When it comes to building long-term portfolios with debt, many of you are confused about which funds to use. Should it be corporate bond funds or gilt funds or credit risk funds? To choose these or a combination of these, you need to first know the difference in the characteristics of these fund categories.
Up until recently, we tended to avoid funds with any level of credit risk let alone pure credit risk funds. The domino effect of the 2018 IL&FS saga on other issuers, funds themselves trying to clean up their portfolios, the risk that the lockdowns imposed on corporate credit quality and the like kept us wary of entering the space.
I was privileged to be part of the beginnings of the credit rating industry in India. From being an unwanted pest in its early days, the industry is now the favourite whipping boy for regulators and investors, who have blindfolded themselves with wrong notions about the role of credit rating agencies.
At PrimeInvestor, we did not add any debt fund in the credit risk space when we started out in 2020. And even when a fund we recommended held partial credit risk, we made sure we classified them as high risk-long term. We did not pick any fund from the credit risk category as funds were busy segregating their bad assets.
Over the course of the last 2 weeks, following the Franklin debt funds’ fallout, many of you (our subscribers) have written to us seeking answers to a number of questions on the debt funds you hold.
After the Franklin Templeton debacle, CEOs of asset management companies have been out in big numbers across media to reassure investors that this was an isolated case and that there’s no crisis for the debt fund industry itself.
The winding up of Franklin Templeton’s debt schemes has proved how credit risk and liquidity risk can be a lethal combination. While the funds’ closures are an extreme event, this may be a good opportunity for you to take a relook at your portfolio – without panic, that is.
After a dramatic comeback, gilt and dynamic bond funds swiftly lost the peak return they made post July 2019. Credit risk funds drew a blank with defaults hurting NAVs like never before. Liquid funds showed high stability but reduced returns due to rate cuts. Last week we wrote about the performance of equity funds in …
The last two years of turmoil in the debt fund space may have left you wondering what returns to expect from debt funds. Will debt funds beat FD? Or would their returns hover somewhere around their yield (yield to maturity) as promised by some? Are double-digit returns possible in debt? Use this analysis to set more realistic expectations from debt funds instead of a vague 8% or 9% return you may have in mind.