Mutual Funds

Inform funds of new residential status

Vidya Bala | Updated on July 21, 2012

New residential status has tax implications

I am a non-resident Indian investing Rs 30,000 a month in mutual funds in India. I have SIPs in the following funds: Rs 5,000 each every month in HDFC Top 200 Fund, DSP BlackRock Top100 Fund, SBI Emerging Businesses and UTI MNC Fund, all under growth options.

I also have some investments in DSPBR Balanced (Rs 1.25 lakh) but would like to close this and start SIPs in HDFC Balanced at Rs 5,000 a month.

I have parked Rs 50,000 in Reliance Gold Savings Fund and would like to invest more. But I cannot invest in these SIPs after December 2013 as I will settle down in India after that. But I can keep the funds locked for three to five years. I am also planning to hold Rs 15,000-20,000 in bank deposits — one half in a recurring deposit and the other as contingency fund. Please review my investments. — Jim Paul 

You have mentioned that you are investing Rs 30,000 a month in mutual funds. But the SIPs you have mentioned total only to Rs 20,000. Besides, you have not mentioned either your age or your risk appetite. We assume that you have moderate risk appetite. Your planned holding period also provides some leeway to take risks.

Of the funds you hold, both HDFC Top 200 and DSPBR Top 100 are large-cap focussed funds. One large-cap fund should suffice. While HDFC Top 200 is a well-established fund, to provide a more diversified portfolio, we suggest you switch to HDFC Equity. SBI Magnum Emerging Business is a mid-cap fund. If you think you are game for sharp falls in market corrections, hold it. The fund, though, has performed well in the recent market volatility as well as in periods of rallies.

MNC funds performed well as markets favoured cash-rich, debt-free multi-national companies that also generated decent earnings growth. But these stocks have run up sharply and look richly valued. Hence, as a theme, it may be a little late to be investing in these funds. Exit it and instead switch to UTI Opportunities.

DSPBR Balanced has slackened its performance record in recent times. Some of the stock choices, especially large-cap stocks, have not worked in its favour. But its sector choices per se are not too different from its peers. If you do not wish to provide a quarter or two to watch for any improvement in performance, you can switch to HDFC Balanced and/or Canara Robeco Balance. Invest half as lump sum and park the rest in the same fund house’s liquid fund and use a systematic transfer plan.

Ensure that you do not invest over 10 per cent of your total assets in gold. You can continue to do SIPs or hold Reliance Gold Savings as long as you maintain this proportion.

Moving to India

We suppose you will stop working when you come back to India and cannot spare money for SIPs.

We are not sure when you started the SIPs. If you complete at least three years of SIPs in December 2013, it is fine. Otherwise, you may not have optimally averaged rupee costs. But since you have little choice, continue the investments for as long as you can and hold the funds after that for three to five years as planned by you.

We are not sure if you mean that Rs 15,000-20,000 is the amount you can spare for both recurring deposits and a contingency fund together. It appears to be a low sum, especially for emergencies. You can ideally park an amount equal to three to six months’ expenses in your savings account with a provision to sweep it to deposits and withdraw it as and when you need.

NRI status

Remember to consult a tax expert as to when your status will change to ‘resident Indian’. You will be required to intimate all your fund houses as well as change the nature of your local bank accounts if any. This will have tax implications as well.

Published on July 21, 2012

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