SBI One India Fund (SOIF) is a 3-Yr close-ended diversified equity fund, which intends to capitalise on the growth opportunities offered by the Indian economy. However the fund has adopted a rather unique approach i.e. divide the country into 4 regions (north, south, east and west) and then invest in attractive stocks from each region. Hence the region becomes the mainstay for picking stocks, rather than conventional parameters like market capitalisation or sectors, among others. SOIF will operate on the rationale that each region throws up attractive investment opportunities, which the fund can benefit from.
At Personalfn, we are rather confounded by SOIF's investment proposition. If the intention is to benefit from growth opportunities offered by the Indian economy, why restrict the fund manager's hand by imposing restrictions in the form of regional allocations. Wouldn't a free-flowing investment style better suit the fund?
The fund house has indicated that the allocations to each region would vary from 15% to 55%. Theoretically speaking, in the event of any region not offering attractive investment opportunities, the mandate to invest at least 15% would prove to be a constraint. And disregarding the same would amount to contravening the fund's very core offering; in effect, SOIF could end up looking like any conventional close-ended diversified equity fund which invests in an unrestricted manner.
A company can qualify as a candidate for SOIF's portfolio based on several parameters like the location of its registered office and manufacturing facility among others. So a company like Tata Steel can qualify for an investment from both the Western region (because its registered office is located in Mumbai) and the Eastern region (because its manufacturing facility is based in Jamshedpur). With an investment rationale like this, SOIF is free to invest in just about any company and allocate it to any region. This brings into question the basis of the NFO - why have a region-wise selection parameter when any company can qualify as an investment from any region because of multiple offices/manufacturing facilities?
We believe SOIF can add little value to investors' portfolios and that it fails to come across as a "must-have" investment proposition. In light of the same, we recommend that investors do not invest in SOIF. Instead, they can consider adding to their portfolios, open-ended diversified equity funds like HDFC TOP 200 and DSP ML Opportunities, to name a few. These funds are proven performers (across market phases) and have impressive track records to show for.