Equity Right

Corporate bond funds: A mix of risks and returns.

Corporate bond funds: A mix of risks and returns.


Investors in debt funds have been worried in the past few years, considering the uncertainty in the market. Investors want to allocate their money in schemes which have less volatility and provides decent gains. Banking bond schemes and Public Sector Undertaking Bonds (PSU Bonds) schemes are the preferred sectors by the debt fund investors. Nonetheless, corporate bond funds can also be worth investing. As of April 2020, corporate bond funds approximately have ₹86,000 crore in assets under management.


Mistakes committed while investing:

For more than two decades, debt funds invested in bonds issued by corporations have been in existence. But in the long run while chasing for high returns, some debt funds are invested in the instruments which have low credit rating and did not perform well over a period of time. In fact, a small part of the portfolio invested in such securities which really has a good strategy. However, a credit risk overload in the portfolio will harm if the underlying bonds fail to repay interest or principal.


Corporate bond funds:

As part of its reclassification exercise, the Securities Exchange Board of India (SEBI) tightened the concept of debt fund categories. Thus, corporate bond funds have been separately developed as a group. They are a more secure group of debt funds. Most schemes are open-ended and invest primarily in highly rated corporate bonds like AA+ and contributes almost 80% in the portfolio of investors. Looking at Corporate bond funds as a category, these type of funds fetched 8.8% return in the timeline of one year.


Corporate bond funds vs Public Sector Undertaking Bonds (PSU Bonds) vs Banking bond schemes:

Corporate bond funds, Public Sector Undertaking Bonds (PSU Bonds) and bond schemes issued by banks, all three categories create a safe bunch of investments in debt funds. However, all the three categories are not similar and have their own characteristics. Banking & PSU Debt funds must be invested in the bonds issued by banks and bonds from public sector undertakings (PSUs). Banking & PSU Debt funds may also invest in bonds issued by the banks and public sector undertakings (PSUs) with a lower credit rating.

In case of corporate bond funds, the sector is not restricted but investment in bonds with ratings below AA+ has been strictly limited by the regulator to 20% of the scheme. Obviously, comparatively higher ratings do not mean that returns are guaranteed or credit incidents will not take place. But the probability is very less. In the wake of Covid-19, the country is under lock down and many corporates are suffering due to market failure and poor liquidity. Although, Indian government made various provisions for the revival of economy as well as banking sector.

Reserve bank of India (RBI) made provisions like providing money to banks which further they can lend to corporates. But the truth is, companies which have low credit ratings find it difficult as banks hesitate to lend money to them. Therefore, it is rational for investors to stick to funds invested in top-rated bonds. Corporate bond investments fetch almost more 100 basis points than government bonds compared to returns on top-rated corporate bonds with the same maturity period.


Precautions before investing:

Past returns and performance offer a sense of the scheme’s success. However, search the portfolios for the risks involved. Unless the fund has a paper exposure below AA+, there is an increased risk. The Nippon India Prime Debt Fund, for example, has 5.5% exposure to A rated bonds. On the credit side, some funds can take limited or no risks. However, they may be at risk by investing in long-term government bonds and corporate securities. The L&T triple ace bond fund, for instance, has been updated over a 5.36-year cycle.

While the UTI Corporate Bond Fund has changed over a 3.73-year period as of 31st April, 2020. These funds show strong numbers in the declining interest regime, such as the one we are in, as portfolio bond prices are growing. However, if the tide turns, such schemes may see silent returns unless fund managers properly churn out the portfolio.

Invest in a fairly short-term and high credit quality fund if investors wants to shrink the risk. Capital gains earned from assets held for more than 3 years in corporate bond funds are taxed at 20% after indexation benefits. Then the profits would be added to the income of the investors and taxed at a marginal rate. In a nutshell, it is always better to do your own research before investing into any schemes this will help an investor to get the clear idea about the scheme and also the expected future gains.



Market update 19th May 2020. Vodafone Idea rises 17%

Equity Right

FPIs exit markets after economic package announcement.

FPIs exit markets after economic package announcement.


On 12th May 2020, Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced an economic package of ₹ 20 lakh crore under government’s Atma Nirbhar Bharat Abhiyan / Self-Reliant India. The national movement of Atma Nirbhar Bharat Abhiyan / Self-Reliant India initiated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi is to support India’s all small and local business. He emphasized on slogan viz. #VOCALFORLOCAL.


Scamper among FPIs:

Approximately 40% of FPI sales in cash and derivatives sectors were observed in second week of May. The data derived from stock exchange indicates some break up figures such as FPI’s sold stock worth ₹6,486 crore. Additionally, sales worth ₹2,869 crore and ₹737 crore were observed in index futures and stock futures respectively. These sales was executed in just 4 trading days in the second week of May 2020. The data further states that since the announcement of economic booster package of worth ₹20 lakh crore, FPIs buying activity has drastically declined.


Decline in NIFTY:

On 13th May 2020, Nifty observed its peak of 9,584 within the span of 2 days. Nifty abruptly fell by 534 points and on 15th May 2020 Nifty observed its low of 9,050. In the same time period, it has also been observed that there is a sudden decline in Nifty Bank. Nifty Bank dropped 1,440 points from 20,122 to 18,663.

If we compare between Indian stock market and global stock market, the sudden change is only observed in Indian stock market and not in global stock market. The Nifty and Nifty Bank indices are two of India’s largest traded derivatives, and both of these derivatives are struggling under pressure from FPI’s as they are selling their investment in a massive quantity since the announcement of economic booster package by Indian government. In second week of May 2020, the indices decreased by 5.6% and 7.15% respectively, compared to their respective highs.


Support from DII’s:

During the same period i.e. in the second week of May, there was no support from Domestic institutional investors (DIIs). Purchases from domestic institutional investors (DIIs) was also low, and they purchased stocks of only ₹1,896 crore in cash. There are several rules and restrictions on the companies who are doing business of mutual funds & insurance on derivative speculations. Therefore, they are virtually absent in the field of futures and options.


Massive sales by FPIs:

The media report noted that FPIs have been selling massively since the second week of May 2020 and have been slamming markets after the announcement of the financial package by Indian Government. In addition, the figures apart from second week of May 2020, the FPI’s net figures appear to be clearly positive, this is a bit misleading.


Loopholes while extracting data:

Exchanges will not adapt these facts when foreign companies sell shares and FPIs buy them This was the case on 7th May 2020, when a massive block of shares entered the market of Hindustan Unilever (HUL). Shares of HUL worth ₹26,300 crore were sold by international investors on 7th May 2020. The FPI’s bought a total worth ₹19,000 crore from the market in the same period, while DIIs bought stocks from the market in the same period worth ₹3,818 crore. Nearly all FPI’s and DIIs purchases were in HUL for that particular period.

When these ₹19,000 crore investments are removed from Hindustan Unilever shares, then FPI’s were net sellers in the cash and future segments. Sellers and major buyers of HUL were both international entities, but only those registered as FPIs are required to report their numbers to Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) and stock exchanges viz. NSE & BSE. Meanwhile, net buying by DIIs in the month of May 2020 is just ₹1,056 crore after adjusting the activity of Hindustan Unilever.



Corporate bond funds: A mix of risks and returns.

Equity Right

Investors get relief with standardized digital KYC process

Investors get relief with standardized digital KYC process


Know Your Customer (KYC) process generally contain heaps of paper work regarding customer identity and customer acceptance policy. All this makes the KYC process very lengthy and tedious. However, e-KYC is the option available to users but, for e-KYC stock brokers and various online mutual fund platforms didn’t have any standardized or unique set of procedures. E.g. In Person Verification (IPV) is completed by allowing customers by sending their recorded video to the concerned broker while some send their representative to the client’s home for the completion of In Person Verification (IPV).


New standard and unique procedure for Digital KYC:

Due to the unusual wake of Covid-19, the Indian government and Securities Exchange Board of India (SEBI) came up with standard and unique procedure for Know Your Customer (KYC). Media reports noted that Securities Exchange Board of India (SEBI) fetched responses from various brokers about how the KYC process is executed presently and then they released new standardized norms of how digital KYC should be executed.


Details regarding Aadhar based KYC:

A notification was published by Finance ministry of India on 22nd April 2020, regarding KYC process to be completely digitized for transactions through some institutions. Notification states that 9 institution’s viz. Link Intime India Pvt Ltd, CDSL Ventures Ltd, Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE), CAMS Investor Services Pvt Ltd, Central Depository Services (India) Ltd, and National Stock Exchange (NSE) can now undertake Aadhar based e-KYC. Notification noted that all the 9 institutions follow all the standards of privacy and security under the Aadhaar Act 2016.


Details regarding Online KYC:

Securities Exchange Board of India (SEBI), clarified the KYC process and its functioning. SEBI notified various online services that Mediators can practice for completion of KYC process.


Some of online KYC are followed:


Aadhaar eSign

Aadhaar eSign is the method recommended by government, in which we can digitally sign a document using Aadhaar. It will be equivalent to the normal sign we do, i.e. physical sign using pen. This will be completed using One-Time Password (OTP).



Digilocker is an initiative of Central government. It allows an individual to store their personal documents online using cloud storage provided by Digilocker. It provides free upload of documents up to 1 GB. Users can store their PAN card, Driving Licence and other important documents. Digilocker is fully secured, while creating an account. The 12 digit Aadhaar number is compulsory and further every time you login to Digilocker, a 4 digit One-Time Password (OTP) will be sent on the linked mobile number with Aadhaar. Digilocker allows you to sign digitally through their platform. Securities Exchange Board of India (SEBI), allowed verification of documents for KYC process using Digilocker. Documents uploaded on Digilocker can be treated as original documents.


In Person Verification (IPV)

In Person Verification (IPV) can be done effortlessly by using mediator’s portal or application. For IPV, a representative from the mediators can connect client through video call and ask some relevant questions. Investor can complete their In Person Verification (IPV) by presenting their original documents on video call.



The complete procedure of KYC:

The complete KYC procedure will be executed online as per SEBI norms by using broker’s application and online portals. They can cross verify clients by name and all the personal details uploaded by them on Digilocker with digital sign. IPV using video call will ensure all the proofs provided by client are genuine. Aadhaar authentication will be done by the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) whereas PAN authentication will be done by the database available in Income tax department.

Provision made to check the authentication of bank account is very simple. ₹1 will be deposited in a client’s bank account to verify all the details. This is termed as “Penny Drop” mechanism. Once all the verification is done, clients can download all the documents, do E-Sign on each document and upload it back to the portal. Another way customer can follow is to print all the documents, sign them, and upload the scan copy of it in the portal. Due to all this new measures started by government, investing online is an easy-going task.



Pre-GST CENVAT credit available till 30th June revised

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Mergers and acquisitions to rise post Covid pandemic

Mergers and acquisitions to rise post Covid pandemic

India’s startup sector may see a huge rise in mergers and acquisitions in the next 3-6 months. This can be anticipated as investors and companies expect a year of decreasing revenue and capital. This is caused by the COVID-19 pandemic as the Indian economy is in lockdown. According to investors, bankers and founders, buyouts will mostly take place in the Indian consumer retail, financial and internet sectors.

A lot of acqui-hires, distress sales and stock-led deals are expected to be completed. Bankers have stated that deals are now being accelerated. This was not possible 3 months ago. Venture capital investors have consolidation high up in their wish-list as they want to reduce portfolios. This wish has resulted due to these investors failing to raise money on their own from Limited Partners.


Impact of COVID-19:

The co head of digital and technology at Avendus Capital Mr. Karan Sharma stated that this pandemic is an unknown event. But this event will motivate both the entrepreneurs and Venture Capitalists to be a lot more creative and open. The current events have accelerated some of the conversations of mergers and acquisitions. These talks could have developed 2-3 years in the future. But this pandemic has proven to be a catalyst.

The dealmakers have stated that mergers and acquisitions transactions will rise. Investors have been urging portfolio companies to take measures foe extension of capital for atleast 18 months. Consumer facing businesses and high cash-burn entrepreneurs are urged to look for possible openings to merge.


Need for Mergers and Acquisitions:

In the April-June quarter, several companies may have zero revenue due to this pandemic. They will need to cover their costs. Fund raising is also postponed and will take more time to complete. Therefore, it makes more sense to merger. It is better to survive and grow rather than competing for the same capital and consumers. The general agreement is the financial services in the lending space are the primary targets for takeovers. Banks may try to acquire assets from fintech or non-fintech de-funded NBFC’s as they look to increase their tech stack. Currently, these assets are available at a discount.


Rise in the startup ecosystem:

Traders expect 55% of the Indian startup sector to have a money runaway for more than 11 months. Consolidation within startups have been on the rise in the past two years. Transactions worth $4.9 billion were recorded in the year 2018 and 2019. A total of 259 offers were noted in this two years. This year 27 offers worth $215 million was recorded.



Airtel signs deal with Nokia as they prepare for 5G era



How to adjust a portfolio in different market sentiments

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