When choosing a mutual fund, there is no shortage of choices, but that can make it difficult to choose which one is right for you. Newer investment options are popping up all the time, offering alternatives to investors who want something different from the standard choices. So how do you know if these funds are ideal for you? To help investors navigate this changing world of funds, we’ve outlined what they need to know about new fund offerings and how they might impact their portfolios.
What is NFO or New Fund Offer?
An NFO is used to offer units in a mutual fund scheme to public investors for the first time. NFOs, other than ELSS can remain open for a maximum of 15 days.
Allotment of units or amount refund is done within 5 business days of closure of the scheme. Further, open-ended schemes re-open for sale and re-purchase within 5 business days of the allotment.
Three dates are relevant for the NFO of an open-ended scheme:
- NFO Open Date – This is the date from which investors can invest in the NFO
- NFO Close Date – This is the date upto which investors can invest in the NFO
- Scheme Re-Opening Date – This is the date from which the investors can offer their units for repurchase to the scheme (at the re-purchase price); or buy new units of the scheme (at the sale price, which is the NAV itself). The AMC announces Sale and Re-purchase prices from the Scheme’s Re-Opening Date.
For Close-ended Schemes, there is only the NFO Open Date and NFO Close Date. They do not have a Scheme Reopening Date, because the scheme does not sell or re-purchase units. Investors will need to buy or sell units in the stock exchange(s) where the scheme is listed.
Pros & Cons of investing in NFOs
There are various advantages and disadvantages of investing in an NFO. For instance, NFOs are launched based on unique investment opportunities or to capitalize on a potentially profitable idea. Hence, they allow investors to diversify their portfolios and explore new investment ideas.
However, since these funds are new products, they have no real track record and are difficult to evaluate in the early days. The more unique an NFO, the higher the risk of investing in untested strategies.
Key Questions to ask before buying into a New Fund
There are a few questions you should ask when considering whether to invest in an NFO. For example – How long you will be investing in this fund? What is the fund’s fee structure? What is the fund’s investment strategy? Additionally, here are some more points to consider before you invest in an NFO:
Reputation of the Fund House/AMC:
To ensure that your money is invested wisely, evaluate the performance of the fund house across market cycles and relative to its peers to determine whether it is a good investment.
Examine all of the scheme-related documentation extensively to understand how the fund is invested and how the investment process works. Make sure your investment objectives align with those of the mutual fund to make it a worthwhile investment for your portfolio.
Risk Tolerance Levels:
Investing in NFOs is a risky venture because it does not allow you to conveniently evaluate the performance track record of existing funds. Prior to investing in NFOs, you should assess the risk level of the scheme and whether it is in line with your risk taking capacity.
When investing in NFOs, the investment horizon is critical as some have lock-in periods during which you must remain invested for a specified duration. This implies you may not be able to withdraw your money before the maturity date, and you may be charged an exit fee. Look at these aspects carefully prior to investing in NFOs and ensure that your investments are consistent with your investment timeframe and objectives.
Some related terms
The fund house or AMC is the fund’s investment manager and carries out all the fund-related activities of the Mutual Fund, like the purchase and sale of securities in the portfolio of various Mutual Fund schemes launched by the Mutual Fund.
The investment objective outlines the financial objective the scheme intends to achieve and spells out the level of risk it is likely to assume while trying to achieve this objective.
The document that contains the details of a particular mutual fund scheme offered to the public for investing is known as an Offer Document or Prospectus.
An Open-ended Mutual Fund is one which is launched once the NFO ends and allows you to enter and exit the fund anytime you wish to post-launch.
A New Fund Offer or NFO refers to the initial launch of a mutual fund scheme by an asset management company or AMC. It is similar to an IPO in the share market, as NFOs are intended to raise capital for the fund and attract investors. However, they are marketed in a less aggressive manner than IPOs and are targeted towards certain select groups of investors. If you are looking to invest in an NFO, it is recommended that you should do adequate research such as checking the fund’s expense ratio and the performance of previous funds offered by the investment company.
Is it good to buy NFO?
New Fund Offers or NFOs are an excellent way to start investing as you do not have to put in much effort in it. They will help you understand the stock market before you yourself start investing.
Is NFO better than IPO?
Not necessarily. Just because the fund is new does not mean the stocks are new as well. Moreover, if the NFO is headed by an untested fund management team then things may become risky.
Can we withdraw money from NFO?
An NFO can be redeemed only after the end of its lock-in period which may range from 3 to 7 years.
What are the disadvantages of NFO?
Disadvantages of NFOs may include the fact that the particular portfolio is so far untested (unless other funds have succeeded using a similar portfolio already). Therefore, you may have to spend some time reading about the fund’s details before investing.