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Tax-efficient returns from idle funds
Rajesh Abraham in Mumbai | January 30, 2007 08:21 IST
Reliance Mutual Fund recently introduced a scheme designed at salaried professionals to tap the idle savings bank funds to provide competitive tax efficient returns vis-a-vis other traditional avenues of savings.
Tata Mutual Fund launches a systematic investment plan where investors put in lump sum subscription amounts during the NFO, in order to do away with the hassles of issuing auto-debit instructions or post-dated cheques at the time of investment.
Kotak Mahindra Bank launches a term deposit scheme offering 5.25 per cent (15-30 day period) to 8.29 per cent (271-289 days) to target savings bank accounts, without any penalty for premature withdrawal.
Are you one of those busy salaried professionals with no time to spare between long working hours and hectic lifestyle? Well, then mutual funds and banks are now targeting you as a lucrative business potential, using 'hassle-free investing of idle savings bank deposits' as their main USP.
The reason: "Banks are looking to increase their deposit base from individuals, which is cheaper than bulk deposits from corporates. For mutual funds, the base is already very low and, hence, the growth prospects are very good," said Ravikant Anand Bhat, analyst with IDBI Capital Market Services.
"A bulk of the savings bank accounts of salaried professionals are lying idle for a short-term period of six months to one-year and this as a segment is worth looking at very seriously for financial service providers," said a wealth management advisor with a brokerage house.
Ved Prakash Chaturvedi, managing director of Tata Mutual Fund explained that the new SIP scheme would rid investors the hassles of giving post-dated cheques or auto debit at the time of investment even as it helps them to reduce the risk of volatility associated with equity markets.
"The Indian equity markets have exhibited strong bouts of volatility in this climb to the top. It is well-known that systematic investing over a period of time helps manage volatility while providing investors with long-term benefits of equity investing," Chaturvedi says, adding that the fund is positioned the scheme as a good alternative to fixed deposits with banks.
It is not mutual funds only that are competing for the savings bank accounts. State Bank of India, IDBI Bank and Kotak Mahindra Bank are also looking to tap the salaried class for boosting their deposit base.
"Mutual funds are slowly but surely getting into the savings bank accounts. Anyway, their base is low and there is huge potential. For banks, on the other hand, the new strategy is being adopted by new private sector banks, as they want to increase their deposit base," said an analyst with ICICI Securities.
Adds Bhat of IDBI Capital Markets: "The credit growth is outpacing the growth in deposits for most banks. The banks are under pressure to increase their deposit base."
The strategy adopted by Reliance Mutual Fund in its Reliance Salary AddVantage is novel. "This programme is designed keeping in mind salaried professionals who generally have long working hours and hectic lifestyles which leads to a situation wherein you may have large sums of money lying idle in your bank account which is not diligently invested and you end up losing out on returns and the opportunity to make your funds grow," said a Reliance Capital spokesman.
Under the plan, you would be able to transfer a part of your monthly salary to a mutual fund scheme with a potential to provide competitive tax efficient returns vis-a-vis other traditional avenues of savings, he said.
So what does the future hold?
Analysts believe that the mutual funds and banks would be able to corner sizeable funds from savings bank accounts in metros such as Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, Chennai and Bangalore.
But semi-urban and rural centres would continue to be out of reach for the new schemes--at least for some more time. Surely, investors are not going to say no to the banker or financial advisor who will make that extra buck for you.
Reliance Mutual Fund, Tata Mutual Fund and Kotak Mahindra Bank have launched different schemes to target the average salaried person using 'hassle-free investing of idle savings bank deposits' as their main USP.
The new SIP scheme would rid investors the hassles of giving post-dated cheques or auto debit at the time of investment even as it helps them to reduce the risk of volatility associated with equity markets.