SIPs started a few years ago are in the red, prompting many investors to redeem funds at a loss.
Before you press the sell button, analyse the reasons behind your decision. Investors spend a lot of time identifying the best fund, but withdrawals are usually knee-jerk decisions. Investors succumb to the vagaries of the market and dump their holdings at the wrong time. “Moving out during a downturn is one of the biggest mistakes investors make
Exiting prematurely can lead to shortfalls in financial goals.
Before selling your fund, ask some questions yourself. Answer of this question will help you to take right decision.
Check your asset allocation-
As a first step, check the total exposure of your investment portfolio to equity. Exit from your equity funds only if the allocation to equity has exceeded the desired level. But if the equity allocation is already much below what it should be, then selling won’t make much sense.What is the ideal allocation to equities? There is no fixed number and depends on the individual’s risk profile. Financial planners say one should rebalance the portfolio after a big market move or once a year, whichever happens earlier. If you can’t do this on your own, go for dynamic funds.
Check yours’ need of money-
The asset allocation is linked to the time available. If the goal is more than 5-7 years away, a tilt towards equity is recommended given its potential to create wealth in the long term. A near-term correction should not bother you. Markets are inherently volatile but the ups and downs normalise over several years. In fact, the SIP route helps you make the most of these gyrations.
However, if the goal is 2-3 years away, a higher exposure to equities can put the corpus at risk. If the markets dip very close to the finish line, it can leave you significantly short of the required corpus. To avoid this, investors should cut allocation to equity as the goal approaches.
Check your fund performance-
Poor performance by a fund is a good reason to sell it. But keep in mind that when the broader market is down, no fund can escape a decline. When assessing a fund’s performance, check how other funds in the category have done.
Don’t limit the comparison to a short time frame. Check the performance over 2-3 years, covering a longer stretch of the market cycle. If the fund has consistently underperformed its benchmark index or peers for the past few years, then a switch is warranted. Consistent underperformance of a scheme may call for an exit, consistent underperformance of a scheme may call for an exit. Even when a fund underperforms over a slightly longer time horizon, it may not always call for an exit. If your fund keeps delivering the threshold return required to generate your target corpus, there is no need to switch.
Check your financial goal-
There are times when the goal for which an investment was made change. A major change in circumstances may alter the time horizon or targeted corpus of the goal. Someone may be planning to purchase a bigger house after 7-8 years. An addition in the family or aged parents moving in may call for a larger living space immediately, advancing the purchase timeline to within the next few months.
This may require the investor to change his investment strategy and even tweak the asset allocation. He will have to sell the equity funds, since the goal is now only a few months away.
If one is saving to buy a house in 2-3 years, debt funds are the best option.
Funds will also have to be switched if the target corpus has changed. For instance, one may have invested in equity funds to accumulate a hefty corpus for a child’s education in a top B-school abroad. But if the child decides to opt for a different programme in a local institute, the required corpus will be much lower. The investor can sell off some equity funds.
Do you invest in many funds?
Some investors seek safety in numbers. Others simply keep buying the latest table-toppers. Eventually, their portfolios become heady cocktails that are too unwieldy to monitor. This is another reason to sell funds because too many schemes do more harm than good. As you add more funds to your portfolio, it only leads to duplication. You end up buying the same stocks through other funds, defeating the whole diversification principle. In fact, diversifying beyond a point may take the bite out of the winners in your fund portfolio. Their contribution will be diluted by the slackers. Having more than 5-6 equity funds, for instance, doesn’t add any value.
Besides, a large number of funds are more difficult to keep track of. A cleanup is a must if your portfolio has grown unwieldy over time. If you have a messy portfolio of funds, it may be time to prune some holdings and consolidate. But don’t start dumping funds blindly. Prune your portfolio in a way that aligns with the desired asset allocation while keeping your broader investment goals in mind. Identify funds that are similar to each other. If you hold 3-4 large-cap equity funds, it might make sense to get rid of 2-3.
Is there any changes in your fund portfolio?
At times, exiting a fund may have nothing to do with the fund’s performance or overall market behaviour. Many funds have new investment mandates or have been merged with other schemes. This has changed the nature of these funds and could be a compelling reason to exit.
A change in mandate may be particularly troublesome if the new positioning changes the fund’s risk profile or doesn’t align with your needs anymore.