Deposits, bonds and debt funds are great ways to diversify one’s portfolio. But the taxation on these instruments can decide whether an option is attractive or unattractive on a post-tax basis. Taxation, though varies across instruments and can be quite complex. The fact that not all debt instruments are taxed in the same way compounds the decision making dilemma on which option to choose. This write-up will break down the taxation aspect of popular debt instruments for resident individuals.
It is true that debt funds have been a washout in the past 3 years. For an investment of 1-2 years, FDs would have marginally (although not significantly enough) returned higher than liquid and ultra short duration funds.
The headlines now are devoted to sliding equity markets and stock opportunities to ‘buy the dip’. But that’s not the only window of opportunity to make the most of a correction. With the hike in repo rates earlier this month and a clear path now for higher rates, debt markets too offer scope for timely investments.
Not so long ago, if debt investors in India wanted to get a 7% plus return, they had to go to post office schemes with (poor service and) a long lock-in period like the PPF or GOI Floating Rate Savings Bonds with a 7-year lock-in period. These options, apart from the difficulty of accessing them, required investors to sacrifice liquidity for returns.
Indian debt investors have been handed a raw deal in the last three years. Though inflation has been rising and market interest rates edging up, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) and the Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) were doing their level-best to keep a lid on interest rates, to protect borrowers in a Covid-hit economy.
Muthoot Fincorp, a non-deposit taking NBFC, registered with RBI, has come up with a public offering of secured non-convertible debentures (NCDs). The issue opens on January 5 and closes on January 28, 2022. Should you invest?
So what’s ahead for the prime debt outlook 2022? Do we expect rates to now sidle sideways or to continue their climb? Though the onset of Omicron may see the MPC continue to make dovish noises and delay repo rate hikes as much as it can, we think that market interest rates will continue to climb in 2022 irrespective of whether or not MPC acts.
Prime Funds performance in 2021
Stock markets did not disappoint you in 2021. The various market cap segments delivered textbook-like bull market returns with small caps outperforming midcaps and midcaps outperforming large caps.
On December 1, you would have received text messages from various AMCs on the ‘Potential Risk Class Matrix’ (PRC) of the debt schemes you hold. If you’re worried about any change in risk profile of your fund based on this, you should read this article.
Today, we’re going a step further and drawing up a debt fund portfolio you can use for a specific timeframe – and that is a timeframe that’s 3 years and longer.
Prime Strategy: How to invest in debt funds now?
If you had invested in an ultra-short debt fund like Axis Treasury Advantage 3 years ago, your returns would be 7.3% CAGR now. Not bad at all by today’s standards, right? If you invested in the same fund 2 years ago in November 2019, your returns would be 6% – still not terrible. But what if you had invested in this fund just a year ago?
one good way to de-risk your equity fund portfolio from a market fall would be to switch from funds following a momentum style of investing to those following a value or contrarian style or funds with a value-oriented approach. Value funds typically buy fundamentally sound companies that trade at a discount to their intrinsic value in the markets.