Mutual fund schemes may be classified on the basis of their structure and their investment objective
An open-ended fund is one that is available for subscription all through the year. These do not have a fixed maturity. Investors can conveniently buy and sell units at Net Asset Value (NAV) related prices.
A close-ended Fund has a fixed maturity period, which generally ranges from 3 to 15 years. The fund is open for subscription only during a specified period (NFO). Investors can invest in the scheme at the time of the initial public issue and thereafter they can buy or sell the units of the scheme on the Stock Exchanges, if they are listed. The market price at the stock exchange could vary from the scheme's NAV on account of demand and supply situation, unit holders' expectations and other market factors.
By Investment Objective
The aim of growth funds is to provide capital appreciation over the medium to long term. Such schemes normally invest a majority of their corpus in equities. Growth schemes are ideal for investors who have a long-term outlook and are seeking growth over a period of time.
The aim of income funds is to provide regular and steady income to investors. Such schemes generally invest in fixed income securities such as bonds, corporate debentures and government securities.
Income funds are ideal for capital stability and regular income. Capital appreciation in such funds may be limited, though risks are typically lower than that in a growth fund.
The aim of balanced funds is to provide both growth and regular income. Such schemes periodically distribute a part of their earning and invest both in equities and fixed income securities in the proportion indicated in their offer documents. This proportion affects the risks and the returns associated with the balanced fund - in case equities are allocated a higher proportion, investors would be exposed to risks similar to that of the equity market.
Balanced funds with equal allocation to equities and fixed income securities are ideal for investors looking for a combination of income and moderate growth.
Money Market Funds
The aim of money market funds is to provide easy liquidity, preservation of capital and moderate income. These schemes generally invest in safer short-term instruments such as treasury bills, certificates of deposit, commercial paper and inter-bank call money. Returns on these schemes may fluctuate depending upon the interest rates prevailing in the market.
These are ideal for corporate and individual investors as a means to park their surplus funds for short periods.
Other Equity Related Schemes
Tax Saving Schemes
These schemes offer tax rebates to investors under specific provisions of the Indian Income Tax laws, as the Government offers tax incentives for investments in specified avenues. Investors are advised to consult their financial advisors for more details.
Index funds attempt to replicate the performance of a particular index such as the BSE Sensex or the NSE S&P CNX 50.
Sectoral funds are those which invest exclusively in specified sector(s) such as FMCG, Information Technology, Pharmaceuticals, etc. These schemes carry higher risk as compared to general equity schemes as the portfolio is less diversified, i.e. restricted to specific sector(s) / industry (ies).