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Worldwide, there is a lot of hue and cry over high expense ratio that investment management firms charge for generating better than market return. Globally, funds are moving out of active strategies to low cost passive investing. The logic for these flows is often cited that value addition done by active mutual funds is small and uncertain vs the fees charged by them.
Talking in the Indian Context, The Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) wants to review whether Indian mutual funds are overcharging their customers by imposing a high total expense ratio (TER).
All of us perhaps do both, but we can’t deny we have a preference, a natural inclination. But it is not difficult to find out if we really fit Category 2 – just ask yourself when was the last time you made a real (not mental) list of things to buy before going shopping. Chances are that most of us will realize we belong to Category 1.
However, men, we suspect will be shouting in their heads, Category 1 describes women shoppers aptly, and we can’t belong to this category. Think about the stuff you buy and ask yourself did this feature on your shopping list.
The efficient market hypothesis (EMH) was developed by Eugene Fama who argued that stocks always trade at their fair value, making it impossible for investors to either purchase undervalued stocks or sell stocks for inflated prices. So it is better to buy and hold broad index fund rather than picking individual stocks. Fama believed that returns earned above the index are an outcome of pure luck. However, research indicated that there are sources of Alpha (excess returns over benchmark) in plain sight because of behavioural biases of market participants, or structural/liquidity issues of the market. These factors are acknowledged by Eugene Fama who went on to publish 5 factor model.
Markets have once again started correcting. This time it appears that correction is happening at much faster rate. This could be because there are real concerns on marco-economics side.Rising Crude Oil prices have always been a pain point for India as we are net importers (oil and Gold). This leads to pressure on dollar reserves and hence currency weakness. This increases cost of capital in the country and leads to fall in asset prices, in stocks and bonds.
Fishermen depend on luck, and the Vegetable Farmer depends on tending to the investment continuously to bear some result. Both have short-term perspectives and require continuous engagement. But here’s the catch – It has been proved that the probability of earning returns in the short-term is more like tossing a coin with 50-50 chance of getting the positive result. This is more like a computer picking up a stock for you.