Sucheta Dalal :Will Birla MF’s CP Fund leave a hole in its capital?
Sucheta Dalal

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Will Birla MF’s Capital Protection Fund leave a hole in its capital?  

March 10, 2010

Birla Sun Life Mutual Fund (MF) is keen to attract fixed-deposit holders through its Capital Protection (CP) Fund and aims to mop up as much as Rs700 crore. According to sources, the company’s new fund offer (NFO), Birla Capital Protection Fund, had been extended to 10th March from 5th March as it was unable to meet its ambitious target. Birla MF is targeting close to Rs600-Rs700 crore and has so far managed to generate only Rs200 crore.

“The NFO was launched on 5 February 2010 and was scheduled to go on for a month. However, in view of the fewer days on account of holidays and breaks and to ensure convenience for investors, the due date was extended to 10th March. The NFO collection figures can only be verified after the scheme is closed for subscription, and the MIS is generated,” said a spokesperson for Birla MF.

While the fund is aggressively marketing the capital protection product, the irony is that the product will leave a hole in the capital of Birla Asset Management Company (AMC). Industry sources reveal that the company can earn 1.75% per annum in this product over a period of 27 months, which is the duration of the scheme. This means an earning of 3.9%. However, the cost of running the scheme will be much higher. Here is the math.

The processing charge for the issue will be about 0.3%. This leaves the AMC with 3.6% out of the fees. As against this, Birla MF will offer 2.75% as commission to distributors. That leaves it with 0.85%. If the Fund manages to raise, say, Rs500 crore from the scheme, its earnings over the 27 months will be just Rs4.25 crore. However, the Fund has already spent over Rs7 crore in advertisements and other promotional costs. This leaves the fund house with a large loss.

“The advertisement for the NFO had been done extensively with the aim of generating awareness for the Fund. The expense ratio that the Fund intends to charge the investor would be 1.5%,” added the company official. The official, however, declined to divulge any details of the Fund’s target or how the company would recover its advertisement costs.

“The advertisement charges are sometimes deducted from the scheme after some time. The NFO has collected around Rs220 crore,” said an independent financial advisor (IFA).

This would be hard in this kind of a Fund where returns are thin. The Fund will allocate 90% of the money to bonds and 10% to equity. It intends to reduce tax liability by the triple-indexation method. — Moneylife Digital Team

-- Sucheta Dalal