RBI raises key rates to tame inflation

Mumbai: The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) today raised its key short-term lending rate by 25 basis points and borrowing rate by 50 basis points to check rising prices, reports PTI.

"Inflation remains the dominant concern in macroeconomic management", RBI said while raising the repo (lending) and reverse repo (borrowing) rates to 6% and 5%, respectively.

The new rates, which come into effect immediately, were announced as part of the first scheduled mid-quarterly review of the monetary policy.

The hike in rates will lead to a rise in cost of funds for the banks and eventually makes loans expensive, which will reduce consumption.

While inflation for August was 8.5% (as per the new series with 2004-05 as the base year), food inflation was at a high of 15.10% for the week ended 4th September under a new series.

To check inflation, the RBI had raised these key rates by an identical margin in July.


Fidelity India Children’s Plan: No child’s play, this new fund offer

Fidelity will launch a children’s fund. It is actually a hybrid fund — which is all the rage now

Saving for a child's future is high on every parent's agenda. Since the best long term investment products are equities and equity funds, it is a valid marketing idea for fund companies to come up with a pure equity fund that secures your child's future. But Fidelity has gone one step further. It has come up with a fund that will promote savings and will generate long-term returns through hybrid investments that are supposed to cater to different stages of your child's life.

Fidelity Mutual Fund has filed an offer document with market regulator Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) for an open-ended hybrid plan called 'Fidelity India Children's Plan'. The fund will consist of three schemes - Education Fund, Marriage Fund, and Savings Fund. The Education Fund will be benchmarked against the BSE 200 Index (70%) and the CRISIL Composite Bond Fund Index (30%) and will park 70% of its net assets in equity and 30% in debt. The Marriage Fund will invest a minimum of 65% corpus in equity; up to 25% in gold exchange-traded funds (ETFs) and up to 10% in debt and money-market instruments. It will be benchmarked against the BSE 200 Index (70%), gold prices (20%) and the CRISIL Short Term Bond Fund Index (10%). The Savings Fund will invest its entire corpus in debt and have CRISIL Short Term Bond Fund Index as its benchmark. The Education and Marriage Funds will carry a 3% exit load if redeemed within 1 year; 2% if redeemed before 2 years and 1% before 3 years. The Savings Fund will have 1% exit load if redeemed before 1 year. Investors can invest a minimum of Rs5,000 per application.

The first two schemes are hybrid schemes or multi-asset schemes as the jargon goes. They invest in three different assets at the same time. Religare Mutual Fund was the first fund house to enter this arena by launching a scheme in April 2010 called Religare Monthly Income Plan (MIP) Plus, that seeks to generate income through a portfolio of fixed income securities, gold and equity-related instruments.

The scheme invests 65%-90% in debt instruments; up to 25% in equity and 10%-35% in gold ETFs. Subsequently, Taurus Mutual Fund launched an open-ended income scheme called 'Taurus MIP Advantage' fund and Canara Robeco launched its own hybrid plan called 'Indigo Fund'.

Industry experts say that these funds are being launched to provide multiple exposures to investors during different market conditions so that they do not need to look for investing in different funds to hedge their portfolios.

"The reason why fund houses are launching hybrid products is to provide investors exposure to low co-related assets. So if you have a period when equity is not looking bullish then gold will take care of it. Similarly there are phases were equity is doing well but gold is not. At any given point of time if you are able to swing the assets in the right direction, then your portfolio will pay off due to the existing strategy," said a marketing head of mid-sized fund house. 

Should you go for Fidelity's fund? A simple equity diversified fund from Fidelity held over the long term would be good enough. Look at the performance of 12 existing schemes dedicated to the theme of child plans. These are HDFC Children's Gift Fund, ICICI Prudential Child Care Plan, LIC Children's Fund, PRINCIPAL Child Benefit, SBI Magnum Children Benefit Plan, Tata Young Citizens Fund, Templeton India Children Asset Education Plan, UTI Children's Career Balanced Plan and UTI-CCP Advantage Fund. Out of these, only seven funds have beaten their benchmarks since inception.

The best performer in this category is ICICI Prudential Child Care Plan (Study Plan) which posted a compounded annual growth rate (CAGR) NAV return of 12.70% when its benchmark CRISIL MIP Blended Index rose 8.55% since the fund's inception. The scheme was launched in September 2001. PRINCIPAL Child Benefit (Career Builder Plan) launched in January 1998 has been the second top performer. It posted 19.30% CAGR NAV return when its benchmark CRISIL Balanced Fund Index yielded 15.86% return.

ICICI Prudential Child Care Plan (Gift Plan) has not provided great gifts to its investors. The fund launched in September 2001 has posted a CAGR NAV return of 22.90% while its benchmark has advanced 39.86% since the fund's inception.

Similarly, UTI Children's Career Balanced Plan's career seems to be bleak. The fund launched in December 1995 has posted an NAV return of just 2.70% while its benchmark CRISIL Balanced Fund Index rose 15.86% since the fund's inception. All these funds have been handsomely beaten by the top equity diversified funds.




6 years ago

FICP is not offering any unique investment proposition. In fact it has merely allotted emotionally appealing names to each of the funds within. We think that when we talk about children education, their marriage or merely saving for them.


Srikanth Matrubai

6 years ago

I think you are missing something here.
HDFC's Children's Fund has been the star performer since its inception among all the child Plans.
How come you have missed it?

Childrens Fund should only be addition to the Investment being made by you for the child. These should not be the only investment.

Inspite of having such alternative, with the help of a Financial Advisor, you can as well choose a Diversified Equity Fund and treat the same as Children's Fund and use it for securing their future.
A plain vanilla Diversified Fund would do a better job especially considering most parents would be investing for a period of more than 10 years.

An ideal combination would be a Mix of Child ULIPs, Childrens Fund from Mutual Funds and a dash of Diversified Equity Funds and Balanced Funds.
Srikanth Matrubai


6 years ago

5000 invested in Jun 2004 in the following funds would be...
16700 - in Child Care Gift - 21.17%
21300 - in ICICI Growth - 26.07%
30200 - in ICICI Dynamic - 33.18%
30000 - in HDFC Equity - 32.97%

Its true that Diversified funds are a better option, but it is easier to market Children's Funds to our emotional investor so better that he buys these plans rather than get swayed by the usual children's plans (ulips) marketed by insurance companies which give an even lower return

Nestlé Bar One: Lowering the bar

The commercial is horrendous, to say the least. Looks like the brand was better off without advertising

The festival season is here. And so don't blame me if you read about excessive choc advertising in this space. It's raining 'sweet' ads! And even the dead brands have come alive!
Nestlé has finally decided to promote Bar One, after a break of many years. The brand has been allowed to stagnate in the marketplace for a long time, wonder why. I actually thought Bar One was long dead and buried. And the TV commercial they have just released is so pathetic, it will probably ensure the brand is finally put to pasture. For good this time.
'Kaafi Hai' is the new slogan. And there's a very silly pun embedded in it. On one level, it suggests that with enough caramel, malt, nougat, etc, inside the choc bar, it's good enough to satiate your hunger. (Great! Soniaji can now officially tell those living below the poverty line: "Can't afford veggies and pulses? No probs. Have Nestle Bar One!").

'Kaafi Hai' is also used to suggest the chocolate is good enough to woo a bunch of girls… that you don't need anything else… no looks, no substance, no character, no nothing. Cool.  
The TVC features a repugnant stud who attempts to impress a couple of babes walking past on the street by indulging in bike racing and other silly stunts. A flop show, that. The zooming biker can't see the girls properly; they can't see his helmeted head either. So he does the predictable ad thingy. Which is to crash into a waiting lorry. From behind the lorry emerges a Nestlé Bar One munching cool dude. And the girls go for him! Cool.
Absolutely horrendous advertising, to put it mildly. On every single count. The 'innovative' comic-book style execution falls flat on its face. The tired route of 'Use my product, get the chicks' has been sooooo done to death, it now makes you want to retch. In fact, Nestle Bar One's commercial is a sad tribute to Sprite's 'Seedhi baat, No Bakwaas' campaign. This sort of advertising is suicidal in this day and age, unless the Nestle suits are planning to show losses on this particular brand for taxation purposes. 
In conclusion: Extremely saddening to watch this stuff. Especially after some good recent work for other choc brands like Cadbury Dairy Milk and Kit Kat. Nestlé Bar One has lowered the bar again. To a new depth. The brand was better off without advertising, methinks.




6 years ago

silly ad.
I would also like to add another bad one- the Tata dish ad with Aamir playing milkman is stupid. since when do we pay for milk which is not taken when on a holiday. nd the way Aamir snatches money from his pocket is not funny. also since when does a householder carry money in his pyjamas early morning.? See it and comment pl

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