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How Business Today-Value Research ranked India's best mutual funds 2014

BT Fund Awards have been conceived to solve a specific problem that investors have. The problem is simple - there are too many funds of varied kind and investors don't know how to begin understanding this universe.

     Last Updated: May 20, 2014  | 15:04 IST

BT Fund Awards have been conceived to solve a specific problem that investors have. The problem is simple - there are too many funds of varied kind and investors don't know how to begin understanding this universe. They don't have a framework within which to map their investing needs to the bewildering variety of funds that exist. There's no clear way to know which funds should fit into this framework and which should be ignored.
 
For two decades now, Value Research has been working to bring order to this chaos. Over these years, we have evolved two different ways of classifying mutual funds. One is based on what investments funds invest in, and the other on what need they fulfill for the investor. An example of a category by the former system is 'Equity: Large and Mid-cap' while one from the latter is 'Growth'. The former system is intended for experienced or professional investors and the latter for someone who just wants a solution to his needs without getting too deeply into the nitty-gritty.

To simplify it further, we have kept all niche fund categories out of our framework. These include the sector and thematic funds which ordinary investors should anyway keep away from. Here is a brief note on fund categories:

AGGRESSIVE GROWTH - UNIVERSE OF MULTI-CAP, MID- AND SMALL-CAP FUNDS.

Diversified equity funds with an average allocation of 40 to 60 per cent of their assets to large-cap stocks, based on the half-yearly full portfolios of the past three years have been classified as multi-cap funds. While those with an average allocation of less than 40 per cent to large-cap stocks were classified as mid- and small-cap funds.

GROWTH - UNIVERSE OF LARGE AND LARGE AND MID-CAP FUNDS.

Diversified equity funds with an average allocation of 60 to 80 per cent of their assets to large-cap stocks, based on the half-yearly full portfolios of the past three years have been classified as large and mid-cap funds. While those with an average allocation of more than 80 per cent to large-cap stocks were classified as large cap funds.

CONSERVATIVE GROWTH - UNIVERSE OF BALANCED FUNDS.

This included the set of equity-oriented hybrid funds. The funds with an average equity exposure of more than 60 per cent based on the last three years' full portfolios were classified as balanced funds.

INCOME - UNIVERSE OF MEDIUM AND LONG-TERM BOND FUNDS.

All the income and gilt funds as per their stated objectives were considered in this category. These funds have the leeway to move full into cash or go to any extremes of the maturity band, based on the interest rate outlook of the fund manager.

CASH - UNIVERSE OF LIQUID AND ULTRA-SHORT FUNDS.

This peer set includes all the liquid funds (funds with up to 91 days of average maturity) and ultra short-term funds which keep a very low maturity but do not qualify the legal definition of liquid funds and hence have a lower dividend distribution tax applicable for non-liquid funds.

We applied our proprietary risk-adjusted rating model for the above investor-centric fund classification to choose the best funds for your financial goals. The Rating is a composite measure of both returns and risk. This single measure combines the Value Research Fund Risk Grade and the Value Research Fund Return Grade to give an indication of a fund's risk-adjusted return. This rating is purely quantitative and there is no subjective component to it. It is a unified performance measure and summarizes how a fund has performed historically, relative to the other funds in its category, for the risks it has taken.

The Fund Ratings are based on trailing three-year performance of each fund vis-a-vis other funds in each category. Any fund which is not three-year old has not qualified for rating.  Also, a fund with less than Rs 100 crore of average assets under management in the past six months has not been considered.
 
The Value Research Fund Rating is determined by subtracting the fund's Risk Score from its Return Score. The resulting number is then rated according to the following distribution.

***** Top 10%
**** Next 22.5%
*** Middle 35%
** Next 22.5%
* Bottom 10%

The Value Research Fund Risk Grade captures the fund's risk of loss. It is different from the conventional risk and volatility measures like standard deviation and beta as it indicates only downside volatility. The latter refers to absolute losses and even periods when the fund underperforms a risk-free guaranteed investment. The rationale: you can always get a guaranteed return by investing in a risk-free guaranteed investment like a bank term-deposit. The risk of investing in a mutual fund not only includes the possibility of losing money, but also the chance of earning less than you would have on a guaranteed investment.

To calculate Fund Risk, monthly/weekly fund returns are compared against the monthly risk-free return for equity and hybrid funds and weekly risk-free return for debt funds. Risk-free return is defined as State Bank's 45-180 days Term Deposit Rate. For all months/weeks the fund has underperformed the risk-free return, the magnitude of underperformance is added. This helps us to arrive at the average underperformance and how the fund has performed vis-a-vis its category average. The relative performance of the fund is expressed as a risk score.

The Value Research Fund Return Grade captures a fund's risk-adjusted return in comparison to other funds in the category. The returns though adjusted for dividend, bonus or rights, are not adjusted for loads. The fund's monthly/weekly return is compared with the monthly/weekly risk-free return to arrive at the fund's total return in excess of the risk-free return. The monthly average risk-adjusted return is compared with the average category return to arrive at the returns score.

The overall scores - arrived at after deducting the risk score from the returns score - have been multiplied by 100 to make them more readable.

OTHER CATEGORIES:

Best Fund House
Best Equity Fund Manager
Best Debt Fund Manager

1. For the above exercise, only mainstream funds were considered. This meant exclusion of niche and peripheral categories and fund categories which are fairly commoditized by their very design.

THE UNIVERSE

Equity: Large and Mid Cap
Equity: Large Cap
Equity: Mid and Small Cap
Equity: Multi Cap
Equity: Tax Planning
Equity: Infrastructure
Hybrid: Equity-oriented
Hybrid: Debt-oriented Conservative
Hybrid: Debt-oriented Aggressive
Hybrid: Arbitrage
Hybrid: Asset Allocation
Debt: Income
Debt: Short Term

EXCLUDED CATEGORIES:

Debt: FMP
Debt: Gilt Medium and Long Term
Debt: Gilt Short Term
Debt: Liquid
Debt: Ultra Short Term
Equity: Banking
Equity: FMCG
Equity: International
Equity: Others
Equity: Pharma
Equity: Technology
Gold: Funds
Hybrid: Others

2. The exercise was based on the quarterly performance over the past five years (20 quarters). Each quarterly performance of a fund was assigned a quartile rank in their respective categories.

BEST FUND HOUSE

The fund house with relatively highest top quartile performance was adjudged the best.
Fund companies with less than Rs 500 crore assets under management and companies which started in the past five-year were not considered.

BEST EQUITY AND DEBT FUND MANAGER

The fund manager with relatively highest top quartile performance was adjudged the best fund manager. This was irrespective of his job change, i.e. if a fund manager moved from one fund to another, he was attributed the fund performance for his term across fund houses. Managers with less than Rs 100 crore under management were excluded. Fund managers with a minimum five-year track record were only considered.

 

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