HSBC plans to launch another Fund of Funds scheme investing in foreign equities— another global fund with no track record
HSBC Mutual Fund plans to launch an open-ended Fund of Funds (FOF) scheme—HSBC China Consumer Opportunities Fund. The scheme would invest 95%-100% in its overseas fund—HSBC Global Investment Funds (HGIF) China Consumer Opportunities Fund. The rest would be invested in money market instruments and units of domestic mutual funds. The investment objective of the underlying fund is to invest for long-term total return in a diversified portfolio of investments in equity and equity equivalent securities of mid to large cap companies around the world, positioned to benefit from the growing middle class and changing consumer behaviour in China. The rationale behind the fund is that the growing population of middle class, gifting culture and liberalisation of tourism are upholding demand for international and local consumer goods. The fund does not have any track record as it has just been launched in September 2011. As on December 2011, the fund had invested in companies of 10 different countries. Around 51.2% of the investments are in stocks of United States, France and Switzerland; just 17% is invested in companies located in Hong Kong and China. Some of the companies in the top ten holdings include: Adidas, Louis Vuitton, Swatch, L’Oreal and Henkel.
This is the third FOF launched by HSBC which invests in its overseas fund. The other two funds are—HSBC Brazil Fund and HSBC Emerging Market Fund. (Read about what we said here: Avoid HSBC Brazil Fund new fund offer , Faith Investing ) There have been many such funds launched in the past by fund companies, inviting Indian investors to park money in their overseas fund. Apparently, most of these overseas funds do not have a long and proven track record of good performance. Moneylife has constantly been writing about such funds in the past years. These funds are pure fads.
We have had similar funds like the recent Mirae Asset India-China Consumption fund, which invests as much as 35% in companies from China and the rest in Indian equities and debt instruments. There are also FOF schemes like JPMorgan JF Greater China Equity Offshore Fund and Mirae Asset China Advantage Fund which invest in funds that primarily invest in companies domiciled in China. Here again, there is no long-term performance available for these funds. In the last two years these funds have returned around 2% whereas the Sensex was down by 2%, but in the last one year the returns have more or less tracked the Sensex.
Even if investing in such a fund tends to diversify one’s portfolio, how much should one plan to allocate to these funds? One needs to study the investment strategy and analyse the portfolio of the foreign fund. It’s clear these funds are not meant for individuals who do not even have a significant portion of his investments in Indian equity funds.
Several new equity funds are being launched. Would it be a safe and smart choice to invest in them?
Union KBC Mutual Fund is launching an open-ended equity scheme—Union KBC Small and Mid Cap Fund. As the name suggests, the Fund would invest 75% to 100% of its assets in small- and mid-sized companies. LIC Nomura Mutual Fund plans to launch a Midcap Fund, which would invest in equities of...
Out of the 134 equity diversified schemes that are aged five or more years, around 16 of them have grossly underperformed the benchmark over all the periods mentioned
Moneylife has conducted a study to analyse which equity diversified mutual funds have constantly underperformed their benchmark over one year, two years, five years and since inception. Five years is a reasonable time for funds to prove their performance. However, out of the 134 equity diversified schemes that are aged five or more years, around 16 of them have grossly underperformed the benchmark over all the periods mentioned.
In various articles in the past and in our financial literacy seminars held by Moneylife Foundation, we have consistently pointed out that one should not go by the names or rather brand name of fund houses but by the performance of that particular scheme. The list of 16 contains a few big names, as well.
Life Insurance Corporation of India (LIC) would be your first choice while looking for an insurance product but do not make the same judgement when choosing a mutual fund. LIC Nomura MF has been infamous for its poor equity fund management. Moneylife has commented in the past on its meagre performance. In fact all of its equity funds have failed to perform. Three out of their five equity schemes—LIC Nomura Equity, LIC Nomura MF Opportunities and LIC Nomura MF Growth—are on the list of underperformers where the funds were launched five years back. The other two funds—LIC Nomura MF India Vision and LIC Nomura MF Top 100 were launched a few years back and have also underperformed their benchmark in the last one and two years.
HSBC Mutual Fund, part of the HSBC Group which has been managing assets for 25 years globally, has two of its funds on the list. HSBC Midcap Equity and HSBC Progressive Themes have given a return of around 10 percentage points lower than that of its benchmark in the last one year. The HSBC Progressive Themes Fund has given returns of -7% and -2% in the last five years and since inception, respectively, compared to its benchmark which has given a return of 3% and 7% in the respective period.
Tata Mutual Fund has two of its schemes on the list. Tata Capital Builder, launched in September 2006, has underperformed the benchmark by just a percentage point or so in all the periods. The Tata Service Industries Fund has done a bit worse though. It has given a return of -12% in the last ten years compared to its benchmark which has given a return of -5%. There has been a difference of 3-4 percentage points in the other periods as well.
Two schemes from Principal Mutual Fund, part of the Principal Financial Group which manages assets worldwide, have failed to perform, as well. In the last five years it has given a return of -4% whereas the benchmark returned 3%. Principal Services Industries Fund, launched in March 2006 has given a return of 2% since inception compared to its benchmark which returned 7% in the same period. Its mid-cap fund launched in November 2008, has underperformed the benchmark in the last one year and two years, as well.
One fund of SBI Mutual Fund—SBI Magnum Multi Cap—has underperformed its benchmark in all the periods. Whereas two other funds of SBI Magnum—SBI Magnum Sector Funds Umbrella and SBI Magnum COMMA Fund—have underperformed the benchmark in the recent one year and two year period but have outperformed in the five year period.
Reliance Equity Fund has failed to perform in all the periods. Well, this was not the lone underperformer of Reliance Mutual Fund. Older funds like Reliance Growth, Reliance Vision and Reliance RSF Equity have underperformed the benchmark in the last one year and two years as well. Holding a large stake of Reliance Industries in September 2011 may have well hampered their performance.
A fund house well known for their gross performance of equity funds is JM Financial Mutual Fund. This is one name you should certainly beware of. All of its equity funds have seen poor performance. The fund which has underperformed on all occasions is JM Equity. For the five-year period it has returned -6%, the lowest on the list, whereas its benchmark has returned 3%. The funds which have been launched within the five year period—JM Core 11 Fund and JM Multi Strategy Fund has given a return of 18 percentage points and 9 percentage points below their benchmark Return in the last one year. They have under performed the benchmark in the two-year period, as well. JM Basic Fund, too, underperformed the benchmark in the one-year, two-year and five-year period and somehow managed to beat the benchmark performance since inception.
Other funds which are a part of the list are IDFC Classic Equity Fund Plan A, UTI Contra Fund, Taurus Discovery Fund and ICICI Prudential Midcap Fund.