MFs add Rs 4-trillion to kitty in 2016, eye Rs 20-trn mark in 2017

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Helped by growing interest from retail investors and aggressive buying of stocks,mutual fund industry grew at a rapid pace in 2016 with addition of almost Rs 4 lakh crore, or 28 per cent, to its asset base and is looking to cross Rs 20-trillion mark in the new year.

Having already attained a record asset under management (AUM) of Rs 16.5 lakh crore in November, the fund houses are looking to end the year 2016 with a total kitty of Rs 17.3 trillion, industry experts said.

Fund houses are also upbeat about the industry performance in the new year while expecting investment from new investors to fuel the growth of the sector.

Also, demonetisation of high-value currency notes could have a positive impact, with the industry betting big on conversion of cash assets into financial investments.

“The assets under management of the mutual fund industry is quite likely to cross the Rs 20 lakh crore mark in next year,” Quantum Mutual Fund Chief Executive Jimmy Patel said.

In 2016, the total AUM of all 43 active fund houses put together soared by around 28 per cent on strong inflows in equity, as per industry estimates.

This was the fourth consecutive yearly rise in the industry AUM, after a drop in the assets base for two preceding years.

“The equity market has overall been more volatile in 2016 than 2015 with a lot more negative sentiment. The AUM increase can be attributable more to investors staying invested and new investors coming in. Also, investors may have seen the volatility of this year as a positive to average out costs,” said Srikanth Meenakshi, COO at FundsIndia.com, an investment portal for MFs.

“The inflow in equity and equity-oriented schemes and the rise in number of investor accounts also helped in increasing the assets base in 2016. Further, retail investors also appear to have become savvier, using liquid schemes to either earn higher returns or run systematic transfer plans into equity funds to average costs,” he added.

The total industry AUM stood at Rs 13.41 lakh crore at the end of 2015 while the same was Rs 11.06 lakh crore at 2014-end. It was at Rs 8.26 lakh crore in 2013 and Rs 8.08 lakh crore at 2012-end. It stood at about Rs 6.11 lakh crore in 2011. The assets base was about Rs 6.26 lakh crore in 2010 and Rs 6.65 lakh crore in 2009.

2016, however, saw some exits, including by way of mergers and acquisitions. Those having exited the Indian mutual fund space are JP Morgan MF and Peerless Group.

Patel said consolidation is likely to continue next year too and some non-committed or less serious sponsors will exit owing to the stringent net worth requirement of Rs 50 crore.

“Rising cost structure, mainly on account of increasing compliance and manpower costs, will strain economies of survival. Unavailability of trained manpower is also a concern,” he added.