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Knowledge Center

Whenever you want to start investing in markets, it is always good to have a basic knowledge at hand. This will not only help you understand various aspects of market but can also help in taking investment decisions.

SKI provides a comprehensive library of Market knowledge to guide you in your investment endeavour.

Go ahead, read on!


COMPANIES

An audited document as prescribed under the Companies Act and sent to the shareholders of a public company or a mutual fund at the end of each fiscal year is called an annual report. The report provides information on the company's financial results for the year along with comments on its future outlook.

Financial results issued by the company at the end of each financial year indicating its increase/decrease in profits/losses and sales are called annual results.

Financial results issued by the company every three months indicating its increase in profits/losses and sales are called quarterly results.

Assets like bills receivables, cash, debtors, etc, which can be converted into cash within a short span of time are called current assets.

An audited document as prescribed under the Companies Act and sent to the shareholders of a public company or a mutual fund at the end of each fiscal year is called an annual report. The report provides information on the company's financial results for the year along with comments on its future outlook.

Any expense likely to be incurred in future and having a bearing on the firm's profitability provided for earlier is called a provision.

some text 4Any income earned by a company other than from its normal course of operations is called 'Other Income'. For example, an iron and steel producing company may earn dividend or bonus from its share investments in a telecom company. Since the income is not earned from its normal course of business, i.e., manufacture and sale of steel pipes, the income is categorized as Other Income.

The profit earned after deducting interest, dividend and income-tax expenses from the gross profit is called the net profit

The original value of a stock, as mentioned in the company's books of accounts without adjusting for expenses, like depreciation, is called the book value.

Market Capitalization of a company is the current market price of a share multiplied by the total number of outstanding shares.

Dividend is be defined as a part of the company's profit which is paid to equity and preference shareholders.

Return on Capital Employed is defined as a measure of return that a company realizes from its capital. It is calculated as profit before interest and tax, divided by the difference between the total assets and current liabilities. The resulting ratio represents the efficiency with which capital is being utilized to generate revenue.

Return on Net Worth is defined as a measure of Profit After Tax/Net Worth. Here, Profit After Tax = Net Profit - Preference Dividend, and, Net Worth = Ordinary Equity + Reserves - Revaluation Reserve.

The debt/equity ratio is calculated by dividing the total debts (borrowed funds) by the sum of share capital, development reserve, investment property revaluation reserve, investment revaluation reserve and the retained profits.

Any asset hypothecated or any charge made on a firm's assets by a bank or any other financial institution as a collateral security against a loan taken is a secured loan.

When a loan is taken without any charge on the firm's assets, it is called an unsecured loan.

When goods/services are sold on credit, the suppliers/buyers are called debtors as they owe money to the firm.

When goods/services are purchased on credit, the suppliers are sundry creditors as the firm owes money to them.

Profit earning ratio is calculated by dividing the current stock price divided by earnings per share (EPS). If the ratio is higher than other stocks in its industry, it means the investors are expecting a higher rate of earnings for the stock.

The portion of a company's profit allocated to each outstanding share of common stock is called the earnings per share (EPS). It is calculated as the net profit - dividend on the preferred stock/outstanding shares.

The allocation of the cost of an asset over a period of time for accounting and tax purposes is called depreciation. It is also referred to as the decline in the value of a property due to the general wear and tear or obsolescence.


Dematerialisation

Dematerialisation is the process by which physical share certificates are cancelled and credited in electronic form in the client's account on a highly secure system at the depository.

Only those companies which are already listed in the securities list of depositories can dematerialise their shares.

The dematerialisation process normally takes between 15-30 days.

A depository is similar to a bank. It holds securities like shares, debentures, bonds, Government Securities, Commercial Papers, units etc. of investors in electronic form and provides services related to transactions in securities. Depository is the one, where all the securities are kept in demat form of all the clients having their demat account.

Depositories provide a number of benefits like:

  • Immediate transfer of securities.

  • No stamp duty on transfer of securities.

  • Elimination of risks associated with physical certificates such as bad delivery, fake securities, etc.

  • Reduction in paperwork involved in transfer of securities

  • Reduction in transaction cost

  • Nomination facility

  • Changes in address recorded with DP gets registered electronically with all companies in which investor holds securities eliminating the
    need to correspond with each of them separately

  • Transmission of securities is done by DP eliminating correspondence with companies; convenient method of consolidation of folios/accounts

  • Holding investments in equity, debt instruments and Government securities in a single account

  • Automatic credit into demat account, of shares, arising out of split / consolidation / merger etc.

Depositories provide the following services:

  • Opening the demat account

  • Dematerialization i.e., converting physical certificates to electronic form

  • Rematerialization i.e., conversion of securities in demat form into physical certificates

  • Facilitating repurchase / redemption of units of mutual funds

  • Electronic settlement of trades in stock exchanges connected to NSDL

  • Pledging / Hypothecation of dematerialized securities against loan

  • Electronic credit of securities allotted in public issues, rights issue

  • Receipt of non-cash corporate benefits such as bonus, in electronic form

  • Freezing of demat accounts, so that the debits from the account are not permitted

  • Nomination facility for demat accounts

  • Services related to change of address

  • Instructions to your DP over Internet through SPEED-e facility. (Please check with your DP for availing the facility)
  • Account monitoring facility over Internet for clearing members through SPEED facility

  • Other facilities viz. holding debt instruments in the same account, availing stock lending/borrowing facility, etc.

SKI is a Depository Participant. Depositories appoint agents or depository participants (DPs) approved by SEBI to provide its services to investors. According to SEBI regulations, only three categories of entities i.e. banks, financial institutions and stock exchange members [brokers] registered with SEBI can become DPs.

An investor needs to fill an account opening form for opening a demat account. The DP-Client Agreement provides the details about the rights and duties of investors and DPs. Along with the account opening form, investors have to submit the following documents:

Investors signature and photograph must be authenticated by an existing demat account holder with the same DP or by your bank. Alternatively, investors can submit a copy of Passport, Voters Id Card, Driving License or PAN card with photograph.

Investors also have to submit a copy of Passport, Voters Id Card, Driving License or PAN card with photograph, ration card or bank passbook as proof of address.

The investor has to carry all original documents to the DP for verification and should obtain a copy of the agreement and schedule of charges for future reference.

An investor is not bound by any restrictions and can open more than one account with the same DP.

An investor can maintain a zero balance in a demat account.

Any person authorised by an account holder is allowed to operate by executing a power of attorney and submitting it to the DP.

In a bank account, any credit to the account is credited only when a 'paying in' slip is submitted together with cash / cheque. Similarly, in a depository account 'Receipt in' form has to be submitted to receive securities in the account.

An investor can submit an account closure request to the DP for transferring the account from one DP to another. Is it possible to demat debt instruments, mutual fund units, government securities through a demat account? Investors are allowed to dematerialise and hold investments like debt instruments, mutual fund units, government securities in a single demat account.

Conversion of securities to physical form may be availed by requesting the DP.

Every settlement is identified by a combination of a market type and a settlement number. Investors are required to mention the appropriate settlement details on the delivery instruction slip while transferring the shares to the broker's account. These settlement details are also available on the contract note issued by the broker.

Execution date is the date on which securities will be actually debited from the investor's account. The execution date written on the delivery instruction has to be entered by the DP.

Investors will receive their payments from the company through the ECS (Electronic Clearing Service) facility or will be issued warrants on which investor's bank account details are printed.

Investors will have their entitlements directly credited by the company to the depository account.

An allotment advice will be sent by the Issuer/ its R&T agent for bonus/ rights entitlement. The Transaction Statement given by the DP, will also show the bonus/ rights credit into the account. The quantity shown in the advice and statement of transaction should match.


Markets

This is a fund created to compensate investors for genuine losses suffered against the defaulter members of the exchange.

This system guarantees settlement of trades and helps to maintain market equilibrium by ensuring payment against defaulting members of the Exchange.

An auction is a mechanism utilised by the exchange to fulfill its obligation to a counter-party member, when a member fails to deliver good securities or make the payment.

When a delivery of share turns out to be bad because of company objection, the investor can approach the bad delivery cell of the respective stock exchange where the company is listed through his broker for correction or replacement with good delivery.

Bid is the price of a share a prospective buyer is prepared to pay for a particular scrip, while offer is the price at which a share is offered for sale.

Brokerage is the commission charged by a broker for purchase/sale transaction done through him. As per SEBI norms, the maximum brokerage chargeable by brokers for purchase/sale transactions is 2.5% of the total trade value.

Circuit breakers are a mechanism by which exchanges temporarily suspend the trading in a security when its prices get volatile and tend to breach the price band.

Clearing refers to the process by which transactions between members are settled through multilateral netting.

The share is described as cum-bonus when a purchaser is entitled to receive the current bonus.

A share is described as cum-rights when a purchaser is entitled to receive the current rights.

The share is described as ex-bonus when a purchaser is not entitled to receive the current bonus, the right to which remains with the seller.

The share is described as ex-rights when a purchaser is not entitled to receive the current rights, the right to which remains with the seller.

Forward trading refers to the trading mechanism where the contracts traded today are settled at some future date at prices decided today.

Trading in a company's shares by a connected person having non-public and price sensitive information such as expansion plans, financial results and takeover bids, by virtue of his association with the company, is called insider trading.

A market lot is the minimum number of shares of a particular security that must be transacted on the exchange. In demat scrips, the market lot is fixed at one single share.

Whenever a book closure or a record date is announced by a company, the exchange sets up a no-delivery period for that security. During this period, trading is permitted in that security. However, these trades are settled only after the no-delivery period is over. This is done to ensure that investor's entitlement for corporate benefits is clearly determined.

The numbers of shares that are less than the market lot are known as odd-lots. Under the scrip-based delivery system, these shares are normally traded at a discount to the prevailing price for the marketable lot.

Investors will have their entitlements directly credited by the company to the depository account.

It is a trading initiated by buy/sell orders from investors/brokers.

On the flip side, a trading where broker / market makers give buy / sell quotes for a scrip simultaneously is known as quote-driven trading.

It means trading in those stocks which are not listed on a stock exchange.

Pay-in day is the designated day on which the securities or funds are delivered / paid in by the members to the clearing house of the exchange. On the other hand, pay-out is the designated day on which securities and funds are delivered / paid out to the members by the clearing house of the exchange.

The daily/weekly price limits within which price of a security is allowed to rise or fall is the price band for that particular stock?

When a person or persons acting in concert with each other collude to artificially increase or decrease the price of a security, the process is called price rigging.

Record date is the date on which the beneficial ownership of an investor is entered into the register of members. Such a member is entitled to get all the corporate benefits of the stock?

Rematerialisation is the process through which shares held in electronic form in a depository are converted back into physical form.

When buying/selling of securities is done using computers and matching of trades is done by the computer, the process is called screen-based trading.

It refers to the scrip-wise netting of trades by a broker after the trading period is over.

Settlement guarantee is the guarantee provided by the clearing corporation for settlement of all trades, even if a party defaults to deliver securities or pay cash.

The process of splitting shares that have a high face value into shares of a lower face value is known as share splitting. The reverse process of combining shares with a low face value into one share of higher value is known as consolidation.

It means trading by delivery of shares and payment for the same on the date of purchase or on the next day.

The instruction given by a registered holder of shares to the company to stop the transfer of shares as a result of theft or loss is known as spot transfer.

Trade guarantee is the guarantee provided by the clearing corporation for all trades that are executed on the exchange. In contrast, the settlement guarantee guarantees the settlement of trade after multilateral netting.

Trading for delivery is the trading conducted with an intention to deliver shares as opposed to a position that is squared off within the settlement.

A transfer deed is a form that is used for effecting transfer of shares or debentures and is valid for a specified period. It should be sent to the company along with the share certificate for registering the transfer. The transfer deed must be duly stamped and signed by or on behalf of the transferor and transferee and complete in all respects.

In a book building issue, the issuer appoints lead managers who collect bids within an indicated fixed band from prospective investors. A common price is then arrived at for offloading shares, enabling better pricing with a wide institutional investor base.

In partial book building, 75% of the issue is the book-built portion and the remaining 25% is to be offloaded in the general market. In 100% book building, the entire issue is reserved for the book-building portion and nothing is kept for the general market.

Margin trading allows investors to buy a stock by paying a part of the transaction value with the rest being financed by the broker.

In Securities Lending, an investor who has sold shares without holding the securities (short-selling) is allowed to borrow securities from clearing corporations to be able to deliver them to the buyer. Borrowing of securities implies that investors can lend their securities, which they do not intend to sell for some time, to clearing corporations and earn return on it for the period.

A Green-shoe Option or an over-allotment offer is an option which is sometimes a part of an underwriting agreement which allows the underwriter to purchase and sell additional shares if the market's demand for the shares is greater than originally expected.

In rolling Settlement, a settlement cycle starts and ends on the same day and is done on a continuous basis.

When a company repurchases its own shares from the market, it is called a share buyback.

A company offering a set number of new shares at a specified price to the investing public is known as an open offer.

A fresh allotment of shares to promoters, their friends and relatives on a preferential basis is called preferential allotment

A proportionate increase in the number of outstanding shares by splitting the face value in a desired ratio is called stock split. For example, a share of face value Rs 100 may be split into 10 shares of Rs 10 each.

Shares issued to existing holders by capitalising the company's free reserves, like share premium, is called a bonus share.

Rights issue is defined as an issue of a new equity in which the existing shareholders are given a right to subscribe to the issue.


EQUITY

The capital market is the market for long-term loans (debentures & bonds) and equity capital. Companies and the government can raise funds for long-term investments via the capital market. The capital market includes the stock market, bond market and primary market. Thus, organized capital markets are able to guarantee sound investment opportunities.

The capital market can be contrasted with other financial markets such as the money market which deals in short term liquid assets and futures markets which deal in commodities contracts.

The financial markets are markets which facilitate the raising of funds or the investment of assets, depending on viewpoint. They also facilitate handling of various risks. The financial markets can be divided into different subtypes:

Capital markets consists of:

  • Stock markets, which facilitates equity investment and buying and selling of shares of stock. Bond markets, which provides financing through the issue of debt contracts and the buying and selling of bonds and debentures.
  • Money markets, which provides short term debt financing and investment.
  • Derivatives markets, which provides instruments for handling of financial risks.
  • Futures markets, which provide standardized contracts for trading assets at a forthcoming date.
  • Insurance markets, which facilitates handling of various risks.
  • Foreign exchange markets
These markets can be either primary markets or aftermarkets.

A stock market is a market for the trading of publicly held company stock and associated financial instruments (including stock options, convertibles and stock index futures). Many years ago, worldwide, buyers and sellers were individual investors and businessmen. These days markets have generally become "institutionalized"; that is, buyers and sellers are largely institutions whether pension funds, insurance companies, mutual funds or banks. This rise of the institutional investor has brought growing professionalism to all aspects of the markets.

The money market is a subsection of the fixed income market. We generally think of the term "fixed income" as a synonym of bonds. In reality, a bond is just one type of fixed income security. The difference between the money market and the bond market is that the money market specializes in very short-term debt securities (debt that matures in less than one year). Money market investments are also called cash investments because of their short maturities. Money market securities are essentially IOUs (an abbreviation of the phrase "I owe you") issued by governments, financial institutions and large corporations. These instruments are very liquid and considered extraordinarily safe. Since they are extremely conservative, money market securities offer significantly lower returns than most of the other securities.

The capital market framework consists of the following participants:

  • Stock Exchanges
  • Market intermediaries, such as stock-brokers and Mutual Funds
  • Investors
  • Regulatory institutions (e.g. SEBI)

The following are the different types of financial instruments:

Debentures
A debenture is the most common form of long-term loan taken by a company. It is usually a loan repayable at a fixed date, although some debentures are irredeemable securities; these are sometimes called perpetual debentures. Most debentures also pay a fixed rate of interest, and this interest must be paid before a dividend is paid to shareholders.

Bonds
A bond is a debt investment with which the investor loans money to an entity (company or government) that borrows the funds for a defined period of time at a specified interest rate.

Preference shares
Preferential shareholders enjoy a preferential right over equity shareholders with regards to:

- Receipt of dividend
- Receipt of residual funds after liquidation

However, preferential shareholders do not have voting rights; they are entitled only to a fixed dividend.

Equity shares
Equity shares represent proportionate ownership in a company. Investors who own equity shares in a company are entitled to ownership rights, such as:

- Share in the profits of the company (in the form of dividends),
- Share in the residual funds after liquidation / winding up of the company,
- Selection of directors in the board, etc.

Government Securities
The Central Government and the State Governments issue securities periodically for the purpose of raising loans from the public. There are 2 main types of Government securities:

- Dated Securities: have a maturity period of more than 1 year
- Treasury Bills: have a maturity period of less than 1 year

One cannot buy directly from the market or stock exchange. A buyer has to buy stocks or equity through a Stock Broker, who is a registered authority to deal in equities of various companies. In effect a lot many intermediaries might come in between the buyer and seller, as brokers do their business through many sub-brokers and the like.

The general theory goes that the higher the profit, the greater the risk. Since there is scope for high profit in the Stock Market, investing in the Stock Market can be risky. In fact, more than 80% of the people who put money in the market lose it and a majority of the rest is barely able to protect themselves from losses. Only a minuscule minority of investors are able to garner any substantive profits.

Basic human psychology. Men want profits- big and fast. Not many are deterred by the risks involved. The fact is that investment in the stock markets can give, potentially, the fastest ROI (Return On Investment), as the value of a stock can rise pretty fast, ensuring huge profit for investor. People buy shares in a company for either of two reasons:

  • They have a stake in the company. They are concerned not only in the future growth in stock value but in the worth of the company itself. Their investments are long-term and they don't sell their shares in an impulse.
  • They want quick profit and don't have any stake or interest in the company, but merely want some quick value addition. Most investors belong to this category. Their investments - both buying and selling - are impulsive. Mostly, they don't do any market research and don't follow any sector or company to gain proper knowledge before investing.

The precept is very easy. Saving your investment is the first and most important part. This can be done by ensuring that you do not put your money in a company that does not show solid prospects. Fly- by- nights companies or companies whose shares touch the roof suddenly, need to be avoided. Companies that show a steady prospect are good to invest in. Needless to say, this process involves close acquaintance with market movements and a thorough understanding of the concepts involved. You should know when to dump your shares especially when they are becoming just junk papers.

The second thing is that adequate market knowledge is very important especially when you have invested in the stock market. One should be patient and judiciously responsive to market swings. Of course, luck is also a major factor.

Undoubtedly, it is 'Don't put all your eggs in the same basket'. It is very tempting to make all your investment in the same sector when their stocks are going up, but since market trends are very volatile, you are, at the same time, making yourself extremely vulnerable to lose all your money. Dealing with single sector investment requires razor sharp timing with zero margins for error - a tall order in such a speculative and volatile business. Hence, it is always advisable to make investments in different companies and in different sectors, so that you can achieve stable portfolio diversification and compensate losses in one sector against profits in another sector.


DERIVATIVES

The term "Derivative" indicates that it has no independent value, i.e. its value is entirely "derived" from the value of the underlying asset. The underlying asset can be securities, commodities, bullion, currency, live stock or anything else. In other words, Derivative means a forward, future, option or any other hybrid contract of pre determined fixed duration, linked for the purpose of contract fulfillment to the value of a specified real or financial asset or to an index of securities. With Securities Laws (Second Amendment) Act,1999, Derivatives has been included in the definition of Securities. The term Derivative has been defined in Securities Contracts (Regulations) Act, as:- A Derivative includes:

  • a security derived from a debt instrument, share, loan, whether secured or unsecured, risk instrument or contract for differences or any other form of security.
  • a contract which derives its value from the prices, or index of prices, of underlying securities.

Futures Contract means a legally binding agreement to buy or sell the underlying security on a future date. Future contracts are the organized/standardized contracts in terms of quantity, quality (in case of commodities), delivery time and place for settlement on any date in future. The contract expires on a pre-specified date which is called the expiry date of the contract. On expiry, futures can be settled by delivery of the underlying asset or cash. Cash settlement enables the settlement of obligations arising out of the future/option contract in cash. However so far delivery against future contracts have not been introduced and the future contract is settled by cash settlement only.

Options Contract is a type of Derivatives Contract which gives the buyer/holder of the contract the right (but not the obligation) to buy/sell the underlying asset at a predetermined price within or at end of a specified period. The buyer / holder of the option purchases the right from the seller/writer for a consideration which is called the premium. The seller/writer of an option is obligated to settle the option as per the terms of the contract when the buyer/holder exercises his right. The underlying asset could include securities, an index of prices of securities etc. Under Securities Contracts (Regulations) Act,1956 options on securities has been defined as "option in securities" means a contract for the purchase or sale of a right to buy or sell, or a right to buy and sell, securities in future, and includes a teji, a mandi, a teji mandi, a galli, a put, a call or a put and call in securities;

An Option to buy is called Call option and option to sell is called Put option. Further, if an option that is exercisable on or before the expiry date is called American option and one that is exercisable only on expiry date, is called European option. The price at which the option is to be exercised is called Strike price or Exercise price.

Therefore, in the case of American options the buyer has the right to exercise the option at anytime on or before the expiry date. This request for exercise is submitted to the Exchange, which randomly assigns the exercise request to the sellers of the options, who are obligated to settle the terms of the contract within a specified time frame. As in the case of futures contracts, option contracts can also be settled by delivery of the underlying asset or cash. However, unlike futures cash settlement in option contract entails paying/receiving the difference between the strike price/exercise price and the price of the underlying asset either at the time of expiry of the contract or at the time of exercise / assignment of the option contract. However so far delivery against option contracts have not been introduced and the option contract, on exercise or expiry, is settled by cash settlement only.

Futures contract based on an index i.e. the underlying asset is the index,are known as Index Futures Contracts. For example, futures contract on NIFTY Index and BSE-30 Index. These contracts derive their value from the value of the underlying index. Similarly, the options contracts, which are based on some index, are known as Index options contract. However, unlike Index Futures, the buyer of Index Option Contracts has only the right but not the obligation to buy / sell the underlying index on expiry. Index Option Contracts are generally European Style options i.e. they can be exercised / assigned only on the expiry date. An index, in turn derives its value from the prices of securities that constitute the index and is created to represent the sentiments of the market as a whole or of a particular sector of the economy. Indices that represent the whole market are broad based indices and those that represent a particular sector are sectoral indices.

In the beginning futures and options were permitted only on S&P Nifty and BSE Sensex. Subsequently, sectoral indices were also permitted for derivatives trading subject to fulfilling the eligibility criteria. Derivative contracts may be permitted on an index if 80% of the index constituents are individually eligible for derivatives trading. However, no single ineligible stock in the index shall have a weightage of more than 5% in the index. The index is required to fulfill the eligibility criteria even after derivatives trading on the index has begun. If the index does not fulfill the criteria for 3 consecutive months, then derivative contracts on such index would be discontinued. By its very nature, index cannot be delivered on maturity of the Index futures or Index option contracts therefore, these contracts are essentially cash settled on Expiry. Therefore index options are the European options while stock options are American options.

Derivative trading in India takes can place either on a separate and independent Derivative Exchange or on a separate segment of an existing Stock Exchange. Derivative Exchange/Segment function as a Self-Regulatory Organisation (SRO) and SEBI acts as the oversight regulator. The clearing & settlement of all trades on the Derivative Exchange/Segment would have to be through a Clearing Corporation/House, which is independent in governance and membership from the Derivative Exchange/Segment.

With the amendment in the definition of 'securities' under SC(R)A (to include derivative contracts in the definition of securities), derivatives trading takes place under the provisions of the Securities Contracts (Regulation) Act, 1956 and the Securities and Exchange Board of India Act, 1992.

Dr. L. C. Gupta Committee constituted by SEBI had laid down the regulatory framework for derivative trading in India. SEBI has also framed suggestive bye-law for Derivative Exchanges/Segments and their Clearing Corporation/House which lay's down the provisions for trading and settlement of derivative contracts. The Rules, Bye-laws & Regulations of the Derivative Segment of the Exchanges and their Clearing Corporation/House have to be framed in line with the suggestive Bye-laws. SEBI has also laid the eligibility conditions for Derivative Exchange/Segment and its Clearing Corporation/House. The eligibility conditions have been framed to ensure that Derivative Exchange/Segment & Clearing Corporation/House provide a transparent trading environment, safety & integrity and provide facilities for redressal of investor grievances. Some of the important eligibility conditions are:

  • Derivative trading to take place through an on-line screen based Trading System.
  • The Derivatives Exchange/Segment shall have on-line surveillance capability to monitor positions, prices, and volumes on a real time basis so as to deter market manipulation.
  • The Derivatives Exchange/ Segment should have arrangements for dissemination of information about trades, quantities and quotes on a real time basis through atleast two information vending networks, which are easily accessible to investors across the country.
  • The Derivatives Exchange/Segment should have arbitration and investor grievances redressal mechanism operative from all the four areas / regions of the country.
  • The Derivatives Exchange/Segment should have satisfactory system of monitoring investor complaints and preventing irregularities in trading.
  • The Derivative Segment of the Exchange would have a separate Investor Protection Fund.
  • The Clearing Corporation/House shall perform full novation, i.e., the Clearing Corporation/House shall interpose itself between both legs of every trade, becoming the legal counterparty to both or alternatively should provide an unconditional guarantee for settlement of all trades.
  • The Clearing Corporation/House shall have the capacity to monitor the overall position of Members across both derivatives market and the underlying securities market for those Members who are participating in both.
  • The level of initial margin on Index Futures Contracts shall be related to the risk of loss on the position. The concept of value-at-risk shall be used in calculating required level of initial margins. The initial margins should be large enough to cover the one-day loss that can be encountered on the position on 99% of the days.
  • The Clearing Corporation/House shall establish facilities for electronic funds transfer (EFT) for swift movement of margin payments.
  • In the event of a Member defaulting in meeting its liabilities, the Clearing Corporation/House shall transfer client positions and assets to another solvent Member or close-out all open positions.
  • The Clearing Corporation/House should have capabilities to segregate initial margins deposited by Clearing Members for trades on their own account and on account of his client. The Clearing Corporation/House shall hold the clients' margin money in trust for the client purposes only and should not allow its diversion for any other purpose.
  • The Clearing Corporation/House shall have a separate Trade Guarantee Fund for the trades executed on Derivative Exchange / Segment.
Presently, SEBI has permitted Derivative Trading on the Derivative Segment of BSE and the F&O Segment of NSE.

Derivative products have been introduced in a phased manner starting with Index Futures Contracts in June 2000. Index Options and Stock Options were introduced in June 2001 and July 2001 followed by Stock Futures in November 2001. Sectoral indices were permitted for derivatives trading in December 2002. Interest Rate Futures on a notional bond and T-bill priced off ZCYC have been introduced in June 2003 and exchange traded interest rate futures on a notional bond priced off a basket of Government Securities were permitted for trading in January 2004.

A stock on which stock option and single stock future contracts are proposed to be introduced is required to fulfill the following broad eligibility criteria:

  • The stock shall be chosen from amongst the top 500 stock in terms of average daily market capitalisation and average daily traded value in the previous six month on a rolling basis.
  • The stock's median quarter-sigma order size over the last six months shall be not less than Rs.1 Lakh. A stock's quarter-sigma order size is the mean order size (in value terms) required to cause a change in the stock price equal to one-quarter of a standard deviation.
  • The market wide position limit in the stock shall not be less than Rs.50 crores.

A stock can be included for derivatives trading as soon as it becomes eligible. However, if the stock does not fulfill the eligibility criteria for 3 consecutive months after being admitted to derivatives trading, then derivative contracts on such a stock would be discontinued.

The Standing Committee on Finance, a Parliamentary Committee, at the time of recommending amendment to Securities Contract (Regulation) Act, 1956 had recommended that the minimum contract size of derivative contracts traded in the Indian Markets should be pegged not below Rs. 2 Lakhs. Based on this recommendation SEBI has specified that the value of a derivative contract should not be less than Rs. 2 Lakh at the time of introducing the contract in the market. In February 2004, the Exchanges were advised to re-align the contracts sizes of existing derivative contracts to Rs. 2 Lakhs. Subsequently, the Exchanges were authorized to align the contracts sizes as and when required in line with the methodology prescribed by SEBI.

Lot size refers to number of underlying securities in one contract. The lot size is determined keeping in mind the minimum contract size requirement at the time of introduction of derivative contracts on a particular underlying. For example, if shares of XYZ Ltd are quoted at Rs.1000 each and the minimum contract size is Rs.2 lacs, then the lot size for that particular scrips stands to be 200000/1000 = 200 shares i.e. one contract in XYZ Ltd. covers 200 shares.

The basis for any adjustment for corporate action is such that the value of the position of the market participant on cum and ex-date for corporate action continues to remain the same as far as possible. This will facilitate in retaining the relative status of positions viz. in-the-money, at-the-money and out-of-the-money. Any adjustment for corporate actions is carried out on the last day on which a security is traded on a cum basis in the underlying cash market. Adjustments mean modifications to positions and/or contract specifications as listed below:

  1. Strike Price
  2. Position
  3. Market / Lot / Multiplier

The adjustments are carried out on any or all of the above based on the nature of the corporate action. The adjustments for corporate action are carried out on all open, exercised as well as assigned positions. The corporate actions are broadly classified under stock benefits and cash benefits. The various stock benefits declared by the issuer of capital are:

  • Bonus
  • Rights
  • Merger/ demerger
  • Amalgamation
  • Splits
  • Consolidations
  • Hive-off
  • Warrants, and
  • Secured Premium Notes (SPNs) among others
The cash benefit declared by the issuer of capital is cash dividend.

Two type of margins have been specified:

  • Initial Margin - Based on 99% VaR and worst case loss over a specified horizon, which depends on the time in which Mark to Market margin is collected.
  • Mark to Market Margin (MTM) - collected in cash for all Futures contracts and adjusted against the available Liquid Networth for option positions. In the case of Futures Contracts MTM may be considered as Mark to Market Settlement.

Dr. L.C Gupta Committee had recommended that the level of initial margin required on a position should be related to the risk of loss on the position. The concept of value-at-risk should be used in calculating required level of initial margins. The initial margins should be large enough to cover the one day loss that can be encountered on the position on 99% of the days. The recommendations of the Dr. L.C Gupta Committee have been a guiding principle for SEBI in prescribing the margin computation & collection methodology to the Exchanges. With the introduction of various derivative products in the Indian securities Markets, the margin computation methodology, especially for initial margin, has been modified to address the specific risk characteristics of the product. The margining methodology specified is consistent with the margining system used in developed financial & commodity derivative markets worldwide. The exchanges were given the freedom to either develop their own margin computation system or adapt the systems available internationally to the requirements of SEBI. A portfolio based margining approach which takes an integrated view of the risk involved in the portfolio of each individual client comprising of his positions in all Derivative Contracts i.e. Index Futures, Index Option, Stock Options and Single Stock Futures, has been prescribed. The initial margin requirements are required to be based on the worst case loss of a portfolio of an individual client to cover 99% VaR over a specified time horizon.

The Initial Margin is Higher of (Worst Scenario Loss +Calendar Spread Charges) Or Short Option Minimum Charge
The worst scenario loss are required to be computed for a portfolio of a client and is calculated by valuing the portfolio under 16 scenarios of probable changes in the value and the volatility of the Index/ Individual Stocks. The options and futures positions in a client's portfolio are required to be valued by predicting the price and the volatility of the underlying over a specified horizon so that 99% of times the price and volatility so predicted does not exceed the maximum and minimum price or volatility scenario. In this manner initial margin of 99% VaR is achieved. The specified horizon is dependent on the time of collection of mark to market margin by the exchange. The probable change in the price of the underlying over the specified horizon i.e. 'price scan range', in the case of Index futures and Index option contracts are based on three standard deviation (3s ) where 's ' is the volatility estimate of the Index. The volatility estimate 's ', is computed as per the Exponentially Weighted Moving Average methodology. This methodology has been prescribed by SEBI. In case of option and futures on individual stocks the price scan range is based on three and a half standard deviation (3.5 s) where 's' is the daily volatility estimate of individual stock. If the mean value (taking order book snapshots for past six months) of the impact cost, for an order size of Rs. 0.5 million, exceeds 1%, the price scan range would be scaled up by square root three times to cover the close out risk. This means that stocks with impact cost greater than 1% would now have a price scan range of - Sqrt (3) * 3.5s or approx. 6.06s. For stocks with impact cost of 1% or less, the price scan range would remain at 3.5s. For Index Futures and Stock futures it is specified that a minimum margin of 5% and 7.5% would be charged. This means if for stock futures the 3.5 s value falls below 7.5% then a minimum of 7.5% should be charged. This could be achieved by adjusting the price scan range.

The probable change in the volatility of the underlying i.e. 'volatility scan range' is fixed at 4% for Index options and is fixed at 10% for options on Individual stocks. The volatility scan range is applicable only for option products.

Calendar spreads are offsetting positions in two contracts in the same underlying across different expiry. In a portfolio based margining approach all calendar-spread positions automatically get a margin offset. However, risk arising due to difference in cost of carry or the 'basis risk' needs to be addressed. It is therefore specified that a calendar spread charge would be added to the worst scenario loss for arriving at the initial margin. For computing calendar spread charge, the system first identifies spread positions and then the spread charge which is 0.5% per month on the far leg of the spread with a minimum of 1% and maximum of 3%. Further, in the last three days of the expiry of the near leg of spread, both the legs of the calendar spread would be treated as separate individual positions. In a portfolio of futures and options, the non-linear nature of options make short option positions most risky. Especially, short deep out of the money options, which are highly susceptible to, changes in prices of the underlying. Therefore a short option minimum charge has been specified. The short option minimum charge is 3% and 7.5 % of the notional value of all short Index option and stock option contracts respectively. The short option minimum charge is the initial margin if the sum of the worst -scenario loss and calendar spread charge is lower than the short option minimum charge. To calculate volatility estimates the exchange are required to uses the methodology specified in the Prof J.R Varma Committee Report on Risk Containment Measures for Index Futures. Further, to calculate the option value the exchanges can use standard option pricing models - Black-Scholes, Binomial, Merton, Adesi-Whaley.

The initial margin is required to be computed on a real time basis and has two components:

  • The first is creation of risk arrays taking prices at discreet times taking latest prices and volatility estimates at the discreet times, which have been specified.
  • The second is the application of the risk arrays on the actual portfolio positions to compute the portfolio values and the initial margin on a real time basis.
The initial margin so computed is deducted from the available Liquid Networth on a real time basis. At the end of the day NSE sends a client wise file to all the brokers and this margin is debited to clients. Next day the broker is supposed to report the collection of margin. If the margin is short, a penalty is levied and the outstanding position is liable to be squared up at the cost of the investor.

Market wide position limits on Single Stock Derivative Contracts are as follows:
The market wide limit of open position (in terms of the number of underlying stock) on futures and option contracts on a particular underlying stock is:
lower of-
- 30 times the average number of shares traded daily, during the previous calendar month, in the relevant underlying security in the underlying segment,
Or
- 20% of the number of shares held by non-promoters in the relevant underlying security i.e. free-float holding.

This limit would be applicable on all open positions in all futures and option contracts on a particular underlying stock.

The measures specified by SEBI include:

  • Investor's money has to be kept separate at all levels and is permitted to be used only against the liability of the Investor and is not available to the trading member or clearing member or even any other investor.
  • The Trading Member is required to provide every investor with a risk disclosure document which will disclose the risks associated with the derivatives trading so that investors can take a conscious decision to trade in derivatives.
  • Investor would get the contract note duly time stamped for receipt of the order and execution of the order. The order will be executed with the identity of the client and without client ID order will not be accepted by the system. The investor could also demand the trade confirmation slip with his ID in support of the contract note. This will protect him from the risk of price favour, if any, extended by the Member.
  • In the derivative markets all money paid by the Investor towards margins on all open positions is kept in trust with the Clearing House/Clearing corporation and in the event of default of the Trading or Clearing Member the amounts paid by the client towards margins are segregated and not utilised towards the default of the member. However, in the event of a default of a member, losses suffered by the Investor, if any, on settled / closed out position are compensated from the Investor Protection Fund, as per the rules, bye-laws and regulations of the derivative segment of the exchanges.
  • In the derivative markets all money paid by the Investor towards margins on all open positions is kept in trust with the Clearing House/Clearing corporation and in the event of default of the Trading or Clearing Member the amounts paid by the client towards margins are segregated and not utilised towards the default of the member. However, in the event of a default of a member, losses suffered by the Investor, if any, on settled / closed out position are compensated from the Investor Protection Fund, as per the rules, bye-laws and regulations of the derivative segment of the exchanges.
  • The Exchanges are required to set up arbitration and investor grievances redressal mechanism operative from all the four areas / regions of the country.
Remember, Derivatives are tools which can be used for hedging, speculation as well as trading. It is always advisable to take positions in derivatives with caution. Since the trader is required to give only margin, there is a tendency of overtrading which must be avoided. Overtrading may result in failure to pay margin call &/or MTM the outstanding position is liable to be squared up. Before trading it is necessary that the investor should go through the risk disclosure document carefully so that he is aware of the precautions to be taken in derivatives trading.


COMMODITY

Commodity includes all kinds of goods. The Forward Contracts Regulation Act, 1952 (FCRA) defines “goods” as “every kind of movable property other than actionable claims, money and securities”. Further trading is organized in such goods or commodities as are permitted by the Central Government. At present, all goods and products of agricultural (including plantation), mineral and fossil origin are allowed for futures trading under the auspices of the commodity exchange recognized under the FCRA. The national commodity exchanges have been recognized by the Central Government for organizing trading in all permissible commodities which include precious (gold & silver) and non-ferrous metals; cereals and pulses; ginned and un-ginned cotton; oilseeds, oils and oilcakes; raw jute and jute goods; sugar and gur; potatoes and onions; coffee and tea; rubber and spices, etc.

There are four main types of commodities:

  • Metal commodities: Metals like iron, copper, aluminium, nickel are used in construction and manufacturing, while platinum, silver and gold are used for jewellery-making and investment purposes.
  • Agricultural commodities: Commodities such as crops and farm livestock which supply food and also contribute to other industries such as the textile industry are another category. A few examples of agricultural commodities would be sugar, cocoa, soybean, wheat, cotton, cattle and hogs.
  • Energy commodities: Energy sources like oil and natural gas play a major role in powering the globe, and are used for transportation, in our homes, factories, and so on. Other examples would include uranium, ethanol, coal, and electricity.
  • Environmental commodities: This group includes renewable energy certificates, white certificates and carbon emissions.

Similar to stock trading, wherein one buys and sells shares of certain companies, in commodity trading, you can buy and sell commodity products. Commodities are traded on certain exchanges, and traders aim to profit off the changes in the commodity market by buying and selling these commodities. Commodity trading for beginners can be made easier with Contracts For Difference (CFDs), which is one of the most straightforward trading options in commodities. CFDs are basically financial instruments that provide you a chance to capitalise on price movements without the ownership responsibility of the underlying security.

A commodity futures contract is a tradable standardized contract, the terms of which are set in advance by the commodity exchange organizing trading in it. The futures contract is for a specified variety of a commodity, known as the “basis” though quite a few other similar varieties, both inferior and superior, are allowed to be deliverable or tender able for delivery against the specified futures contract.

The quality parameters of the “basis” and the permissible tender able varieties; the delivery months and schedules; the places of delivery, the “on” and ”off” allowances for the quality differences and the transport costs; the transport costs; the tradable lots; the modes of price quotes; the procedures for regular periodical (mostly daily) clearings; the payment of prescribed clearing and margin monies; the transaction, clearing and other fees; the arbitration, survey and other dispute redressing methods; the manner of settlement of outstanding transactions after the last trading day, the penalties for non-issuance or non-acceptance of deliveries, etc. are all predetermined by the rules and regulations of the commodity exchange.

Consequently, the parties to the contract are required to negotiate only the quantity to be bought and sold and the price. Everything else is prescribed by the Exchange. Because of the standardized nature of the futures contract, it can be traded with ease at a moment’s notice.

The physical markets for commodities deal in either cash or spot contract for ready delivery and payment within 11 days, or forward (not futures) contracts for delivery of goods and/or payment of price after 11 days. These contracts are essentially party to party contracts, and are fulfilled by the seller giving delivery of goods of a specified variety of a commodity as agreed to between the parties. Rarely are these contracts for the actual or physical delivery allowed to be settled otherwise than by issuing or giving deliveries. Such situations may arise when unforeseen and uncontrolled circumstances prevent the buyers and sellers from receiving or taking deliveries. The contracts may then be settled mutually.

Unlike the physical markets, futures markets trade in futures contracts which are primarily used for risk management (hedging) on commodity stocks or forward (physical market), purchases and sales. Futures contacts are mostly offset before their maturity and, therefore, scarcely end in deliveries. Speculators also use these futures contracts to benefit to benefit from changes in prices and are hardly interested in either taking or receiving deliveries of goods.

Unlike the physical market, a futures market facilitates offsetting the trades without exchanging physical goods until the expiry of a contract. As a result, futures market attracts hedgers for risk management and encourages considerable external competition from those who possess market information and price judgment to trade as traders in these commodities. While hedgers have long-term perspective of the market, the traders or arbitragers, prefer an immediate view of the market. However, all these users participate in buying and selling of commodities based on various domestic and global parameters such as price, demand and supply, climatic and market related information. These factors, together, result in efficient price discovery, allowing large number of buyers and sellers to trade on the exchange.

Price Risk Management: Hedging is the practice of off-setting the price risk inherent in any cash market position by taking an equal but opposite position in the futures market. This technique is very useful in case of any long-term requirements for which the prices have to be firmed to quote a sale price but to avoid buying the physical commodity immediately to prevent blocking of funds and incurring large holding costs.

For investors who are trying to diversify their portfolio, commodity trading is a good option. Here are a few aspects of commodity trading for beginners to consider:

Trading opportunities: As commodity prices are generally quite volatile, this acts in favour of the traders by opening up plenty of trading opportunities. Traders can also profit off upward as well as downward price movements.

Leverage: As a trader, you can control considerable amounts of money with small deposits by using ‘leverage’. This could potentially help you magnify your gains, however it’s crucial to remember that it may also magnify your losses.

Flexible trading schedules: Since commodity markets are open for most of the week, it allows you to trade at a time that is most convenient.

Diversification: As commodities have little to no correlations with traditional classes of assets such as bonds or stocks, often commodities rise during periods that see a fall in stocks and bonds, which can help lower portfolio risks for traders. However,this is not a hard and fast rule.

Protective hedge against inflation: Due to unpredictable event risks such as economic crises, natural disasters, and wars can affect the economy adversely, and currencies can also lose purchasing power during periods of inflation. Commodities, which often tend to rise during such periods, can protect the trader by acting as a barrier against such events.

A derivative contract is an enforceable agreement whose value is derived from the value of an underlying asset; the underlying asset can be a commodity, precious metal, currency, bond, stock, or, indices of commodities, stocks etc. Four most common examples of derivative instruments are forwards, futures, and options.

A forward contract is a legally enforceable agreement for delivery of goods or the underlying asset on a specific date in future at a price agreed on the date of contract. Under Forward Contracts (Regulation) Act, 1952, all the contracts for delivery of goods, which are settled by payment of money difference or where delivery and payment is made after period of 11 days, are forward contracts.

Commodity Futures are contracts to buy/sell specific quantity of a particular commodity at a future date. It is similar to the Index futures and Stock futures but the underlying happens to be commodities instead of Stocks and indices.

The Government of India permitted establishment of National-level Multi-Commodity exchanges in the year 2002 -03 and accordingly following exchanges have come into picture. They are:

INDIA

  • Multi-Commodity Exchange of India Limited, Mumbai (MCX)
  • National Commodity and Derivatives Exchange of India, Mumbai (NCDEX)
  • National Multi Commodity Exchange, Ahmedabad (NMCE)
  • Indian Commodity Exchange (ICEX)
  • ACE Derivatives & Commodity Exchange Ltd.
INTERNATIONAL: Some of the most popular exchanges around the world are given below
  • New York Mercantile Exchange (NYMEX)
  • Chicago Board of Trade (CBOT)
  • London Metals Exchange (LME)
  • Chicago Board Option Exchange (CBOE)
  • Tokyo Commodity Exchange (TCE)
  • Malaysian Derivatives Exchange (MDEX)

All the commodities are not suitable for futures trading and for conducting futures trading. For being suitable for futures trading the market for commodity should be competitive, i.e., there should be large demand for and supply of the commodity – no individual or group of persons acting in concert should be in a position to influence the demand or supply, and consequently the price substantially. There should be fluctuations in price. The market for the commodity should be free from substantial government control. The commodity should have long shelf-life and be capable of standardisation and gradation.

At present, futures are available on the following commodities *

  • Bullion: Gold and Silver
  • Oil & Oilseeds: Castor seeds, Soy Seeds, Castor Oil, Refined Soy Oil,Soymeal,Crude Palm Oil, Cotton seed, Oilcake, Cottonseed, Mentha oil
  • Spices: Pepper, Red Chilli, Jeera, Turmeric, Cardamom, Coriander
  • Metals: Copper, Nickel,Tin, Steel, Zinc, Aluminium
  • Fibre: Kapas, Long Staple Cotton, Medium Staple Cotton
  • Pulses: Chana
  • Cereals: Wheat, Maize
  • Energy: Crude oil, Furnace Oil, Natural Gas, Heating Oil
  • Others: Rubber, Guar Seed, Guar Gum, Sugar, Gur
*Above list may be indicative for information purpose as exchanges keep adding the products.

Two methods generally used for predicting futures prices are fundamental analysis and technical analysis. The fundamental analysis is concerned with basic supply and demand information, such as, weather patterns, carryover supplies, relevant policies of the Government and agricultural reports. Technical analysis includes analysis of movement of prices in the past. Many participants use fundamental analysis to determine the direction of the market, and technical analysis to time their entry and exist.

Generally commodity futures require an initial margin between 5-10% of the contract value. The exchanges levy higher additional margin in case of excess volatility. The margin amount varies between exchanges and commodities. Therefore they provide great benefits of leverage in comparison to the stock and index futures trade on the stock exchanges. The exchange also requires the daily profits and losses to be paid in/out on open positions (Mark to Market or MTM) so that the buyers and sellers do not carry a risk of not more than one day


DEPOSITORY

A depository is a facility for holding securities, which enables securities transactions to be processed by book entry. To achieve this purpose, the depository may immobilize the securities or dematerialise them (so that they exist only as electronic records).' India has chosen the dematerialisation route. In India, a depository is an organisation, which holds the beneficial owner's securities in electronic form, through a registered Depository Participant (DP). A depository functions somewhat similar to a commercial bank. To avail of the services offered by a depository, the investor has to open an account with it through a registered DP.

Dematerialisation is a process by which physical certificates are converted into electronic form.

"Beneficial Owner" is a person in whose name a demat account is opened with CDSL for the purpose of holding securities in the electronic form and whose name is recorded as such with CDSL.

A Depository Participant (DP) is an agent of the depository who is authorised to offer depository services to investors. Financial institutions, banks, custodians and stockbrokers complying with the requirements prescribed by SEBI/ Depositories can be registered as DP. Further information on DP, can be accessed from CDSL's web site www.cdslindia.com

Issuer means any entity making an issue of securities.

ISIN (International Securities Identification Number) is the identification number given to a security of an issuer at the time of admitting such security in the depository system.

No, different securities issued by the same issuer will have different ISINs.

Following services can be availed of through a DP:

  • To maintain record of holdings in the electronic form.
  • Settlement of trades by delivering/ receiving underlying securities from/in BO accounts.
  • Settlement of off-market trades i.e. transactions between BOs entered outside the Stock Exchange.
  • Providing electronic credit in respect of securities allotted by issuers under IPO or otherwise.
  • Receiving on behalf of demat account holders non-cash corporate benefits, such as, allotment of bonus and rights shares in electronic form or securities ensuing upon consolidation, stock split or merger/amalgamation of companies.
  • Pledging of dematerialised securities.
  • Facilitating Securities Lending and Borrowing, if the DP is registered as an "Approved Intermediary" for the purpose.

Public financial institutions, scheduled commercial banks, foreign banks operating in India with the approval of the Reserve Bank of India, state financial corporations, custodians, stock-brokers, clearing corporations / clearing houses, NBFCs and registrar to an issue or share transfer agent complying with the requirements prescribed by SEBI can be registered as DP. Banking services can be availed through a bank branch whereas depository services can be availed through a DP.

When securities of a company are held in physical form by an investor, his/ her name is recorded in the books of the company as a 'Registered Owner' of the securities. When physical shares are converted into electronic form, the depository becomes 'Registered owner" in the books of the company and investor's name is removed from books of the company.

As per the available statistics at BSE and NSE, 99.9% transactions take place in dematerialised mode only. Therefore, in view of the convenience of trading in dematerialised mode, it is advisable to have a beneficial owner (BO) account for trading at the exchanges.

However, to facilitate trading by small investors (maximum 500 shares, irrespective of their value) in physical mode the stock exchanges provide an additional trading window, which gives one time facility for small investors to sell physical shares which are in compulsory demat list. The buyer of these shares has to demat such shares before further selling.

  • A safe and convenient way to hold securities,
  • Immediate transfer of securities,
  • No stamp duty on transfer of securities,
  • Elimination of risks associated with physical certificates such as bad delivery, fake securities, delays, thefts etc.
  • Reduction in paperwork involved in transfer of securities,
  • Reduction in transaction cost,
  • No odd lot problem, even one share can be traded,
  • Nomination facility,
  • Change in address recorded with DP gets registered with all companies in which investor holds securities electronically eliminating the need to correspond with each of them separately,
  • Transmission of securities is done by DP eliminating correspondence with companies,
  • Automatic credit into demat account of shares, arising out of bonus/split/consolidation/merger etc.
  • Holding investments in equity and debt instruments in a single account.

No. A demat account cannot be opened directly with depository. It has to be opened only through a DP of depository.

Yes. A demat account can be opened in a single name or in joint holders' name.There can be maximum three account holders i.e. one main holder and two joint holders.

SEBI has mandated that nomination should be recorded for a demat account held by individuals. If nomination is not to be given then the account holder(s) should give a written and signed declaration to the effect.


INSURANCE

"Insurance is a contract between two parties whereby one party called insurer undertakes in exchange for a fixed sum called premiums, to pay the other party called insured a fixed amount of money on the happening of a certain event."

Insurance is a protection against financial loss arising on the happening of an unexpected event. Insurance companies collect premiums to provide for this protection. A loss is paid out of the premiums collected from the insuring public and the Insurance Companies act as trustees to the amount collected.

For Example, in a Life Policy, by paying a premium to the Insurer, the family of the insured person receives a fixed compensation on the death of the insured.

Similarly, in car insurance, in the event of the car meeting with an accident, the insured receives the compensation to the extent of damage.

It is a system by which the losses suffered by a few are spread over many, exposed to similar risks.

Insurance is desired to safeguard oneself and one's family against possible losses on account of risks and perils. It provides financial compensation for the losses suffered due to the happening of any unforeseen events.

By taking life insurance a person can have peace of mind and need not worry about the financial consequences in case of any untimely death.

Certain Insurance contracts are also made compulsory by legislation. For example, Motor Vehicles Act 1988, stipulates that a person driving a vehicle in a public place should hold a valid insurance policy covering "Act" risks. Another example of compulsory insurance pertains to the Environmental Protection Act, wherein a person using or carrying hazardous substances (as defined in the Act) must hold a valid public liability (Act) policy.

In India, prior to liberalisation Insurance protection was made available through Public sector Insurance Companies, namely, Life Insurance Corporation of India (LIC) and the four subsidiaries of General Insurance Corporation of India (GIC).

By the passing of the IRDA Bill, the Insurance sector has been opened up for private companies to carry on Insurance business.

Here's a list of insurance service providers in India
Click Here for list of Non-Life Insurers

Click Here for list of Non-Life Insurers

The simplest procedure to obtain insurance is:

  • Approach the Insurance Companies directly or through Insurance agents of the concerned companies or through Intermediaries.
  • Complete a proposal form giving full details.
  • Submit Date of Birth Certificate and other relevant documents.
Insurance contracts are based on good faith i.e. the details furnished by the proposer are accepted in good faith and this will form the basis of the contract.

One alternative to Insurance is to provide self-Insurance i.e. the individual has to create a fund to meet risk exigencies.

Specified trusts have also tried to provide insurance by a scheme of self-insurance. However, these are not very popular.

The postal department provides Insurance coverage to all working people.

There are many financial instruments which advocate savings and provide future returns at specific intervals such as the provident fund and pension plans. However, none of these provide for life coverage.

Tax Relief: Under Section 88 of Income Tax Act, a portion of premiums paid for life insurance policies are deducted from tax liability. Similarly, exemption is available for Health Insurance Policy premiums.

Money paid as claim including Bonus under a life policy is exempted from payment of Income Tax. However annuities received under certain pension plans are taxable.

Encourages Savings: An insurance scheme encourages thrift among individuals. It inculcates the habit of saving compulsorily, unlike other saving instruments, wherein the saved money can be easily withdrawn.

The beneficiaries to an insurance claim amount are protected from the claims of creditors by affecting a valid assignment.

For a policy taken under the MWP Act 1874, (Married Women's Property Act), a trust is created for wife and children as beneficiaries.

Life Policies are accepted as a security for a loan. They can also be surrendered for meeting unexpected emergencies.

Based on the concept of sharing of losses, the society will benefit as catastrophic losses are spread globally.

The commonest form of health insurance policies in India cover the expenses incurred on Hospitalization, though a variety of products are now available which offer a range of health covers, depending on the need and choice of the insured. The health insurer usually provides either direct payment to hospital (cashless facility) or reimburses the expenses associated with illnesses and injuries or disburses a fixed benefit on occurrence of an illness. The type and amount of health care costs that will be covered by the health plan are specified in advance.

Insurance companies have tie-up arrangements with several hospitals all over the country as part of their network. Under a health insurance policy offering cashless facility, a policyholder can take treatment in any of the network hospitals without having to pay the hospital bills as the payment is made to the hospital directly by the Third Party Administrator, on behalf of the insurance company. However, expenses beyond the limits or sub-limits allowed by the insurance policy or expenses not covered under the policy have to be settled by you directly with the hospital. Cashless facility, however, is not available if you take treatment in a hospital that is not in the network.

Yes. When you get a new policy, generally, there will be a 30 days waiting period starting from the policy inception date, during which period any hospitalization charges will not be payable by the insurance companies. However, this is not applicable to any emergency hospitalization occurring due to an accident. This waiting period will not be applicable for subsequent policies under renewal.

The policy will be renewable provided you pay the premium within 30 days (called as Grace Period) of expiry date. However, coverage would not be available for the period for which no premium is received by the insurance company. The policy will lapse if the premium is not paid within the grace period.

Yes. The Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority (IRDA) has issued a circular making it effective from 1st October, 2011, which directs the insurance companies to allow portability from one insurance company to another and from one plan to another, without making the insured to lose the renewal credits for pre-existing conditions, enjoyed in the previous policy. However, this credit will be limited to the Sum Insured (including Bonus) under previous policy. For details, you may check with the insurance company.

After a claim is filed and settled, the policy coverage is reduced by the amount that has been paid out on settlement. For Example: In January you start a policy with a coverage of Rs 5 Lakh for the year. In April, you make a claim of Rs 2 lakh. The coverage available to you for the May to December will be the balance of Rs.3 lakh.

Accidents, illness, fire, financial securities are the things you'd like to worry about any time. General Insurance provides you the much-needed protection against such unforeseen events. Unlike Life Insurance, General Insurance is not meant to offer returns but is a protection against contingencies. Under certain Acts of Parliament, some types of insurance like Motor Insurance and Public Liability Insurance have been made compulsory.

Life Insurance is a contract between a insurance policy holderand a life insurance company. Where the insurer promises to pay a designated beneficiary a sum of money (sum assured) in exchange for a premium, upon the death of an insured person or maturity of the policy (depending on the policy contract) .Other events such as terminal illness or critical illness can also trigger payment.

Life cover is useful to ensure the financial stability of your family in case you are unable to earn due to an accident or illness. The policy also pays the benefits to your beneficiaries in case of an untoward event. Procuring such coverage ensures that your family can to meet their expenses and sustain their lifestyles even in your absence.


MUTUAL FUND

There are several advantages mutual funds have over stocks. The key advantage funds have over stocks is diversification. Any fund normally invests in a diverse basket of securities, which may include stocks. Consider one of the market favourites, Birla Advantage Fund, a growth scheme with 26.43% of its portfolio in Infosys, 14.75% in VisualSoft and another 8.22% in SSI. With an investment of Rs. 50,000 in the scheme you could own Rs. 13,215 worth of Infosys, Rs.7375 of VisualSoft and Rs. 4110 of SSI. Likewise you would own 27 other stocks that the scheme has put its money in. Is that more satisfying than purchasing seven stocks of Infosys on your own with the same money. Hence, funds make it possible for individual investors to achieve more diversification and with less of their effort than compared to investing in individual stocks. Funds are also professionally managed and backed by an investment research team. The team looks at the performance of companies and then makes investments in them to achieve the objectives of the scheme. Compared to investing in stocks, your experience with fund investing will show you that you save a lot of paperwork as well as time. Under normal functioning, fund investment also does away with common problems associated with stocks like bad deliveries, delayed payments and the frequent visits to brokers and companies.

Historically equity did give better returns than bonds, golds and other assets. But if the long term horizon is assumed to be 7 years, then in the Indian context, the equities have practically given near zero returns.

Besides investing in Government of India securities and money market instruments, they are slightly more overweighed on corporate India. Approximately 50-60% of the portfolio would consist of fixed income instruments issued by corporate India. They therefore provide a higher return typically between 11-12% per annum; ideally suited for investors looking beyond a period of 1 year.

MIP is a variant of income scheme that provides investors an option to get monthly returns in the form of dividends. UTI is the only fund house giving out assured returns on MIP (distributed as post-dated cheques). Private sector mutual funds are not allowed to give assured returns on MIPs. Usually, the returns from such schemes are between 10.5 –11.5%.

Balanced schemes invest both in equity shares and in income-bearing instruments. They aim to reduce the risks of investing in stocks by having a stake in both the equity and the debt markets. These schemes adopt some flexibility in changing the asset composition between equity and debt. The fund managers exploit market conditions to buy the best class of assets at each point in time. By mixing stocks and bonds (and sometimes other types of assets as well, like call money or commercial paper), a balanced scheme is likely to give a return somewhere in between those of stocks and bonds. Bonds add stability during market downturns and volatile periods, while stocks provide growth. Since the return on different types of assets rise and fall at different times, the risk is usually lower in balanced schemes than in pure growth or income schemes.

The part of mutual fund assets that gets removed each year for expenses (which includes management fees, annual operating costs, administrative expenses and all other costs incurred by the fund) expressed, as a percentage is the expense ratio. It provides a quick check of efficiently the fund manager is handling the fund.

Look for one thing in the fine print: the scheme's expenses. One such expense is the bomb of a salary paid to the investment experts who manage the fund. Apart from management fee there is also the money the fund spends on advertising and marketing a scheme. There is a host of operating expenses from buying stationery to maintaining the fund house's staff. Should it matter to you if the fund house purchases a new computer?

It does. In whatever way the fund spends the money, the net expenses are all billed in one way or the other to the unit-holder. The expenses of a scheme do not include brokerage commissions.

They are slightly volatile because 95% of the traded volume of fixed income instruments in India comprise of gilt schemes and therefore pricing of such schemes is done daily.

Getting back to cuisine talk. Do you stop frequenting the Udupi joint round the corner just because a new cook cooked your favourite appam even if it was to your liking? Similarly, there is not much reason to opt out of a fund just because it has a new manager. Managers usually work to the fund house's objective set for a scheme. However, do keep track what the new manager is upto. Is the manager handling the portfolio in a way that it reflects the fund's objectives?

If the new manager churns the portfolio upside down, it might mean more capital gains distributions, and hence more taxes. Obviously then, (and before appams start tasting like idlis) time you looked for another fund.

NAV is the net realizable value of each unit of the scheme. After netting off liabilities from the asset value and dividing by the total number of units outstanding we arrive at the NAV.

No, you may not actually get that much when you redeem your units. That is because of the charges levied by some mutual funds. Though NAV is a good enough figure to tell you what the price of each unit is, it is not an exact one. Funds charge fee for managing your money called the annual expense fee. Some funds also charge a fee when you buy or sell units called the entry and exit load.

In India majority of mutual funds are open-ended. Fund that float open ended schemes can sell as many units as investors demand. These do not have a fixed maturity period. Investors can buy or sell units at NAV-related prices from and to the mutual fund on any business day. Most people prefer open-ended mutual funds because they offer liquidity. Such funds can issue and redeem units any time during the life of a scheme. Hence, unit capital of open ended funds can fluctuate on a daily basis.

These have fixed maturity periods (ranging from 2 to 15 years). You can invest in the scheme at the time of the initial issue. That’s because such schemes can not issue new units except in case of bonus or rights issue.

All is not lost if you missed out on units of a closed scheme. After the initial issue, you can buy or sell units of the scheme on the stock exchanges where they are listed (certain Mutual Funds however, in order to provide investors with an exit route on a periodic basis do repurchase units at NAV related prices). The market price of the units could vary from the NAV of the scheme due to demand and supply factors, investors’ expectations and other market factors.

Much like for an individual investor, a scheme’s objective is the result that a fund manger desires out a scheme. While setting objective for a scheme the manager asks the question: what are the kind of returns I expect the scheme to deliver and to get assure such returns what are the securities and in what proportion should I invest in?

Based on their objectives schemes have been clubbed together in categories. These are broad market classifications and help investors narrow down their search for a scheme. After shortlisting schemes by their common objectives one can further look into each scheme for more specific differences in their objectives.

Equity schemes are those that invest predominantly in equity shares of companies. An equity scheme seeks to provide returns by way of capital appreciation.

As a class of assets, equities are subject to greater fluctuations. Hence, the NAVs of these schemes will also fluctuate frequently. Hence, equity schemes are more volatile, but offer better returns.

The aim of diversified equity funds is to provide the investor with capital appreciation over a medium to long period (generally 2 – 5 years). The fund invests in equity shares of companies from a diverse array of industries and balances (or tries to) the portfolio so as to prevent any adverse impact on returns due to a downturn in one or two sectors.

Gilt schemes invest in government bonds, money market securities or some combination of these.

Gilt schemes tend to give a higher return than a money market scheme at the same time retaining the qualities of a liquid fund. Gilt schemes generally give a return of 8.5-10% per annum whereas it is between 7-8% per annum for money market schemes.

Yes, money market schemes invest in short-term debt instruments such as T-bills, certificates of deposits, commercial papers, call money markets, etc. Their goal is to preserve the principal while yielding a modest return. They are ideal for corporate and big investors looking for avenues to park their short-term surplus funds.

Since they provide the investor to enter or exit within a short period of time without any load. You can even invest for two working days. Normally, you can get back your cash within 24 hours of redemption.

It does in case of schemes that have invested in government instruments like debentures and government securities e.g., debt schemes and some balanced schemes. The volatility of debt schemes depends entirely on the health of the economy e.g., rupee depreciation, fiscal deficit, inflationary pressure.

In debt funds, it is useful to compare the extent to which the growth in NAV comes from interest income and from changes in valuation of illiquid assets like bonds and debentures. This is important because as of today there is no standard method for evaluation of untraded securities. The valuation model used by the fund might have resulted in an appreciation of NAV.

These schemes invest mainly in income-bearing instruments like bonds, debentures, government securities, commercial paper, etc. These instruments are much less volatile than equity schemes. Their volatility depends essentially on the health of the economy e.g., rupee depreciation, fiscal deficit, inflationary pressure. Performance of such schemes also depends on bond ratings. These schemes provide returns generally between 7 to 12% per annum.

Fund managing an index fund is usually called passive management because all a fund manger has to do is to follow the index. Hence, who the portfolio manager or what his style is does not really matter in such funds.

Lack of performance is often explained away as temporary with promises of good performance in the long term. The long term is seldom defined whether it means 3 years or 10 years. Also the longer the period, the longer is the uncertainty, in other words, the premium on returns an investor gets has to be discounted against the risk of uncertainty of returns. A small premium in compounded returns over returns of risk free instruments like PPF wouldn't justify investment in a mutual fund.

Sustained periods of low absolute performance are a cause for concern. It is okay to look at returns vis-à-vis market indices; but if a particular scheme produces absolute returns less than the cumulative returns for a fixed deposit of a bank, then the latter option is better when evaluated on the parameter of risk adjusted returns. This is because generally it is safer to invest in a fixed deposit of a bank than to invest in a debt fund.

This term finds place in the literature of practically all mutual funds. What it basically implies is that a price risk at the entry level can be eliminated to some extent by buying units at various points of time. But this assumes that the NAV will rise eventually. If it does not, you are worse off than by not adopting this strategy.

Taxes don't leave you wherever you make money. But there are smart ways to deal with it. Best be informed. The tax benefits for investing in mutual funds are as follows: Sec 88 of the I.T. Act Twenty percent of the amount invested in specified mutual funds (called equity linked savings schemes or ELSS) is deductible from the tax payable by the investor in a particular year subject to a maximum of Rs2000 per investor. Section 54EA and 54EB of the I.T. Act. Under Section 54EA of the I.T. Act, investment of the entire or part of the net consideration obtained from the transfer of long-term capital assets for a period of three years in mutual fund units, exempts the asset holder from paying capital gains tax. Under Section 54EB of the I.T. Act, investment of the entire or part of the capital gains obtained from the transfer of long-term capital assets for a period of seven years in mutual fund units exempts the asset holder from paying capital gains tax. Sec 115R of the I.T. Act The mutual fund is completely exempt from paying taxes on dividends/interest/capital gains earned by it. While this is a benefit to the fund, it indirectly benefits the unitholders as well. A mutual fund has to pay a withholding tax of 10% on the dividends distributed by it under the revised provisions of the I.T. Act putting them on par with corporates. However, if a mutual fund has invested more than 50% of its assets in equity shares, then it is exempt from paying any tax on the dividend distributed by it, for a period of three years brought about by an overriding provision. This benefit is available under section 115R of the I.T. Act. Section 10(33) of the I.T. Act The investor in a mutual fund is exempt from paying any tax on the dividend received by him from the mutual fund, irrespective of the type of the mutual fund. This benefit is available as the units of mutual funds are treated as capital assets and the investor has to pay capital gains tax on the sale proceeds of mutual fund units sold by him. For investments held for less than one year the tax is equal to 30% of the capital gain. For investments held for more than one year, the tax is equal to 10% of the capital gains. The investor is entitled to indexation benefit while computing capital gains tax. Thus if a typical growth scheme of an income fund shows a rise of 14% in NAV after one year and the investor sells it, he will pay a 10% tax on the selling price less cost price and indexation component. This reduces the incidence of tax considerably. This concession is available under section 48 of the I.T. Act. The following calculations show this in more detail: Purchase NAV = Rs 10 Sale NAV = Rs 11.4 Indexation component = 7% Capital gains = 11.4 - 10(1.07) = 11.4 - 10.7 = 0.7 Capital gains tax = 0.7*0.1 = 0.07. If an investor buys a fresh unit in the closing days of March and sells it in the first week of April of the following year, he is entitled to indexation benefit for two financial years which close in the two March ending periods. This is termed as double indexation and lowers the tax even further especially for income funds. In the above example, the calculation would be as follows: Capital gains = 11.4 - 10(1.07)(1.07) = 11.4 - 11.45 = -0.05 Eventually in this case, there would be no capital gains tax. The investor in a mutual fund is exempt from paying any tax on the dividend received by him from the mutual fund, irrespective of the type of the mutual fund. This benefit is available as the units of mutual funds are treated as capital assets and the investor has to pay capital gains tax on the sale proceeds of mutual fund units sold by him. For investments held for less than one year the tax is equal to 30% of the capital gain. For investments held for more than one year, the tax is equal to 10% of the capital gains. The investor is entitled to indexation benefit while computing capital gains tax. Thus if a typical growth scheme of an income fund shows a rise of 14% in NAV after one year and the investor sells it, he will pay a 10% tax on the selling price less cost price and indexation component. This reduces the incidence of tax considerably. This concession is available under section 48 of the I.T. Act. The following calculations show this in more detail: Purchase NAV = Rs 10 Sale NAV = Rs 11.4 Indexation component = 7% Capital gains = 11.4 - 10(1.07) = 11.4 - 10.7 = 0.7 Capital gains tax = 0.7*0.1 = 0.07. If an investor buys a fresh unit in the closing days of March and sells it in the first week of April of the following year, he is entitled to indexation benefit for two financial years which close in the two March ending periods. This is termed as double indexation and lowers the tax even further especially for income funds. In the above example, the calculation would be as follows: Capital gains = 11.4 - 10(1.07)(1.07) = 11.4 - 11.45 = -0.05 Eventually in this case, there would be no capital gains tax.

Once again, back to the basic question. You came here looking for schemes that can suffice your investment needs. You might be like many others who actually have multiple needs. Consider going for a combination of schemes. Yet another recap of the basics: one of the things that made these mutual funds great was diversification. While you might have selected a scheme that has a diversified portfolio, you can also go for more than one schemes to further diversify your investments. It is well possible that just by picking more than one scheme from one fund house you can achieve enough diversification. In fact many investors who have tried out a fund house for long and developed a trust with the fund, prefer to pick another scheme from the fund's basket for their new investment needs. But convenience sometimes leads to venerable prejudices that might deprive you of trying something new and better. There could be a better-managed scheme in a different fund house house that you are missing out on if you decide to stick to your old fund house for convenience sake.

Higher the turnover more the trades a fund does and hence greater are the transaction fees in the form of brokerage, custody fees, registration fees etc. that a fund has to pay. For a fund such high transaction costs affects its performance and the NAV. And as an investor you get less returns. Moreover, a fund with high turnover will also be making money more often as capital gains. These capital gains on distribution are open to taxes, which again would mean less returns for a untiholder.

Good portfolio handling depends a lot on precise timing and correct estimations. By how much and when does a fund manager change his investment mix? The portfolio of a fund never remains the same for a long time. Is the fund manager's investment strategy one of buy and hold? Or is he a one who aggressively churns the fund? But most importantly, is he taking the right decision at the right time? Though as investors we don't always get to know when a manager is changing the scheme's portfolio, we can periodically keep track of the scheme's trading history.

Most schemes periodically announce their current portfolio though not all of them declare them as when the fund manager makes a change. As specified by the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) funds are supposed to declare their portfolio at least once every year.

The volatility of index funds are in sync with the index they follow. A bull market could get you as high as 40% returns over a period of one year. In a bad year (current year) it could erode your principal by as much as 30%.

Contrary to the commonplace thinking, mutual funds do carry risks. And there are some that can become as risky as stocks. Given the almost diverse objectives with which schemes operate, there are some with more risks and some relatively safer. Ask yourself if you are ready for a scheme whose investment value might fluctuate every week or one that gives a minimum amount of risk?

Or are you in for a short-term loss in order to achieve a long-term potential gain?

At this point it is good to ask oneself how will you take it if your investment fails to deliver the returns you expected or makes losses. Knowing this will reduce your chances (or even temptation) to select a fund that doesn’t come close to your objective. Evaluate a scheme by looking at how its NAV has behaved over the past. Do you see the scheme behaving rather erratically i.e., the NAV changes just too often?

More the volatility more are the risks involved. Great returns are not the only thing to look for in a scheme. If you feel while researching a scheme, which we will do later, that it’s returns are modest and steady and good enough for your needs, avoid other schemes that have recently delivered high returns. Because great returns in the past are no guarantee for the fabulous performance to continue in the future. Never forget one of the commonplace morals of investment: The schemes that are expected to give the highest returns have the greatest probability to fall flat!

It is surprising to find fund marketers come up with statistics to show how their particular fund has done extremely well. Following are some of the pitfalls that an investor needs to look into before arriving at a decision. Check the following details before arriving at any decision. Period of declared returns: Always look carefully at start and end dates - they can always be chosen in a way that shows the fund in a favorable light. A better approach would be to choose a reasonably longer period and compare the performance across the similar schemes of different players. Concept of out-performing: Sustained periods of low absolute performance are a cause for concern. It is okay to look at returns vis-à-vis market indices; but if a particular scheme produces absolute returns less than the cumulative returns for a fixed deposit of a bank, then the latter option is better when evaluated on the parameter of risk adjusted returns. This is because generally it is safer to invest in a fixed deposit of a bank than to invest in a debt fund. Promise of long term performance: Lack of performance is often explained away as temporary with promises of good performance in the long term. The long term is seldom defined whether it means 3yrs or 10 yrs. Also the longer the period, the longer is the uncertainty- in other words, the premium on returns an investor gets has to discounted against the risk of uncertainty of returns. A small premium in compounded returns over returns of risk free instruments like PPF wouldn't justify investment in a mutual fund. Rupee cost averaging: This term finds place in the literature of practically all mutual funds. What it basically implies is that a price risk at the entry level can be eliminated to some extent by buying units at various points of time. But this assumes that the NAV will rise eventually. If it does not, you are worse off than by not adopting this strategy. In the long run equities are better than other asset classes: Historically the equity class did give better returns than bonds, golds and other assets. But if the long term horizon is assumed to be 7 yrs, then in the Indian context, the equities have practically given near zero returns.

All funds are supposed to put up for public a rather technically worded document called the prospectus. This long not-too-exciting tome usually starts off with a statement declaring the purpose a fund follows for a particular scheme. Reading along, somewhere the prospectus will also tell you how to apply for the scheme and how to redeem units. Being a tome, it has voluminous information that can also confound you. The smart way then is to run through the prospectus and extract for yourself convincing answers to these six vital questions that all investors need to know before they buy a fund.

All mutual funds schemes have different objectives and therefore their performance would vary. But are there some standards for comparison?

Schemes are usually benchmarked against commonly followed market indexes. The relevant index can be chosen after taking into consideration the asset class of the scheme. For example BSE Sensex can be used a benchmark for an equity scheme and I-Bex for an income fund. But if you switch the benchmarks, conclusions could be misleading. Benchmarking also requires a relevant time period of comparison. Ideally, one should compare the performance of equity or an index fund over a 1-2 year horizon. Short-term volatile price movements would distort any comparison over a shorter period. Similarly, the ideal comparison period for a debt fund would be 6-12 months while that for a liquid/money market fund would be 1-3 months. So if a comparison reveals a scheme to be out performing its index, does it mean it is going to deliver super returns?

Not necessarily. In several cases it is noticed that the funds performance is volatile and driven by few scrips. In other words, the fund manager has taken significantly higher risks to achieve higher returns. That brings us back to the oft-repeated moral in the investment market: The funds that have the potential for the greatest returns also have the greatest potential for losses. From an investor's point of view, while looking at impressive returns in the past, he cannot derive confidence and comfort in the fund managers' ability to repeat the performance in future.

What are you looking for when investing in mutual funds?
What are your investment needs?
The more well defined these answers are the easier it is to find schemes best for you. So how do you assess your needs?

The answers obviously lie with you. But the questions investors ask to assess their needs are possibly the same. You might ask yourself: At my age what am I expecting out of investing?

To assess the needs investors look at their lifestyles, financial independence, family commitments, and level of income and expenses among other things. Questions can be many but to get cracking ask yourself these two: What are the returns you want on your investments?

Do you have well-defined time period for the returns you expect on your investment?

The father of an aspiring engineer who would have to shell out the boy's institute fees soon enough, could reply: I want a fixed monthly income of about Rs.5000 per month. To the second query he might say: Yes, for the next four years. When asked, the just-out-of-B-school graduate planning for his new Zen could reply: I should make about Rs. 60,000 by the end of one year. Believe us, but getting the right answers to these questions does a lot to simply your fund picking exercise. Having defined the needs that direct you to invest, one can find a category of funds that come close to satisfy your needs with their objectives.

It's a trick company ads often do. A tempting offer is always accompanied with the fine print tucked in a corner at the bottom of the ad. And sometimes reading the applied conditions in the fine print might squeeze all the attractiveness out of a great sounding offer. Buying a scheme also requires that you give a careful look at the fine print. Should it matter to you if the fund house purchases a new computer?

It does. In whatever way the fund spends the money, the net expenses are all billed in one way or the other to the unitholder.

We have broadly grouped schemes by the following categories: Equity schemes These are further divided into Diversified Equity schemes, Sectoral Equity schemes, Equity Linked Saving Schemes (ELSS) and Index schemes. Debt schemes These are further clubbed into Liquid or Money Market schemes, Gilt schemes, Income schemes and Monthly Income Plan schemes. Balanced schemes.

While looking for schemes we want ones that best fit our investment objective. So, now which are those schemes that suit our objectives best?

The obvious next step then is to look all fund schemes and make a match between their and our investment objectives, correct?

Hmmm, that’s not as simply done as it sounds. Unless you have all the time in the world, going through each of the 350 or so schemes in the market today and reading their investment objectives is a foolhardy job. What makes life easier is that based on their objectives schemes have been clubbed together in categories. These are broad market classifications and help investors narrow down their search for a scheme. After shortlisting schemes by their common objectives one can further look into each scheme for more specific differences in their objectives.

Let us get back to the basic questions that brought us here. We are here to invest with some objective of our own. And we are looking for schemes that best fit our investment objective. So, now which are those schemes that suit our objectives best?

The obvious next step then is to look all fund schemes and make a match between their and our investment objectives, correct?

Hmmm, that’s not as simply done as it sounds. Unless you have all the time in the world, going through each of the 350 or so schemes in the market today and reading their investment objectives is a foolhardy job. What makes life easier is that based on their objectives schemes have been clubbed together in categories. These are broad market classifications and help investors narrow down their search for a scheme. After shortlisting schemes by their common objectives one can further look into each scheme for more specific differences in their objectives.

Funds can change the load structure periodically. If you are a unitholder of a scheme that charges an exit load, and the scheme changes its exit load structure, then you will get a prior notice of the change. The new structure will be applicable to you rather than the load structure you were informed about when you joined the scheme.

Contingent Deferred Sales Load (CDSL) is a charge imposed when the units of a fund are redeemed during the first few years of ownership. Under the SEBI Regulations, a fund can charge CDSL to unitholders exiting from the scheme within the first four years of entry.

Just like entry load some funds impose a fee when you leave the scheme, i.e., redeem your units, called the exit load.

No fund can do away with its expenses. And all funds pass on the expenses to the unitholders.

The costs of the fund management process that includes marketing and initial costs are charged when you enter the scheme. These charges are termed the entry load, the additional charge you pay when you join a scheme and something everyone will tell you to watch out for. And if there is nothing to watch out for, i.e., the bold font in the new scheme's ad says `No entry load'. Will you jump for it?

Come on, investment was all about smartness. No fund can do away with these charges. What funds that come with such offers usually do is to include these charges not in the entry load but somewhere else. It could also be deducted from the returns that you get.

Great returns are not the only thing to look for in a scheme. If you feel while researching a scheme, which we will do later, that it’s returns are modest and steady and good enough for your needs, avoid other schemes that have recently delivered high returns. Because great returns in the past are no guarantee for the fabulous performance to continue in the future. Never forget one of the commonplace morals of investment: The schemes that are expected to give the highest returns have the greatest probability to fall flat!

Globally it is true that most fund managers underperform the asset class that they are investing in. This is largely the result of limitations inherent in the concept of mutual funds: Fund management costs: The costs of the fund management process that includes marketing and initial costs are charged at the time of entry itself in the form of load. Then there are the annual asset management fee and operating expenses. The performance of a scheme net of these expenses lead to a relatively lower performance vis-à-vis the index stocks. Churning cost: The portfolio of a fund is never static. The extent to which the portfolio changes is a function of the style of the individual fund manager i.e. whether he is a buy and hold type of manager or one who aggressively churns the fund. Such portfolio changes have associated costs of brokerage, custody fees, registration fees etc. which lowers the portfolio return commensurately. Large size: When a large body like a mutual fund transacts in securities, the concentrated buying or selling results in adverse price movements. This causes the fund to transact at relatively higher entry or lower exit prices. Time lag for investment: Most mutual funds receive money when markets are in a bull run and investors are willing to try out mutual funds. Since it is difficult to invest all funds in one day, there is some money waiting to be invested. Further, there may be a time lag before investment opportunities are identified. This causes the fund to realize lesser returns vis-à-vis the index stocks. Also for open-ended funds, there is the added problem of perpetually keeping some money in liquid assets to meet redemptions. Change in composition of index stocks: The composition of the indices has to change to reflect changing market conditions. The BSE Sensex stock composition has been revamped twice in the last 5 years, with each change being quite substantial. Another reason for change of index composition could be Mergers & Acquisitions. Herd mentality: Apparently, the only way a fund can beat the index is through investment of some part of its portfolio in some shares where it gets excellent returns, much more than the index. This will pull up the overall average return for the scheme. In order to obtain such exceptional returns, the fund manager might have to take a strong view and invest in some uncommon stocks. Unfortunately, if the fund manager does the same thing as several others, chances are that he will produce average results. The tendency of the fund managers to buy the popular stocks, which are favourites among their peers, leads only to average performance as the index.

It is well possible that just by picking more than one scheme from one fund house you can achieve enough diversification. In fact many investors who have tried out a fund house for long and developed a trust with the fund, prefer to pick another scheme from the fund's basket for their new investment needs. But convenience sometimes leads to venerable prejudices that might deprive you of trying something new and better. There could be a better-managed scheme in a different fund house that you are missing out on if you decide to stick to your old fund house for convenience sake.

Money is dear money. You wouldn't put your dear money into any investment without fully convincing yourself. With a comparison with other schemes you can convince yourself whether the scheme you have chosen is best for you. Of course, while shortlisting schemes through the advanced search you have already performed a comparison for some of the criteria on which mutual funds are judged. Time you enriched the comparison. For example, in debt funds, it is useful to compare the extent to which the growth in NAV comes from interest income and from changes in valuation of illiquid assets like bonds and debentures. This is important because as of today there is no standard method for evaluation of untraded securities. The valuation model used by the fund might have resulted in an appreciation of NAV. The expenses ratio can be compared across similar schemes to find out whether the fund is prudently managing its expenses. The size of the fund plays an important role here and a smaller fund generally has higher expenses per net assets managed. The NAV, returns and performance are important criteria that establish the merit of a fund but the only differentiating factors. It is prudent to also compare the risk-adjusted returns and the corpus size of the fund. The risk-adjusted return will help in evaluating what returns one can theoretically expect in the worst of condition. The risk is measured through volatility of the returns which is nothing but the standard deviation from the average returns. What are those factors that make schemes risky?

And to what proportion is each scheme exposed to each of these factors?

Identifying these factors or in other words, establishing the risk profile and then comparing it across schemes helps in creating, though theoretically, a relative scale of safety among the schemes compared. For debt funds, one of the factors could be the periodic changes in the interest rate environment, which affects credit quality of the portfolio and brings about fluctuations in the NAV. For equity funds, it could mean the volatility of the NAV with the ups and downs in the market or the percentage exposure to smaller companies.

Having shortlisted schemes the next step is to look at each of them in greater detail and also make a qualitative evaluation. One place to look at is the offer document of the scheme. The offer document of the scheme tells you its objectives and provides supplementary details like the track record of other schemes managed by the same fund manager. Some other factors could be the portfolio allocation, the dividend yield and the degree of transparency as reflected in the frequency and quality of their communications. Does the scheme provide prompt and personalised service or does the scheme maintain transparency?

All this can be looked at from the frequency and quality of the communication from the fund house.

One good reason for looking at the past performance (prospectus presents this in a chart) is to find out how consistently has a fund delivered good returns, or even poor returns.

One way of looking at the past performance (the fund prospectus presents this in a chart) is to find out how consistently the fund has delivered good returns, or even poor returns.

Look out for that important number mentioned somewhere in one of the tables called the expense ratio.

Prospectus are supposed to elucidate the risks in their investments but convince yourself what risks are inherent in the investment style the fund promises to follow.

Compared to the objective a strategy is a more concrete statement of the money making purpose of the fund. While a fund will tell you very clearly what the fund intends to invest in, check what it says about where it will not invest in.

Note that most investment objective are vague and visionary statements. So it's good to also check how is the strategy of the fund defined.

Not necessarily. In several cases it is noticed that the funds performance is volatile and driven by few scrips. In other words, the fund manager has taken significantly higher risks to achieve higher returns. That brings us back to the oft-repeated moral in the investment market: The funds that have the potential for the greatest returns also have the greatest potential for losses. From an investor's point of view, while looking at impressive returns in the past, he cannot derive confidence and comfort in the fund managers' ability to repeat the performance in future.

Asset size also matter in case of small funds when they suddenly become big. For example, the excellent handling by the fund manager of a small fund may suddenly become popular and draw a lot new unitholders. The sudden flush of funds could lead to a change in the manager’s investment style that might record a drop in performance.

Investing and managing the collected money is a difficult task. The fund company delegates this to a company of professional investors, usually experts who are known for smart stock picks. This company is the Asset Management Company (AMC) and the fund company usually delegates the job of investment management for a fee.

Popularity has a flip-side which works against the funds many times. Consider this: If under some circumstances, a large number of untiholders decide to sell i.e. redeem, their units all at the same time, the fund will have to, at a short notice, generate enough cash to pay up the unitholders. The fund manager then faces what is called redemption pressure. He would have to sell off a significant portion of the scheme’s investments. If the markets are down the sell off could be at a throwaway price. Naturally then, more the investors in a scheme more the chance of a sudden redemption pressure.

A mutual fund is a trust that pools the money of several investors and manages investments on their behalf. Legally it is like any other company you know of. Hence, the fund is also called a mutual fund company. The fund company takes your money and like you from other new investors. This is added to the money that's already invested with the fund.

Some investors see asset size as an indicator of popularity. A scheme with large assets could be subscribed to by large number of unitholders.

Asset, of course, is the investments of a mutual fund. And value is the market value of investments. What exactly is market value?

Let’s say a fund has invested its money in stocks. Then, the price of those stocks on the stock market multiplied by the number of stocks owned gives you the value of all the investments made by that mutual fund. This value can change either when the market valuation changes or if people are joining or leaving the scheme.

When you buy into a scheme of a mutual fund you are holding units of the scheme. Buying units is like owning shares of a scheme.

A fund collects money from investors through various schemes. Each scheme is differentiated by its objective of investment or in other words, a broadly defined purpose of how the collected money is going to be invested. Based on these broad purposes schemes are classified into a dozen or so categories about which more later.

The costs of the fund management process that includes marketing and initial costs are charged when you enter the scheme. These charges are termed the entry load, the additional charge you pay when you join a scheme.

Investors comfortable with numerical recipes do a technical check of what the returns of a scheme would be in the worst case. They check is done with the Sharpe ratio. The higher the Sharpe ratio, the better the fund's historical risk-adjusted performance.

While we are on the topic of what returns to expect, someone might as well wish for a fund that assures returns. Some of the mutual funds have floated "assured" return schemes that guarantee a certain annual return or guarantee a buyback at a specified price after a specified period. Examples of these include funds floated by the UTI, SBI Mutual Fund, etc. Many of these funds have not earned returns that they promised and the asset management companies of the respective mutual funds or their sponsors have made good their promises. Nowadays, there are very few funds that come out with such schemes as the funds have realized it is not viable to assure returns in a volatile market.

Schemes with smaller assets to manage and particularly those that are not part of a large fund house will generally have higher expenses relative to schemes with larger assets. Fresh schemes generally take some time to overcome their expense burden.

Badly managed funds that have schemes with consistently higher expenses compared to funds of the same category with lower expenses, find it tough to curb their expenses.

By examining past performance you can get an almost certain idea of what the expenses for a scheme could be in the future. That's because the expenses don't depend on a scheme performance. It's dependent on the deftness of the fund manager.

Any day, lower the expenses the better it is. Smart and well-managed funds keep their expenses low. Smarter funds know exactly how to make their offerings attractive by smartly tucking away expenses either in entry load or exit load or by cutting on returns. And smart investors always get to beat the funds by figuring out where all the expenses are included. Right?

Needless to say, loads if any are only applicable to open schemes. And not close-ended schemes because for such schemes units can be bought from the fund only at the time of launch.

Now don't get too hassled about loads. Best thing to do when a scheme imposes a new load, is not to invest more money if the load charged is unreasonable.

If you are a unitholder of a scheme that charges an exit load, and the scheme changes its exit load structure, then you will get a prior notice of the change. The new structure will be applicable to you rather than the load structure you were informed about when you joined the scheme.

If you already hold a scheme NAV tells you on any day, the realizable value of each unit of the scheme. What that means is that it is the money you will get for each unit of the scheme, if the scheme is liquidated on that date or you want to exit the scheme. If you are planning to buy a scheme In other words, NAV is the value per share. It lets you know how much your investment is worth at a particular time. It is the most important measure of the performance of a mutual fund. Let’s say you have invested in a scheme at Rs 10 a unit and now its NAV is Rs 12. Quite simply, that means your investment has appreciated by 20%.

Buying a scheme is like buying potatoes with a limited budget. With Rs.400 you can either buy 10 kg of the Rs.40 per kg-variety or 20 kg of the Rs.20 per kg-variety. NAV tells you how much it will cost you to buy one unit of a scheme on any given day. So if you have Rs.50,000 in your pocket you can buy 1000 units of a scheme that is offering units at an NAV of 50 or you might buy 500 units of a pricier scheme with an NAV of Rs.100. Hold it. You may have to pay more than what the scheme’s NAV tells you. That is because of the charges levied by some mutual funds. Though NAV is a good enough figure to tell you what the price of each unit is, it is not an exact one. Funds charge fee for managing your money called the annual expense fee. Some funds also charge a fee when you buy or sell units called the entry and exit load.

The frequency with which a portfolio is churned is indicated by the turnover ratio, which is expressed as a percentage. A fund with a 100% turnover generally changes the composition of its entire portfolio each year. Low turnover of about 20-30% shows a fund following a cautious strategy i.e., buying stocks and holding them. Turnover in excess of 100% shows a fund into active trading i.e., one that sells and buys stocks very often. Hold it. Technically speaking, a turnover ratio is a ratio comparing the rupee value of fund purchases or sales to the rupee value of total fund assets during the year. Hence, a 100% turnover ratio could also indicate that only a portion of the entire portfolio has been traded intensely over the last year.

It’s all about the recipe. Just like successful cooking, a fund’s ability to fulfil the moneymaking objective of a scheme is determined by its recipe. The recipe for a scheme is its portfolio, which is mix of the investments the fund intends to make for the scheme. The fund invests its assets by buying a mix of various securities like stocks or bonds. Depending on the scheme’s objective, the fund manager fixes the investment recipe or the portfolio. The portfolio, on any day, consists of the various securities the fund has invested in. By purchasing into a scheme you become a part owner of that portfolio.

It is not necessary that schemes with huge assets, say above Rs.200 crores, may give better returns than smaller schemes, say of assets levels below Rs.75 crores. A scheme, due to a huge corpus, has more options than a smaller scheme to make diversified investments. However, smaller schemes due to their small corpus of funds are more nimble in shifting money from one investment to another and making focussed investments. For funds that actively manage stocks a huge corpus might matter sometimes because of the frequent illiquid state of the Indian stock markets. The bigger in size these funds become the more difficult it becomes to trade stocks. The fund may lose some flexibility when assets reach a certain size because of trading and stock selection difficulties. Size can also be a detriment to funds specializing in small stocks. These stocks have less trading volume, and it can be difficult to trade larger positions without affecting prices.

Always look carefully at start and end dates - they can always be chosen in a way that shows the fund in a favorable light. A better approach would be to choose a reasonably longer period and compare the performance across the similar schemes of different players.

Index funds are schemes that try to invest in those equity shares which make up a particular index. For example, an Index fund which is trying to mirror the BSE-30 (Sensex) will invest in only those 30 scrips that constitute this particular index. Investment in these scrips is also made in proportion to each stocks weight in the index.

Equity Linked Saving Schemes (ELSS) offer tax rebates to the investor under section 88 of the Income Tax law. These schemes generally diversify the equity risk by investing in a wider array of stocks across sectors. ELSS is usually considered a variant of diversified equity scheme but with a tax friendly offer. Typically returns for such schemes have been found to be between 15-20%.

No. That’s because diversified schemes invest in equity shares of companies from a diverse array of industries and balances and prevent any adverse impact on returns due to a downturn in one or two sectors. Sectoral funds tend to have a very high risk-reward ratio and investors should be careful of putting all their eggs in one basket. Investors generally see such schemes to benefit them in the short term, usually one year.

Those investors looking for benefits in the short term, usually one year. That’s because such schemes tend to have a very high risk-reward ratio and investors should be careful of putting all their eggs in one basket. Returns could be as high as 50% in a good year provided the investor chooses the right sector.

These are schemes whose objective is to invest only in the equity of those companies existing in a specific sector, as laid down in the fund’s offer document. For example, an FMCG sectoral fund shall invest in companies like HLL, Cadbury’s, Nestle etc., and not in a software company like Infosys. Currently there exist approximately four broad classification of basic sectors namely – technology, media & telecom (TMT), fast moving consumer goods (FMCG), basic industry (that invest in core industries like petrochemicals, cement, steel, etc.) and pharmaceuticals.

A market index is very important because one, it acts as a barometer for market behaviour, and two, it helps in benchmarking portfolio performance. For a particular category of mutual funds called the index funds, these indexes are used for passive fund management i.e. all a fund manager has to do to manage his portfolio is blindly follow the composition of the index. The role of a good index is to reflect the state of the overall market at every moment and indicate how the stock market perceives the Indian corporate sector to fare.

A mutual fund may not be able to meet the investment objectives of all unit holders through just one portfolio. Some unit holders may want to invest in risk-bearing securities such as equity, while others may want to invest in safer securities like bonds or government securities. Moreover, there are so many varying risks associated with different securities that it is often impossible for one individual to manage them. Therefore, a mutual fund tries to create different classes of risk portfolios by formulating different investment schemes. Each investment scheme specifies the kind of investments the scheme will make out of the monies collected.

The drawbacks with mutual funds are that you have no control on the investments of the fund; and, more importantly, the downside of diversification is that a fund can hold so many stocks that a tremendously great performance by a stock will make very little difference to a fund's overall performance.

Mutual funds have many benefits. They offer an easy and inexpensive way for an individual to get returns from stocks and bonds without: incurring the risks involved in buying them directly; needing the capital to buy quality stocks; or having the expert knowledge to make the right buy/sell decisions.


IPO

An initial public offering, or IPO, is the first sale of stock by a company to the public. A company can raise money by issuing either debt or equity. If the company has never issued equity to the public, it's known as an IPO. Companies fall into two broad categories, private and public.

A privately held company has fewer shareholders and its owners don't have to disclose much information about the company. Anybody can go out and incorporate a company, just put in some money, files the right legal documents and follows the reporting rules of your jurisdiction. Most small businesses are privately held. But large companies can be private too. It usually isn't possible to buy shares in a private company. You can approach the owners about investing, but they're not obligated to sell you anything. Public companies, on the other hand, have sold at least a portion of themselves to the public and trade on a stock exchange. This is why doing an IPO is also referred to as "going public."

Public companies have thousands of shareholders and are subject to strict rules and regulations. They must have a board of directors and they must report financial information every quarter. From an investor's standpoint, the most exciting thing about a public company is that the stock is traded in the open market, like any other commodity. If you have the cash, you can invest.

Going public raises cash, and usually a lot of it. Being publicly traded also opens many financial doors:

  • Because of the increased scrutiny, public companies can usually get better rates when they issue debt.
  • As long as there is market demand, a public company can always issue more stock. Thus, mergers and acquisitions are easier to do because stock can be issued as part of the deal.
  • Trading in the open markets means liquidity. This makes it possible to implement things like employee stock ownership plans, which help to attract top talent.
Being on a major stock exchange carries a considerable amount of prestige. In the past, only private companies with strong fundamentals could qualify for an IPO and it wasn't easy to get listed.

Getting a piece of a hot IPO is very difficult, if not impossible. To understand why, we need to know how an IPO is done, a process known as underwriting.

When a company wants to go public, the first thing it does is hire an investment bank. A company could theoretically sell its shares on its own, but realistically, an investment bank is required. Underwriting is the process of raising money by either debt or equity (in this case we are referring to equity). You can think of underwriters as middlemen between companies and the investing public. The company and the investment bank will first meet to negotiate the deal. Items usually discussed include the amount of money a company will raise, the type of securities to be issued and all the details in the underwriting agreement.

The deal can be structured in a variety of ways. For example, in a firm commitment, the underwriter guarantees that a certain amount will be raised by buying the entire offer and then reselling to the public. In a best efforts agreement, however, the underwriter sells securities for the company but doesn't guarantee the amount raised. Also, investment banks are hesitant to shoulder all the risk of an offering. Instead, they form a syndicate of underwriters. One underwriter leads the syndicate and the others sell a part of the issue.

Once all sides agree to a deal, the investment bank puts together a registration statement to be filed with the SEBI. This document contains information about the offering as well as company info such as financial statements, management background, any legal problems, where the money is to be used and insider holdings. Once SEBI approves the offering, a date (the effective date) is set when the stock will be offered to the public.

During the cooling off period the underwriter puts together what is known as the red herring. This is an initial prospectus containing all the information about the company except for the offer price and the effective date, which aren't known at that time. With the red herring in hand, the underwriter and company attempt to hype and build up interest for the issue.

As the effective date approaches, the underwriter and company sit down and decide on the price. This isn't an easy decision it depends on the company and most importantly current market conditions. Of course, it's in both parties' interest to get as much as possible.

Finally, the securities are sold on the stock market and the money is collected from investors.

Let's say you do get in on an IPO. Here are a few things to look out for.

No History
It's hard enough to analyze the stock of an established company. An IPO company is even trickier to analyze since there won't be a lot of historical information. Your main source of data is the red herring, so make sure you examine this document carefully. Look for the usual information, but also pay special attention to the management team and how they plan to use the funds generated from the IPO.

And what about the underwriters? Successful IPOs are typically supported by bigger brokerages that have the ability to promote a new issue well. Be more wary of smaller investment banks because they may be willing to underwrite any company.

The Lock-Up Period
If you look at the charts following many IPOs, you'll notice that after a few months the stock takes a steep downturn. This is often because of the lock-up period.

When a company goes public, the underwriters make promoters and employees in case ESOP to sign a lock-up agreement. Lock-up agreements are legally binding contracts between the underwriters and insiders of the company, prohibiting them from selling any shares of stock for a specified period of time. The problem is, when lockups expire all the insiders are permitted to sell their stock. The result is a rush of people trying to sell their stock to realize their profit. This excess supply can put severe downward pressure on the stock price.

Let's review the basics of an IPO:

  • An initial public offering (IPO) is the first sale of stock by a company to the public.
  • Broadly speaking, companies are either private or public. Going public means a company is switching from private ownership to public ownership.
  • Going public raises cash and provides many benefits for a company
  • Getting in on a hot IPO is very difficult, if not impossible.
  • The process of underwriting involves raising money from investors by issuing new securities.
  • Companies hire investment banks to underwrite an IPO.
  • An IPO company is difficult to analyze because there isn't a lot of historical info.
  • Lock-up periods prevent insiders from selling their shares for a certain period of time. The end of the lockup period can put strong downward pressure on a stock.
  • Flipping may get you blacklisted from future offerings.
  • Road shows and red herrings are marketing events meant to get as much attention as possible. Don't get sucked in by the hype.

SEBI Guidelines defines Book Building as a process undertaken by which a demand for the securities proposed to be issued by a corporate body is elicited and built up and the price for such securities is assessed for the determination of the quantum of such securities to be issued by means of a notice, circular, advertisement, document or information memoranda or offer document.

Price at which securities will be allotted is not known in case of offer of shares through book building while in case of offer of shares through normal public issue, price is known in advance to investor. In case of Book Building, the demand can be known everyday as the book is built. But in case of the public issue the demand is known at the close of the issue.

Yes, it is mandatory to have PAN to apply for an IPO. Investors must ensure that they cross-check the PAN after filling the form as any error in the same can lead to a cancellation of the application.

Floor price is the minimum price at which bids can be made.

The member has to submit a one-time undertaking in prescribed format to the membership department. Members have to make the request in prescribed format giving details of the user ids along with the VSAT numbers.

Clause 8.8.1specifies that the subscription list for public issues has to be kept open for at least three working days. Also, it cannot exceed ten working days. In case of a book building issue, the IPO remains open for three to seven days. This can be extended by three days if the price band is revised.

When a company launches an IPO, it specifies the minimum number of shares that an investor can apply for. This is known as the IPO bid lot or market lot size or minimum order quantity. For example, if a company specifies the minimum order quantity as 100 shares and the investor wants to purchase more than 100, then the application can be made in multiples of 100 only. Hence, the investor can apply for 100 shares, 200 shares, 300 shares, and so on.

The Registrar of an IPO publishes a document to stock exchanges and investors providing information about the final price of the IPO, demand or bidding information, and the share allocation ratio. This document is called the Basis of Allotment or Basis of Allocation. It is important to remember that this document is categorized based on the categories of investors and the number of shares applied for. Investors can get a detailed view of the IPO including information regarding the total number of valid applications received and allocation details.

An important element of this document is the ratio of allotment that can tell an investor if the IPO has been oversubscribed and by how many times. This is important because investors can assess the number of applicants that will receive allotment from the total number of applicants. For example, if the ratio of allotment is 1:5, then one out of every five applicants will receive one lot of shares. Also, if the value of this ratio is FIRM, then all applicants definitely receive some shares.

SEBI has classified investors into three broad categories – RIIs, NIIs, and QIBs. It has also mandated companies to reserve a fixed percentage of the IPO to each category as shown below:

RII – Retail Individual Investor – 35% of the IPO
NII – Non-Institutional Investor – 15% of the IPO
QIB – Qualified Institutional Bidder – 50% of the IPO

This was done to ensure that all categories of investors get an opportunity to participate in the IPO of a company. Based on their study, SEBI decided to cap the investment amount at Rs.2 lakh for an investor to qualify as a retail investor. The benefit of applying as a retail investor is that SEBI governs the allotment methodology in this category and ensures that a maximum number of retail investors receive the allotment. On the other hand, in the case of NIIs, the allotment is proportionate and for QIBs it is discretionary. To ensure that the shares reach the masses, the amount was capped at Rs.2 lakh.

A trading account is required to buy/sell securities in the secondary market. An IPO is launched in the primary market. Hence, it is not mandatory to have a trading account to apply for an IPO through the ASBA facility of your bank. However, you will need a Demat account to receive a credit of the allotted shares.


NRI

Non-Resident Indian (NRI) means a “person resident outside India” who is a citizen of India or is a person of Indian origin"[as per FEMA regulations]

For the purposes of investments in shares/securities in India, person of Indian origin means a citizen of any country other than Pakistan or Bangladesh, if:

  1. he at any time, held an Indian passport; or
  2. he or either of his parents for any of his grand parents was a citizen of India by virtue of the constitution of India or Citizenship Act, 1955 (57 of 1995); or
  3. the person is a spouse of an Indian citizen or a person referred to in clause (a) or (b)

Under OCI Scheme operational from 02nd Dec 2005 government of India decided to grant overseas citizenship of India (OCI) commonly known as "dual citizenship". A foreign national, who was eligible to become a citizen of India on 26.01.1950 or was a citizen of India on or at anytime after 26.01.1950 or belonged to a territory that became part of India after 15.08.1947 and his/her children and grand children, provided his/her country of citizenship allows dual citizenship in some form or other under the local laws, is eligible for registration as an Overseas Citizen of India (OCI). Minor children of such person are also eligible for OCI. However, if the applicant had ever been a citizen of Pakistan or Bangladesh, he/she will not be eligible for OCI.

Yes, NRI can purchase shares or convertible debenture of an Indian Company through stock exchanges, under the portfolio investment scheme on repatriation and /or non repatriation basis.

Yes, NRI/PIO can invest in other securities namely

  • Dated Government securities (other than bearer securities) or treasury bills.
  • Units of domestic mutual funds.
  • Bonds issued by a public sector undertaking (PSU) in India.
  • Shares in Public Sector Enterprises being disinvested by the Government of India.

As per Reserve Bank of India (RBI) guidelines, NRI who wishes to invest in shares in India through a stock exchange need to approach the designated branch of any authorized dealer (bank) authorized by reserve bank to administer the PIS (Portfolio Investment Scheme) to open a NRE (Non Resident External) /NRO (Non Resident Ordinary) account under the scheme for routing Investments.

Yes, PIOs and OCIs do have a parity with NRIs in respect of all facilities available to the NRIs in the economic, financial and educational fields except in matters relating to the acquisition of agricultural/ plantation properties.

‘Overseas Corporate Body’ means a company, partnership firm, society and other corporate body owned directly or indirectly to the extent of at least sixty percent by Non-Resident Indians and includes overseas trust in which not less than sixty percent beneficial interest is held by NonResident Indians directly or indirectly but irrevocably.

OCBs have been prohibited from making investments under Portfolio Investment Scheme. OCBs have been de-recognized as a class of investor entity w.e.f. September, 16, 2003. Further, the OCBs which have already made investments under the PIS are allowed to continue holding such shares /convertible debentures till such time these are sold on the stock exchange.

List of documents to be taken while registering NRI/PIO/OCI Clients as may be applicable:

  • Document ensuring status of entity
    • In case of Indian passport - Valid passport, Place of birth as India, Valid Visa – Work/Student/employment/resident permit etc.
    • In case of foreign passport : Valid passport and any of the: a) Place of Birth as India in foreign passport b) Copy of PIO / OCI Card as applicable in case of PIO/OCI
  • PIS Permission Letter from the respective designated bank
  • PAN Card
  • Overseas Address - Driving License/ Foreign passport /Utility Bills/ Bank statement (not more than 2 months old)/ Notarized copy of rent agreement/ leave & license agreement/ Sale deed
  • Photograph of Investor
  • Proof of respective bank accounts & depository accounts

At the time of client registration, client needs to provide its foreign address along with documentary proof of the same. If client so desire it can keep its local address as correspondence address. In such scenario additionally they are required to provide documentary evidence in support of local address also.

Yes, clients can have two separate trading accounts based on NRE & NRO.

Trading member need to ensure that

  • Securities are not in RBI ban list before executing the order.
  • Clear funds are available for purchases.
  • Securities are available before executing any sell order.
  • Depending upon whether the purchases are made on repatriation / non-repatriation basis pay-out of the securities needs to be transferred to respective demat account.
  • Purchase/Sale transactions in cash segment should be settled by delivery only.

No, NRI Investor has to take delivery of shares purchased and give delivery of shares sold. Short Selling is not permitted.

Yes, NRIs are allowed to invest in futures & options segment of the exchange out of Rupee funds held in India on non repatriation basis, subject to the limits prescribed by SEBI.

No, Only “a person resident in India” as defined in section 2(v) of FEMA Act 1999 are allowed to participate in currency derivative segment of the Exchange.

An NRI, who wishes to trade on the F&O segment of the exchange, is required to approach the exchange through a clearing member, through whom the NRI would like to clear his trades for allotment of custodial participant (CP) code. Clearing corporation would assign a CP code to each NRI, based on the application received from the clearing member of the NRI. Trading members should ensure that at the time of order entry CP Code of the NRI is placed in the CP Code field of the trading system. The NRI client shall have only one clearing member at any given point of time.