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Purchasing a debt instrument is equivalent to lending money to the organisation issuing the instrument. Debt funds are low-risk mutual funds that invest the majority of their investors’ money in fixed-income instruments such as corporate bonds, government bonds (both state & central), treasury bills, commercial paper, and other money market products. The primary rationale for investing in debt funds is to produce a consistent interest income as well as capital appreciation. The interest rate and maturity duration of debt instruments are specified by the issuers. As a result, they are often referred to as ‘fixed-income’ securities.
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Debt Funds invests in a wide range of securities depending upon their credit ratings. The credit rating of a security indicates the risk of default in disbursing the returns guaranteed by the debt instrument issuer. A debt fund’s fund manager makes certain that it invests in high-quality credit securities. A better credit rating indicates that the company is more likely to pay interest on the debt security on a regular basis and also repay the principal when it matures.
Debt funds that invest in higher-rated assets are less volatile than debt funds that invest in lower-rated securities. Furthermore, maturity is affected by the fund manager’s investment strategy as well as the general interest rate regime in the economy. A low-interest-rate environment encourages fund managers to invest in long-term securities. A rising interest rate environment, on the other hand, stimulates him to invest in short-term assets.
Debt funds seek to maximise returns by investing throughout all asset classes. This enables debt funds to generate reasonable returns. The profits, however, are not assured. Debt fund returns are frequently predictable. As a result, they are more secure options for conservative investors. They are also appropriate for investors with both short & medium-term investment horizons. The short term spans 3 months to 1 year, whereas the medium period spans 3 years – 5 years.
Debt fund, such as liquid assets, could be a better investment for a short-term investor than putting your money in a savings account. Liquid funds provide greater yields in the region of 7 – 9%, as well as similar types of liquidity – fulfil emergency needs.
Debt funds, such as dynamic bond funds, are perfect for managing interest rate volatility for a medium-term investor. Debt bond funds outperform 5-year bank FDs in terms of returns. Monthly Income Plans could be an excellent alternative if someone wants to generate a consistent income from your assets. These funds are suitable for risk-averse investors since they invest in securities that pay a fixed rate of interest and repay the capital invested in full upon maturing.
As heretofore discussed, there are several kinds of debt mutual funds available to accommodate a wide range of investors. The maturity duration of the securities in which debt assets invest is the key distinguishing element. The following are the many types of debt funds:-
These funds are the ones that invest in securities with maturity spanning from 1 – 3 years. They put their money into government bonds, debt, and money market instruments. Short-term funds are suitable for cautious investors since interest rate changes have little impact on them. Short-term debt assets could be ideally suitable to investors with a low to moderate risk tolerance. When interest rates are high, these funds perform well. Short-term funds might be a fantastic investing choice if you have capital to invest for 9 – 12 months and a low-to-moderate risk appetite.
These have a shorter duration of maturity as well, usually less than one year. While the majority of the money is placed in ultra-short-term debt instruments, a minor proportion is also put in long-term assets. Ultra short-term funds are low risk and may be the ideal investment choice for people with a time horizon of 1 – 12 months.
These are ‘dynamic’ funds, as the name implies. In other words, the fund manager’s portfolio composition is always altering in response to the changing interest rate environment. Because dynamic bond funds take interest rate calls & invests in assets with longer and shorter maturities, their average maturity durations vary. Those with a moderate to high risk tolerance might consider investing in dynamic bond funds.
Income funds speculate on interest rates and invest mostly in debt assets with long maturity period. As a result, they are more stable than dynamic bond funds. Income funds have an average maturity of 5 – 6 years. Income funds invest in government securities and corporate bonds while keeping fluctuating interest rates in mind. As a result, people with a somewhat higher risk tolerance and longer investment horizons may be more suited to income debt fund investing.
Liquid funds invest in debt products having maturities of not more than 91 days. As a result, they are practically risk-free. Negative returns on liquid funds are uncommon. Such funds are superior than savings accounts because they provide comparable liquidity while yielding higher returns. Many mutual fund organizations provide rapid redemption on liquid fund investments using special debit cards. Treasury Bills, CDs, or Certificates of Deposit are used to make the investment. Liquid funds may be excellent investments for people who have capital lying idly in their bank accounts and wants to earn consistent profits.
Gilt Funds exclusively invest in government securities, which are high-rated and have a low credit risk. Gilt funds exclusively invest in government securities issued by the federal and state governments. The period of maturity ranges from medium to long-term . Because the government seldom defaults on the debt instruments it issues, gilt funds are an excellent option for risk-averse fixed-income investors. Gilt funds are appropriate for long-term investors that want government-backed investing alternatives.
These types of assets are more recent debt funds. A credit opportunities fund, unlike other debt funds, does not invest based on the maturities of debt instruments. Such funds attempt to achieve better returns by assuming credit risks or owning lower-rated bonds with greater interest rates. Credit opportunities funds are higher-risk debt funds. These are appropriate for individuals seeking better returns but are ready to assume some risk.
Fixed maturity plans (FMPs) are debt funds that are closed-ended. These funds also own fixed-income instruments like corporate bonds & government securities. All FMPs have a set time horizon during which someone money is locked in. This time span might be measured in months or maybe years. One may, however, only invest within the original offer time. It is similar to a fixed deposit in that it can provide superior, tax-efficient returns but cannot guarantee high returns. FMPs are an option for those who want to deposit their money for a set duration of time but are concerned about interest rate volatility.
Investing in debt funds can be complicated at times. If you lack sufficient financial expertise and are finding it hard to comprehend, please contact us. We provide expert-selected funds and the best services.
Read our article:What is an Exchange Traded Fund & how it’s different from Mutual Funds?
Akansha is a Delhi-based lawyer who is actively involved in publishing articles on a plethora of aspects of Indian and International laws. She holds Master in law (LL.M) focused on Business Laws from Amity University, Noida. Having expertise in the same, she has authored several publications on legal topics related to corporate, M&A and commercial laws.
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