The mutual fund space has grown over the pandemic and interestingly so far in 2021, several smaller companies have gained momentum and outpaced the growth of established major players.
In tandem with the rise in the equity market, small players made giant strides during the year.
Equity schemes of fund houses like Quant Mutual Fund, ITI Mutual Fund, PPFAS Mutual have been among the best performing schemes so far in the year.
The assets under management of Quant witnessed over five-fold rise during January-July 2021. Its AUM in December 2020 stood at Rs 521 crore and by July-end it reached Rs 2,842 crore, showed data from primemfdatabase.com.
The AUM of ITI Mutual Fund rose over 100 per cent to Rs 1,879 crore and PPFAS Mutual Fund’s AUM also nearly doubled to Rs 14,318 crore.
Some of the schemes of relatively new fund houses have given blockbuster returns with several of them coming from Quant Mutual Fund. As per the market estimates, ICICI Prudential Technology Fund, Quant Tax Plan Fund, PGIM India Midcap Opportunities Fund, Quant Infrastructure Fund and Quant Active Fund are the top five equity funds giving best returns ranging from 80 per cent to over 100 per cent.
Kotak Mahindra Mutual Fund, a major player in the segment, has the highest AUM of over Rs 2.58 lakh crore as of July 2021, 13 per cent higher than Rs 22.78 lakh crore, the Prime Database data showed.
According to Pranav Haldea, Managing Director of Prime Database Group, the higher growth rate of AUM of smaller fund houses is due to low base effect along with their identification of specialised offerings.
“One reason is low base effect, and second I think smaller fund houses have done a commendable job in terms of identifying niches where they have specialised,” he told IANS.
He further said that performance of these mutual funds along with the incumbent giants will continue to be robust.
“The sort of AUM growth which you have seen in the mutual fund industry in the five odd years, the AUM now stands at close to 35-36 lakh crores. So the growth of these smaller fund houses will also extract a fair share of that growth,” he said.
Haldea said that the growth will continue because there will be more channellising of retail savings into mutual funds going forward.
More and more retail investors in the last one and half years have come to the capital market as various other kinds of investment markets are not providing the investment returns that they are used to.
“So retail investors are increasingly looking at equity and the markets obviously are supportive and the markets are doing really well,” he said.
NS Venkatesh, Chief Executive, Association of Mutual Funds in India (AMFI) said: “Mutual Funds have emerged as the preferred savings-cum-investment avenue over the last few years, and the pandemic has actually triggered this shift towards Mutual Funds in a more pronounced way.”
This shift will continue in 2021 and beyond, accentuated by Sebi-driven initiatives towards transparency and disclosures, he said.
“Over the years, mutual fund industry too, has deepened its penetration, beyond top 15 cities, even as number of MF players has risen with new fund houses coming in to mutual fund industry, enabling steady but sure rise in the number of investors who have been embracing mutual funds as the preferred savings tool,” Venkatesh said.
The number of mutual fund investors in the country has doubled to 2.39 crore as of June 30, 2021 from 1.19 crore at the end of March 2017, thereby indicating that pandemic has actually had no impact on the inflows, he added.
The mutual fund industry AUM rose 4.9 per cent in July 2021 to a record Rs 35.3 lakh crore due to inflows into both equity funds and debt funds
An ICICI Direct Research report said that IT funds have been consistent outperformers in the last two to three years as the growth outlook improved for the sector in the post Covid world resulting in valuation re-rating of most stocks.
The sectors or segments like infrastructure, PSUs that lagged behind in the early part of the rally, have started to gain traction indicating the healthy trend of sector rotation, it said.
“Small cap funds have been consistent outperformers in the last one year after they were beaten down during the Covid pandemic induced market fall. Midcaps also followed small cap funds and have outperformed other categories. However, there seemed to be some profit booking recently as it underperformed in the last one month,” it said.