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Fixed Income

Retail Investors Are More Interested in Debt than Equity, Investor Count Falling Since 2009

Since 2009, retail individual investors seem to have lost interest in mutual funds. AMFI data shows the total number of folio numbers to have reduced 10% since 2009, down to 3.3 crore folios.

Note: The listed folios are under the headings of “Retail” and “High Networth Investors”. HNIs are those that have more than Rs. 500,000 in mutual funds, which is low enough to be called “Retail”.

Number of Total Mutual Fund Folios: Capital Mind

This data is revealed half-yearly, and the latest was on March 31. Many mutual funds have been trying to remove inactive folios and merge others so there is a lot of duplication here, however the impact can’t be much.

From a money perspective, mutual fund assets (retail+HNI) have grown since 2009.

Total Mutual Fund Money Managed (Retail+HNI) : Capital Mind

The growth rate seems to have tracked the stock market indexes, which have doubled since 2009, meaning that new money isn’t really coming in? Actually it’s worse – money has been leaving equity funds.

Interestingly, Individual investors now have more money in debt funds than equity funds for the first time since reporting started.

Retail Money in Types of Mutual Funds

Of course, most of the debt money in with HNIs, but this means the tide is starting to turn. It makes a lot of sense for individual investors to put money into debt funds in an interest rate+inflation cycle that guarantees nearly 9% tax free returns.

But this data tells you: even though the market is about 50% higher than September 2009, and most retail assets are in equity oriented funds, equity fund assets are lower now. Which means retail investors have pulled out money and the assets remain high purely because markets have grown.

What will it take to get investors interested in funds again? Please don’t ask for the return of high commissions.

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