Mutual funds through demat has unnecessary costs and issues
Moneylife Digital Team 29 March 2011

NSDL says smart investors choose the demat route for mutual fund. But the really smart investors would not want to waste their money, or get into unnecessary hassles which the demat system involves

Two years after the regulator pushed mutual fund investors down the stockbroker-demat route, the strategy is beset with high charges and low customer interest. Undaunted, the National Securities Depository Ltd (NSDL) is still pushing it hard.

An advertisement blitz just released reads: "Be a smart investor. Hold your mutual fund units in demat." Investors are indeed smart. Demat is a costly affair and many smart long-term investors actually do not demat even their old shares. Since holding mutual funds in demat form is not compulsory, unlike shares, investors exercise the smart choice, avoiding NSDL's pitch to go the demat route.

 A demat account for mutual funds is similar to that for shares. Now, the National Stock Exchange (NSE) and the Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE) are offering a platform to buy and sell mutual funds. You can subscribe to mutual fund units through your stock broker using the stock exchange platform. On subscription, the asset management company (AMC) or registrar and transfer agent (RTA) will credit the mutual fund units to your demat account. For existing mutual fund holdings, you have to obtain a conversion request from your depository participant (DP) and after appropriate verification, the AMC or RTA will credit the mutual fund units to your demat account.

Demat does have its advantages. It helps consolidate all of one's holdings and allows a view of investments in a single snapshot, rather than having to go through several statements issued by different mutual funds. Earlier, if one had 20 schemes in 15 different fund houses, there would be as many statements. You one can get a simple statement for all holdings with all the AMCs. Also, holding mutual fund units in the demat format enables one to manage a portfolio better. One can monitor all the schemes at one go. Buying and selling in dematerialised units is supposed to be faster and simpler.

But if one does not trade in fund units, is it really worth the cost? There are several layers of costs associated with holding mutual fund units in demat form: the depositories and brokers are both out to claw some money from you. One would have to pay a charge to open the demat account, as well as the annual demat fees. Sales of units would also involve a charge of Rs20 on each occasion. This charge varies from DP to DP. And if the DP is not the bank that is directly linked to the AMC, it could take around 7-10 days for the money to be credited to your account. Sometimes, there's confusion regarding the differences in the name, or the initials in the name in which the demat account is opened and the one in the bank records. If the demat account has the name Anjali R Shah and the bank account has the name Anjali Shah, getting the amount credited could take months together. Banks have a habit of putting these kinds of small disputed amounts mindlessly in a suspense account and making you run around for it. At that time, you will not look smart and NSDL will surely not be anywhere to help.

The demat route has brokerage costs as well. The broker charges his normal commission at the time of purchasing or selling MF units (generally 0.30-0.40% of the value of units bought or sold). Again, the brokerage is negotiable and depends upon the broking firm one chooses. An investor using an online brokerage portal will be charged by the online trading company. Most importantly, while dealing through stock brokers, you cannot do SIPs/STPs, which are very popular with mutual fund investors. In fact, when we called a broking company about opening a demat account to buy mutual funds, we were dissuaded to do so because of the unnecessary costs involved.

So, while NSDL claims that it is smart to use the demat route for mutual funds, the problems on the ground and the cost of taking this route for no added benefit will continue to keep investors away.  Keep your financial life simple–avoid mutual fund demat as long as it is not compulsory.

1 decade ago
please mail me advantages & disadvantages of MF in dmat form. thanks
paressh deshpande
1 decade ago
1.Is amfi certification is necessary for broker/sub-brokers through
which investors are purchasing units?

2.Are kyd rules are applicable for them? kyc compliance is validated when investor invest through demat account?

4.convincing required to bring mutual fund investment.will investors
invest themselves in the mutual funds?

we have examples of GOLD ETFs where investing is possible only through demat account? What are volumes?

And if anyone to know investing through demat ,,won't they directly invest in shares? there transperancy or rules regarding charges charged by brokers
towards holding of units?

6.why cfps are silent on this issue who always talks and writes about
cost effectiveness and miss sebi ex.chief.

Professional Advisors
1 decade ago
Legitimate and full desection of the matter. I feel the air conditioned policymaker are too far from ground reality. Whatever they are doing in the name of retail and small investor is most of the time against their interest or of no use. If the payment mechanism is made faster in future; the DEMAT form of holding MFs will be meant for 'Trading in Mutual Funds' only. But trading in MFs! is it really a good concept? especially when 1% exit load is still there.
To see all the MF investments in one shot; there are many ways provided by IFAs and RTA as excel portfolio and consolidated account statements etc.
We are IFA.
nishi rotkar
1 decade ago
sebi knows that ARN HOLDERs are unorganised.
they can easily finish them with flood of autocratic rules / regulations favoring stock exchanges.
and any how manage to force investor to go ONLY throgh stock exchange route.

im afraid day will come soon when SEBI say, there is no need of IFAs / MF distributor in mf system & AMCs will happily accept it.

nishi rotkar
1 decade ago
dmat of MF units is nothing but conspiracy to finish IFA / MF distributors. if SEBI really cares for investors , why it does not launch a online portal exclusively for IFA / ARN HOLDERS. then stock brokers & ARN holdres would have equal opportunities.
why ony through stock brokers?
why advertisement only for stock brokers.

points mentioned in advertisement of SEBI for investor awareness :

Read carefully ,

u can change ur distributor without NOC of existing broker ????

u can hold mf units in dmat form. contact DP / stock broker ????

u can purchase / redeem mf units from stock broker ???????

if u have any coplaint / doubt u can directly approach to mutual fund without the help of any third party or distributor ????????/

is it a ad for investor awareness or stock brokers promotion ????

why they are pushing & favouring dmat of mf units only through stock brokers?

how many advertisements has SEBI given to help ARN holders to collect charges from invetors after NO ENTRY LAOD era?

have SEBI taken a single step or publish a advertisement to aware the investors about charges to be paid to ARN holders, if they are satisfied with there services.
not a single.............

Replied to nishi rotkar comment 1 decade ago
I fully agree to your points,-
1-mutual funds in todays form are already in demat -only difference is that registrars are cams and karvy-and the other difference which is MAJOR-that actual entities to trade MF units online (ie ARN holders )have been denied online trading platform which could have served all purposes for investors and distributors-
2-but Mr Bhave acting as a power broker of NSDL and NSE tried to divert legitimate right of livelihood of IFAs to give monetary benifit to stock brokers(offcourse for his own monetary brnifit)and not for investors benifit-
3-he shifted certification of ARN holders from AMFI to NISM(as if NISM would give some extra knowledge to IFAs-(to be read as extra income for NSDL led NISM)
4-Mr Bhave talked of churning as major reason for removing entry load-did he ever advised stock brokers not to churn portfolios of clients in stocks and MF units.
These all things clearly show that Mr Bhave was a fully sold out man to NSDL NSE nexus and his role should be questioned by some NGO because IFAs have never got united for their own welfare-
5-i think Mr Bhave's all actions were suspicious(he was a "ACTOR CUM BEUROCRAT"who did things exactly harmful to investor while chanting mantras of investors welfare.
Krishna Gopal Gupta
1 decade ago
It was the regime of Mr. Bhave, who did it by deserting crores of AMFI certified individual advisors and to promote NSDL and like agencies. When these agencies can charge the client to their own wish, why independent advisor is left to the mercy of the client is still unknown to all except Mr. Bhave himself & NSDL.
Jharna Agarwal
Replied to Krishna Gopal Gupta comment 1 decade ago
an extremely valid point. once the docs are signed brokers keep charging at the fixed rates. whereas individual agent has to go through negotiation to get a fair commission from his client ahead of each deal.
Jharna Agarwal
1 decade ago
I have been told that if I shift my demat MF holdings from one demat a/c to another all the future dividends will still continue to go the bank account attached with the first demat account. Is it true? If yes then it is a huge disadvantage to go for demat of MF.
shekhar J
1 decade ago
I believe we as an investors have all the more freedom to choose as to which particular DP services to be sought.

Also, this is not a compulsion it is just a facility to empower an investor, and the bank details can be very easily updated with demat I believe.

I feel this is an amazing move from NSDL, in the interest of investors.
Replied to shekhar J comment 1 decade ago
I agree with you that investor has more freedom to choose. But the question is what benefit an investor is going to get from this additional freedom of demating an account statement!

How investors’ right is enhanced by this move of NSDL? More demat accounts means more business for stock brokers, DPs and depositories themselves. It definitely benefits them.

I'm unable to understand how by increasing the cost and restricting the mode of operation (like you've to operate only through a broker and cannot go to AMC directly), an investor is actually helped!

I'm also amazed by the move of NSDL but for all together different reasons.
1 decade ago
The idea of demat for MF's is to aggregate the information. I believe CAMS and Karvy provide a mailback service that gives you a complete picture of you MF holdings…and it's free.
1 decade ago
I think there is confusion between online investing and holding it in demat. Both are NOT one and the same. \'Do it yourself\' investor can buy online either through fund houses or aggregators. Holding it in ‘demated demat’ means, you\'ve to buy it through your stock broker. People who go through an advisor would get CAS (Consolidated Account Statement) from AMCs. Many advisors also have software to provide such comprehensive statements. You do not get unit certificate from fund houses for you to demat. Mutual fund units are already in demat form only, what you get only is an account statement. Why so much importance is given to physical statement, when you get it through email every month (say for SIP). You may take a print out of the same. To obtain Consolidated account statement, even now, if you want, you can visit – Online services for Investors- Mailback Services- Consolidated Account Statement –CAMS+Karvy+FTAMIL – to obtain what NSDL is promising as you would get by demating the demated units. Even as an investor, I do not see benefit of demating an account statement! Most important if you go through advisor or directly to an AMC, the relationship with AMC is retained. Once you \\\'demat\\\', the relationship is purely between the investor and stock broker. Also there are issues of changing your demat account every time you change your stock broker, Power of Attorney to stock broker etc., which is not necessary for a mutual fund investor. A mutual fund is an investment and not a trading product. Moneylife team may take some inputs from the same, if they find it useful. I feel that the above article has not sufficiently highlighted the disadvantages, which are many and the advantages, which are negligible.
mahesh vartak
1 decade ago
I very strongly disagree with most of the comments & conclusions of this article. I have been very satisfactorily using the demat route for holding my mutual funds investments and have not faced any of the issues as listed in this article. I would very strongly recommend the demat mode of mutual fund investments, at least for all the tech savy investors, who prefer online investing.
Replied to mahesh vartak comment 1 decade ago
this demat of mf a/c helps semi urban investors,whom presently depending on IFA.
thanks for this service
Anant Dhavale
1 decade ago
To "Be A Smart Investor" as advertised demat is not necessary if one wants to keep it as simple as that. Consolidated Account Statement facilty given by Registrars(Cams,Karvy and Franklin)is sufficient and this can be in Summary Format as well as Detailed Transaction Format. If one wants to give nomination,bank details and mail ids different for different funds/schemes (customised requirementsI then Demat account may not serve the purpose as data remains same.
1 decade ago
The article is highly biased against demat concept without fully understanding its advantages. When you open a demat account, the bank account is also mentioned in the appln. form to which dividend/redemption proceeds of the muual fund units will be credited. While a demat account is accepted as very convenient for holding shares, how can it be inconvenient while holding MF units.? Moreover, you need not file KYC proof at every time of investment, nominee issue/succession certificate issue etc. are not there. What more can an investor expect? Most of the DPs do not even charge maintenance charges and the "demat maintenance"/transaction cost is negligible when compared to the value of investment. In fact, the MF investors are wrongly advised not to make use of the infrastructure created by NSDL /CDSL or stock exchanges which are available at a fraction of the present cost.which they actually incur. The investors should know that the exchanges are managging 25 to 50 times of the volume of"mutual fund industry" at a fraction of their present costs.
Replied to PVaidyanathan comment 1 decade ago
Direct credit of redemption / dividend proceeds even now happens. Why you do not highlight the fact that mutual fund units are already in demat form? They are not share or unit certificates but a mere account statement? It is like demating your demat statement.

KYC is done only once with CVL. So in what way a DP is superior? A DP’s demat account does not support different nominations for different shares, which is possible in mutual fund schemes in current form.

Also every broker insist on opening a demat account through him and also give him a POA. This process has to be repeated every time an investor changes his broker.

We are reading and hearing about misuse of POAs.

AMCs are already making use of the depository infrastructure and keeping our units in demat mode. Why duplicate the process? For whose benefit?
anant bodas
1 decade ago
kindly notify the idiot nsdl authorities who accepting bribes from big stock brokers
1 decade ago
I have lost all faith in Mutual Fund investment after AMC have stopped sending the written statement.Even annual statements also are now not send my postal mail.Everybody is not computar litterate hence not sending a written annual statement is breach of trust.I have made sevral complaints to AMC thriugh my Brokers/Wealth Advisors/Agents but it is very unfortunate that AMC do not bother.It is bound to effect MF investments.
Replied to NANU NATVERLAL MEHTA comment 1 decade ago
Well said,Mr.Mehta.Nowadays getting physical statements from AMCs has become a nightmare.With the exception of AMCs like Birla Sunlife or Quantum,all others make you run around.Obviously these AMCs are trying to make that extra buck at your expense!
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