How To Empower Yourself And Generate Income From Mutual Funds
By Femi Adeoya
A mutual fund is an investment vehicle that pools money from various investors and shareholders, may be individuals or organization and in turn trades and invests the money in diversified securities and holdings such as stocks, shares, treasury bills, bonds, and short-term debt. The combined holdings of the mutual fund are known as its portfolio. Investors or shareholders buy shares in mutual funds. One good thing about this fund is that it’s professionally managed by a financial organization made up of technical experts in investment analysis.
Mutual Funds are usually managed by an Asset Management Company (AMC) called the Mutual Funds Manager. When you purchase units of a Mutual Fund, these units denote the holdings of your share in a certain fund scheme.
Mutual funds is very good for you if you are the type that have no time or do not know much about the business of buying and selling securities and making money from your investment. By investing in mutual funds, you have an opportunity of investing in a portfolio of heterogeneous or diversified instruments rather than having all your entire money in just one basket. For example, if you invest N50,000 in a single mutual fund, this can represent an investment in bonds, stocks, treasury bills, shares and others. The profit derived from the diversified pool of investments are shared to investors in the funds either monthly, quarterly, semi annually or annualy or as stipulated in the fund bronchure.
Investments in mutual funds helps to create wealth for individuals, expand business operations and provide needed working capital for SMEs.
Besides making liquidity available in the system, mutual funds offer a range of benefits to investors, including portfolio diversification and lower transaction costs, while increasing returns. This is made possible from the economies of scale derived in the basket pool of investments.
Who Operates A Mutual Fund?
Mutual Funds are usually operated by professional fund managers in investment organizations. These managers are people who are savvy with the money and capital market. Mutual Fund, like in Nigeria can be operated by the investment arm of banks, stock brokerage firms, investment banks etc. They determine which investment decisions to make rather than you giving them instruction on what shares they should buy for you or which one you intend to sell. The shares you buy with the Mutual Fund is that of the fund and not that of the companies quoted on the stock exchange or indeed any quoted investments.
What Are Its Investment Portfolio?
Mutual Funds mainly invest in broad and diversified pool of investments in both money and capital markets. Example of money market instruments are treasury bills, Certificate of Deposits, Commercial Paper etc., while the capital market instruments include bonds, stocks or shares. So, a Mutual Fund can also use your money to invest in stocks and bonds. For example, when they invest in shares they hope that the value will appreciate thus increase the value of their fund or making them a nice profit when they sell the shares. But most mutual funds usually outline the type of investments they hope to invest your money in. This can be found in their prospectus.
What Are The Categories Of Funds Which Mutual Funds Invest In?
There are mainly three categories of funds on which they typically invest. These are Fixed Income Funds , Equity Funds and Mixed Income Funds
Fixed Income Funds are funds that are meant mostly to invest in fixed income securities. Fixed Income Securities are investments that pay a fixed return on an investment. For example, treasury bills offered are issued at a coupon (rate) of say 10 per cent pr annum. This means that they pay an interest of 10 per cent on any amount invested. Mutual Funds that are fixed income related look out for safe investments that can guarantee a good income stream. They mostly suited for investors with a long term view towards returns.
Equity Funds are Mutual Funds that invest mostly in stocks and shares of quoted companies. Some funds can also use fund assets to subscribe shares for private placements. Equity Funds offer high returns but are associated with high risk.The third one is Mixed Income Funds.
Mixed Income funds are a hybrid of Equity Funds and Fixed Income Funds. Because of their diversified nature, they often offer low risk for investors. Low risk, as usual, is associated with low returns.
Is Mutual Funds Different From Companies That Trade In Stocks?
The difference between a stockbroking firm and mutual fund operators is that while the stock brokerage firm seeks your approval before buying and selling stocks on your behalf, mutual fund operators don’t need your approval. They use their technical knowledge and discretion to determine which investment will yeild the most returns per time.
How Much Can You Invest In Mutual Fund?
Mutual Funds typically have an investment band depending on the nature of the fund. Some can be as low as a minimum of N5,000, while some can be N100,000 and others N1million.
Is Mutual Funds Profitable?
Like a every other business Mutual Funds are also exposed to the same risk and rewards that can determine whether they make or lose money. But since no business originally sets out to lose money, they will often tell you that they are profitable. However, you can know how profitable a mutual fund is or can be if the fund owners already have a history. Most of the managers already have experience in running funds and so must have track records of their performance in the past. It is also important that you look at what type of returns they intend to offer to their investors.
What Kind Of Returns Can I Expect?
This depends on your risk appetite. For example, if you have N100, 000 and think you can invest it in any business of your choice and get a profit of N20 per cent, then investing in a mutual fund that promises 14 per cent returns may not be a good idea for you. The return a mutual fund promises you should also be compared to returns one can get on risk free investments such as treasury bills etc. For example, if a Mutual Fund promises a minimum return of 12 per cent per annum and the Federal Government pays interest of 14 per cent on Treasury Bills, then investing in the mutual funds may just be a better idea. In general mutual funds will typically offer minimum returns that are benchmarked above inflation rates. So their actual return may exceed the benchmarked rates.
What Are The Advantages Of Investing In Mutual Funds?
According to Nairabarter, “One of the main advantages of Mutual Funds is they give small investors access to professionally managed, diversified portfolios of equities, bonds, and other securities. Each shareholder, therefore, participates proportionally in the gain or loss of the fund. This is because the fund managers keep a record of the performance and growth of these funds and make required alterations so that the funds perform well and the investors receive the best possible returns.
What Are Recommended Performing Mutual Funds In Nigeria That I Can Approach To Invest In?
Nairabarter advises that before you choose a mutual fund to invest in, it is important to spend a little time learning about the major mutual funds available in the market and how those funds have performed over time. The following are leading mutual funds for consideration for starters. In consequent write ups, we will deal more specifically with each Mutual Fund Managers.
1. FBN Money Market Fund
2. Stanbic IBTC Nigerian Equity Fund
3. United Capital Balanced Fund
4. Zenith Equity Funds
5. ARM Aggressive Growth Fund
With additional notes from Nairabarter, Nairaland, Sun Newspaper and Topwritersden.
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