly they can sell their holdings (depends on how liquid their papers are)
- How they can sell their holdings without taking too much of a price knock
- Whether they are judiciously tapping the credit lines to avoid selling their papers at low prices
As portfolio disclosures are done once a month, it is not possible to check the liquidity situation. Some fund houses though are coming with details of liquidity in their portfolios. But here again, it is one off.
As an investor, the best you can do is to:
- Make sure your fund does not have high credit risk
- Keep exposure to 10% where there is a lesser proportion of AAA or A1+
- Make sure you have enough emergency funds in bank savings or deposits
And if the redemption that is happening is troubling you much, then shift some amount to deposits – depending on your cash flow requirement. We think it is extremely hard to anticipate liquidity threats in these markets and your panic is justified.
Check out our report on debt funds during this Franklin Templeton crisis – https://www.primeinvestor.in/franklin-debt-funds-from-other-amcs/