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Home > Business > Special

How to restructure your portfolio

BS Research, Mumbai | September 24, 2007

The best way to invest in the market is through discipline and consistency as no one knows where the market is headed.

I am a 70-year old retired army officer with no dependents. I want to improve the quality of my lifestyle and travel around the world. Since the Sensex is on a bullish run, I want to book profits in funds that I have held for more than a year. In doing so, I would make a profit of Rs 3 lakh. I intend reinvesting the entire amount (Rs 12 lakh) in the funds mentioned. I need your help in re-structuring my portfolio. I would like to employ the SIP facility for reinvesting

Welcome to the club! Almost everyone wants to book profits. After such a heady bull run, expecting a bear phase to follow is but natural. And, it would be wise to have ample liquidity to take advantage of cheaper valuations. Your strategy of booking profits and then systematically injecting it back into equities could indeed be profitable. But this strategy makes sense only on the basis of a very crucial assumption: That the market will start sliding from this juncture.

We are totally behind you when you say you want to try a Systematic Investment Plan (SIP). Discipline and consistency is the best way to tackle equities. But as to the direction of the market, no one can say for sure where it is headed.

Having said that, if you want to sell your investments and reinvest the money, then it is an opportune time to restructure your portfolio.

More Not Always Better

A mistake many investors tend to make is accumulating a lot of funds. The fund selection may be great but the combined effect on the portfolio may not be as impressive. Take four top-of-the-line funds for instance: Birla Sunlife Frontline Equity, Magnum Contra, HDFC [Get Quote] Equity and Reliance [Get Quote] Vision. Great holdings, but including all of them in one portfolio leads to clutter.

When streamlining your portfolio, the very first thing we did was to club the funds into various categories.

First we delineated the inflexible aspect of your portfolio - the close-ended and ELSS class of funds. Then we dropped funds that are at odds with your portfolio. A case in point is Optimix Asset Allocator Multi Manager Fund, which invests in a wide variety of funds and derails the focus of your portfolio.

Then there are the infrastructure plays (DSPML T.I.G.E.R, Sundaram BNP Paribas CAPEX Opportunity) and opportunistic fundsĀ  (Fidelity India Special Situations, HSBC Unique Opportunities, ICICI [Get Quote] Pru Fusion) which invest in stocks across sectors and market capitalisation. Fidelity India Special Situations was dropped because it is rather aggressive with a tendency of taking concentrated bets (34 per cent in financial services in the July portfolio).

Don't Ignore Costs

Your decision to redeem funds that you have held for more than a year will save you on taxes but result in stable performers like Magnum Multiplier Plus being dropped.

Once funds are clearly demarcated, they can be eliminated on the basis of performance, investment objective, sector exposure, risk weight of the fund, and the overall effect on the portfolio. Once you do that, you can look at redemption charges which are very significant in the case of close-ended funds. It is precisely for this reason that ABN AMRO Sustainable Development has been retained. But to be fair, the fund's performance this far has been in line with the category average. Since short-term capital gains tax is 10 per cent of gains, start redeeming the oldest funds first.

Plough Back

In order to reinvest systematically, you could redeem units and place the money in a short-term debt fund. From this kitty you can route investments into equities with a Systematic Transfer Plan (STP) which works like an SIP. We suggest that you undertake this exercise over the next six months, so that your money can be invested in equities as soon as possible.

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