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Equity Savings Schemes Funds | Features, Purpose, Advantages and Disadvantages

Last Updated : 18 Oct, 2023
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What are Equity Savings Schemes Funds?

Equity Savings Funds are hybrid mutual funds that invest nearly the same proportion of their assets in equities, FD-like instruments, and safe hedge funds. These funds typically offer higher returns than bank Fixed Deposits with equivalent conditions. Essentially, equity savings funds generate returns through investments in equity, debt, and arbitrage opportunities. This last feature distinguishes them from other hybrid funds. Essentially, the fund manager seeks to capitalise on pricing inefficiencies in the cash and derivatives markets. Thus, the fund’s overall exposure to stocks is partly hedged, decreasing its risk compared to a risky hybrid fund, in which the equity exposure is unhedged in its totality. It is commonly known as ESS funds.


Features of Equity Savings Schemes Funds

The features of ESS are as follows:

1. Asset Allocation: ESS Funds usually invest in a mixture of equity securities, debt instruments, and arbitrage opportunities that coincide with a specified asset allocation strategy. The precise allocation to each asset class may differ between funds.

2. Hybrid Nature: ESS Funds are regarded as hybrid funds because their portfolios contain both equity and debt investments. This hybrid structure is intended to offer investors an optimal risk-return balance.

3. Risk Management: The proportion of assets allocated to debt instruments and potential arbitrage serves to reduce the fund’s overall fluctuations and mitigate downside risk. This may make ESS Funds a better choice for investors who are risk-averse or cautious.

4. Diversification: ESS Funds typically keep a diverse mix of securities across different industries and categories of assets, thereby mitigating the risk of limited choices.

Purpose of Equity Savings Schemes Funds

Equity Savings Schemes (ESS) Funds offer investors a blend of equity and debt exposure, aiming to balance volatility with stability, with primary benefits including capital appreciation and income generation.

ESS has different components with specific purposes. The equity portion helps protect the investor’s purchasing power, while the debt and arbitrage portions act as a cushion against market fluctuations.

E.g. if an investor holds this scheme for six months and experiences a 10% decline in portfolio value, the returns from the debt and arbitrage segments can help minimize the loss. If the debt segment generates 6% annual returns and the arbitrage segment brings about 6.5% returns, the investor’s loss will be reduced to some extent. In comparison, balanced funds or equity market schemes would have generated negative returns in this scenario, depending on the stocks in the portfolio. Overall, the equity savings scheme provides a more stable option.

The purpose of ESS is as follows:

1. Mitigating Risk: ESS Funds invest part of their holdings in equity, which offers the potential for higher returns, and a part in debt, which offers safety and earnings. This balanced approach reduces risk in general compared to investing exclusively in stocks.

2. Capital Appreciation: By involving investments in stocks, ESS Funds seek to provide the possibility of capital appreciation over time. Investors can profit from prospective stock market gains while hedging against market falls with debt investments.

3. Diversification of Funds: ESS Funds generally make investments in a diverse set of equity and debt securities, thus distributing risk across a number of asset classes and instruments. Diversifying lowers the impact of a single investment’s poor performance.

4. Income Generation: The debt part of the ESS Funds yields regular interest and dividend income. This can be alluring to investors seeking a stable income stream in addition to the possibility of capital gains.

5. Professionally Managed: ESS Funds are overseen by qualified fund managers who make investment choices on the basis of their knowledge and research, which may result in superior investment decisions than individual investors could make on their own.

6. Taxability: With ESS, a specific portion of the equity is treated as security in order to maximize the returns on an investment portfolio. Together with the derivative exposure, this equity is therefore deemed to be equity allocations, and these investments are considered equity assets. Consequently, equity savings funds are also considered equity funds for tax purposes. Therefore, investors are subject to taxes that vary.

Who should invest in Equity Savings Schemes Funds?

1. Investors Seeking Stock Market Exposure: These funds are the ideal means of investment for investors who seek exposure to stocks but lack the capacity for long-term investments. These are low-risk funds that, unlike other equity assets, are designed to generate fixed returns.

2. Investors Seeking Regular Returns: In addition, few of these funds seek to support investors with regular dividend income, despite the fact that they have no obligation to do so.

3. Investors Seeking Risk Averse Fund: Consequently, investors who lack the ability to endure the ups and downs of the stock market will find equity savings mutual funds to be suitable for their requirements.

4. Investors Seeking an Alternative tospecific Traditional Options: In addition, new investors who wish to deviate from traditional investments might consider the ESS portfolio.

5. Investors with Small Investment Horizon: In addition, investors with an investment horizon of less than 24 months can meet their requirements with this type of investment option.

Before investing, one should keep in mind that these funds are not suitable replacements for other funds with purely stock holdings, particularly for long-term investment portfolios.

Factors to consider before investing in Equity Savings Schemes Funds

As with any investment decision, investing in Equity Savings Schemes (ESS) Funds requires careful consideration of several factors to guarantee that the investment aligns with your financial objectives, level of risk aversion, and overall investment strategy. Before investing in ESS Funds, investors should consider the following factors:

1. Investment Objectives: The investor must clearly define the investment’s objectives and aims. You may be interested in appreciation of capital, steady revenue, tax reductions, or a mix of these. Identifying your objectives will help you in selecting the appropriate ESS Fund.

2. Risk Tolerance: The investor needs to evaluate their risk tolerance objectively. Even though ESS Funds tend to be less risky than pure equity funds, they still bear a degree of risk due to their stock exposure. It should be verified that your risk aversion corresponds with the risk assessment of ESS Funds.

3. Exit Load: The investor needs to check to see if the fund imposes an exit load, that is a fee levied if you withdraw your investment within a particular time frame. Knowing the exit burden can aid in the planning of your investment horizon.

4. Consult a Financial Advisor: Consider consulting with a skilled fund manager or planner. They can assist you in evaluating your financial standing and recommending ESS Funds that are compatible with your total financial strategy.

Advantages of Investing in Equity Savings Schemes Funds

For investors pursuing a balanced investment strategy with exposure to both equity and debt assets, making investments in Equity Savings Schemes (ESS) Funds provides several benefits. Listed below are some of the primary benefits of investing in ESS Funds:

1. Risk Mitigation: ESS Funds provide a balanced approach to mitigating risk by distributing assets to both equities and debt. This reduces the total risk when compared with investing solely in stocks, which makes them suitable for investors who are risk-averse.

2. Capital Appreciation: The investors in ESS Funds may benefit from the possible capital appreciation of the portfolio’s equity holdings. This affords the opportunity for the investment’s long-term growth.

3. Diversification: These funds keep diversified holdings across asset classes and markets. This diversification helps disperse risk and diminishes the impact of losses in one specific investment.

4. Shield from Market Fluctuations: Because of their diversified strategy, ESS Funds are typically more stable than pure equity funds. This could help investors avoid extreme equity market fluctuations or also save them from extreme changes in the market.

Disadvantages of Investing in Equity Savings Schemes Funds

Given below are some disadvantages of ESS :

1. Interest Rate Risk: The ESS Funds’ debt component subjects investors to interest rate risk. As soon as interest rates rise, the market price of presently held bonds and debt securities typically decreases, which can affect the NAV (Net Asset Value) of the fund.

2. Exit Loads: If you sell the shares within a certain time frame, certain ESS Funds might charge exit charges or redemption fees. Investors must be informed of these charges and their potential impact on investment decisions.

3. Inflation Risk: ESS Funds can sometimes fail to maintain pace with inflation, especially if the expected return from the investment’s debt portion is lower than the increase in the cost of living.

4. Lack of Control: When you make an investment in a mutual fund, including ESS Funds, you transfer control to fund managers. This indicates that you have limited influence over individual investment decisions.

When considering ESS Funds, investors must thoroughly evaluate their financial objectives, risk tolerance, and investment horizon. In addition, conducting extensive research, examining the fund’s prospectus, and consulting a financial advisor can assist you in making well-informed investment decisions.

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