Inflows into the equity mutual funds were down 22 per cent at ₹15,536 crore against ₹19,957 crore as investors preferred to book profit as key benchmark indices hit a new high.

All the equity schemes registered measured net inflows given investors concern on valuation. The small- and mid-cap funds registering highest flow of ₹3,699 crore (₹4,495 crore) and ₹2,665 crore (₹2,409 crore), while thematic and large- and mid-cap funds logged an inflow of ₹1,965 crore (₹3,896 crore) and ₹1,847 crore (₹1,734 crore), per data released by the Association of Mutual Funds in India on Friday.

Overall, assets under management of the industry zoomed to ₹49.04-lakh crore (₹46.72-lakh crore) aided by sharp rally in market and steady inflows.

Melvyn Santarita, Analyst, Morningstar Investment Research, said equity-oriented funds continued to witness net inflows for the 33rd consecutive month and last month it was aided by six new fund launches which garnered ₹1,907 crore.

Net flows seen in the mid-cap category was the highest-ever, while value or contra category received flow of ₹1,252 crore on back of investors’ concern over valuations, he added.

Hybrid funds received an inflow of ₹13,538 crore (₹9,907 crore) led by investments in arbitrage and multi-asset funds at ₹9,404 crore (₹5,523 crore) and ₹2,589 crore (₹2,410 crore).

The SIP contribution hit a new high of ₹17,073 crore (₹16,928 crore) through 7.44 crore SIP accounts. SIP asset touched a record high of ₹9.31-lakh crore (₹8.59-lakh crore).

G Pradeepkumar, CEO, Union Asset Management Company, said though there appears to be some profit booking, the SIP numbers have continued to grow, but investors should stagger their investments in small- and mid-cap funds on expectations of short-term volatility.

Debt funds registered an outflow of ₹4,707 crore (inflow of ₹46,634 crore) on pull-out from across schemes ahead of crucial RBI credit policy.

On relentless inflows in small-cap funds, NS Venkatesh, CEO, AMFI, said the small-cap index had risen by about 50 per cent and earlier it had fallen by 60 per cent, so there are investors who want to take advantage of last leg of opportunity available in this space. However, the exuberance and expectations need to be toned down in the small-cap investing, he said.

Anand Vardarajan, Business Head, Tata Asset Management, said arbitrage flows continue to be strong on back of attractive yields and tax benefit, while tight liquidity is pressurising flows into debt funds despite better yields.