The Mutual Fund Show: Two Experts Suggest How To Look At Small-Cap Funds

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Amol, let’s talk about gold. The most common thing that everybody says is go out and buy a Gold ETF, and a lot of people have done that and maybe with the right advice too. I want to understand, aside of ETFs, what can a mutual fund investor do to take advantage of the rise in gold prices? Again, there is no saying that this is how gold prices will continue to behave. What’s your advice?

AMOL JOSHI: In my opinion, this is a very interesting question and there is more than one way that you can take benefit or rather, take exposure I would say in an asset allocation framework, you can take exposure to gold. First and foremost, as you mentioned ETFs, a lot of people have done it. Probably the biggest attraction of ETFs, is the low cost. If we go beyond low cost, if you go to a retail investor how retail invests and how most of the investors invest, they want to essentially take exposure via SIPs. Many of the brokers still—the brick and mortar or the older ones still do not offer the SIP facility. If you want to take exposure to gold via SIPs, you can simply go towards a gold saving fund. A gold saving fund is nothing but a mutual fund, which invests into Gold ETFs. So, here it is slightly costlier, of course, because it is not of an ETF structure. Other than ETFs, you can look at gold savings fund, that’s number one. Number two, why I mentioned this is, because it is a very interesting question. Although this is mutual fund show we can talk about something that truly benefits the clients so something like a Sovereign Gold Bond—this is really beneficial as it has various advantages. Any kind of financial product, if you look at it, there are costs. Sovereign Gold Bond is probably the only product that you can think of, which has no cost and on the top of it, it gives you 2.5% of annual interest and after everything is said and done, it is an ATM product. So, if you hold to maturity for a 5 or 6-8 year horizon, you do not have capital gains also. So, no expense ratio, 2.5% annual interest and you get gold pricing at the redemption, which is completely tax free. This is the second way. As I said there is more than one way of taking exposure to this theme. The third way is something which is thematic. We have discussed this many times on this very show about themes or sectors you can invest into. When gold prices rise, obviously, it does well, and gold mining companies also do well. I would say that you can take exposure to gold mining companies. Now, we don’t have a lot of gold mining companies in India. Most of the companies are international. You can take exposure to something like DSP World Gold Mining Fund, which invests into gold mining companies. But mind you, there is not just the risk of gold prices. There is associated equity risk as well. The companies are leveraged. If there were going to be a fall in the prices of equity or there were an equity crash, so to speak, even when the gold prices are robust, you will probably see a fall in prices of these shares and hence, the NAV will take a hit. So, these are the three options in addition to Gold ETFs what you can look at.

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