I have always said that investing in Indian mutual funds is a dumb idea given the lack of regulation , under performance, high fees and front running and fraud conducted by mutual fund managers. It is best to invest in a good ETF with low fees such as the Nifty Bees ETF which was one […]

Mutual Fund Companies have seen a steady growth driven by the growing financial assets being generated by the fast growing Indian economy.But the Mutual Fund Industry like other sectors such as Real Estate and Telecom too has come under the spotlight for some illegal activity.While you can’t call the industry corrupt because of some fraudulent activities it does raise questions on the industry ethics.Top Mutual Funds in the country like HDFC and L&T have been fined by the stock market regulator SEBI for front running.For those who don’t understand what the term means,front running is an illegal activity whereby a fund manager or fund official makes personal gains by making trades on his account before doing a trade for the fund.This causes losses for the fund investor and is akin to stealing.However like other corrupt practices in the stock market industry,SEBI lets them go with small fines which don’t deter more such frauds.It is also not unknown that some fund managers connive with company promoters and market operators to rig and do circular trading.Not only is this a problem,another massive problem with the industry is its underperformance as compared to the benchmarks.While earlier mutual funds were known to outperform the benchmarks like the Nifty,a recent Crisil study has dispelled this myth.Given these disadvantages of mutual fund ,it is time to invest in Indian ETFs though not a lot of variety exists in the Indian stock market yet.

Mutual Funds are one of the most common ways to invest in equity and debt and a large mutual fund industry is involved in this endeavour.There are large number of high paying professions in Wall Street which depend on the mutual fund industry which include stock brokers and sales persons.However the amount of cost of mutual funds is not proportionate to the gains they give out.This is the reason that Exchange Traded Funds (ETFs) and passive funds which have lower expense ratios and expenses are gaining billions of dollars in money.The reason is that a large number of mutual funds regularly underperform the benchmarks.This has caused massive heartburn amongst investors who have to pay large amounts of fees for the services of the professional fund managers.This has been the trend historically and found amongst numerous countries as well.Besides the costs of the sales and distribution of these mutual fund with their hefty commissions also falls on the investor ultimately.However the prevailing custom of investing in mutual funds is not easily broken despite the underperformance of the mutual fund industry.Most of the advantages of mutual fund can now be found in ETFs which have much lower costs.They also remove the disadvantages such as the possibility of a bad mutual fund manager.

Indian equity investing through offshore funds might not be the best idea as these funds have underperformed the benchmarks by putting too much weight on infrastructure and capital goods sector.Note lured by the $500 billion investment target for Indian infrastructure,an Indian infra ETF INXX was also launched at a ludicrous valuation.However the endemic corruption in India with scams related to major infrastructure sectors like Real Estate,Telecom popping up everyday,its not a surprise that the stocks have tanked.Note investing in the Indian stocks markets is hazardous with issues like insider trading,pump and dump schemes quite rampant.The risks of corruption are huge and even top asset managers like Goldman,GMO have become victims of fly by night operators just like a simple retail investor.