Comparative Study of Mutual Funds and Bank Deposits

9 September 2016

Compare which is better! Comparison between mutual funds and fixed deposits is a long debate, especially when it comes to a comparison between fixed deposits and debt mutual funds. Even a few years ago, any conservative and risk averse investor would think investing in bank fixed deposits is better than mutual funds (debt or otherwise). Nevertheless, the market scenario has changed a lot in the recent years, and many a mutual funds family has come up with interest debt mutual fund schemes with guaranteed returns alongside capital appreciations.

This makes the comparison between debt mutual funds versus fixed deposits more complex, and even the most risk averse investor (count my father! ) is led to think twice. That being said, whether you should invest in bank fixed deposits or debt mutual funds is no more a simple question as it used to be five-six years back, and needs a detailed examination and explanation.

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And, we at Mutual Funds Manager are here again to help you with a neutral comparison between fixed deposits and mutual funds. Aren’t we great? 🙂 So, mutual funds and fixed deposits, which is better?

While only you can finally decide whether mutual funds or fixed deposit where to invest — depending on your risk taking abilities, return expectations, and investment horizons — let us try to analyse some key factors one by one and chalk out a comparison between bank FD and mutual funds. 1. Return on investments vary for mutual funds, but not bank deposits Needless to repeat, bank deposits offer you a fixed percentage of return, as would be agreed upon by the investor and the bank at the time of the investment.

For example, if you put 50 thousand rupees in FD for 5 years and the agreed interest rate is 8% per annum, you will continue to enjoy the same interest rate throughout the tenure. On the other hand, debt mutual funds have no assured rate, and the return on investment for debt mutual funds depend completely on the market and the performance of the fund. Fluctuations in the money market impacts the NAV of the fund, thereby altering returns. Thus, a great advantage of bank fixed deposits is that, you will continue to earn the same interest rates even if the market goes down.

Nevertheless, this very advantage of fixed deposits over mutual funds can actually turn out to be their great disadvantage. If the market goes up mutual funds will give more returns accordingly, but your FD will continue to yield in the same old rate. So, the actual question becomes, whether there is any chance of the Indian market going up in near future, especially following the recent recession? Yes, there is. At least, we think so. Market researches and predictions indicate that the Indian money market will go up in 2013, may get stagnant for a while in 2014, then taking another upward curve.

Mutual Funds Manager’s Recommendation: For longer tenures, mutual funds are as good as fixed deposits, if not better. 2. Comparison between mutual funds & fixed deposits: Inflation adjustment Inflation adjustment is a very important point while comparing mutual funds and fixed deposits. FDs don’t come with inflation adjustment guarantees, and if the interest rate is lower than the inflation rate, you actually end up losing the value of your money. In the FY 2011-12, the inflation rate in India was 7%, while the interest rate for around 1 year tenure was something around 7% as well [6. % for ICICI and HDFC banks, 6. 75% for Citibank and HSBC, 7. 10% for Axis and Yes Bank and so on.

Higher rates are there, but for lump-sum investments like 1 crore. ]. Thus, if you have invested in bank FDs for the last FY, you either failed to beat inflation or ended up with minimal inflation adjusted positive returns. On the other hand, at least half a dozen mutual funds yielded returns greater than 8% (some as high as 12-14%), thereby giving you handsome inflation adjusted returns. Usually, mutual funds outrun inflation and always give positive, real returns.

Mutual Funds Manager’s Recommendation: Unless your fixed deposits give high interest rates like 9-9. 5%, mutual funds are better. 3. Mutual funds and fixed deposits: Capital appreciation When it come to capital appreciation, mutual funds are better than fixed deposits, because of the equity investment. In longer time periods, market changes result in increasing interest rates. And, your mutual funds manager is there with all the expertise and professionalism to ensure a better capital appreciation. Mutual Funds Manager’s Recommendation: Debt funds. No second thought. 4. Mutual funds or fixed deposits, which one is more liquid?

In terms of liquidity, these days both fixed deposits and mutual funds are almost same. Fixed deposits are actually meant for long lock in periods, but most banks allow premature withdrawals with a nominal penalty (usually 1%). The interest rate calculation for bank fixed deposit withdrawals is done on how long the money was parked. Mutual funds are equally liquid; you can take out any number of units within a couple of days. The return for premature withdrawal of mutual funds units is done on the prevalent NAV of the fund. Usually, there is an exit load of 1% for premature withdrawals before 1 year.

Mutual Funds Manager’s Recommendation: Almost equal. For premature withdrawals beyond 1 year, mutual funds are slightly better because of nil exit load. 5. Risk factor of mutual funds and fixed deposits The only reason why most investors prefer fixed deposits to debt mutual funds is the assured return of the capital. On the other hands, returns from investments in mutual funds are subject to the volatility of the market, and may result in low or even negative returns. An investor should be wise enough to judge the quality of the investment instrument and thereby minimizing risk factors.

Mutual Funds Manager’s Recommendation: For an extremely risk averse investor, fixed deposits are the only risk-free investment options. However, less risk means less return. Now, you decide! 6. Cost of investments in mutual funds and bank fixed deposits Investing in bank fixed deposits costs nothing. On the other hand, there is a minimum charge for mutual funds investments management and fund distribution, borne by the investor irrespective of returns. In other words, no matter whether your return on mutual funds investments is positive or negative, you have to bear an expense as the fees of fund management.

Sometimes, entry loads are there as well, but quite rarely. Mutual Funds Manager’s Recommendation: Fixed deposits, since they have no entry load or management charges. 7. Tax benefits of debt mutual funds and bank fixed deposits Fixed deposits interests are considered incomes and come under income taxes (if you are taxable, of course). Moreover, there is a TDS (Tax Deducted at Source) at the rate of 10. 3% p. a. if your total cumulative interest on all FD is more than Rs. 10,000 in any financial year. Similarly, short term capital gains of debt funds are considered income and are accordingly taxable.

For long term capital gains, tax is 10% without indexation or 20% with indexation. However, dividends received on debt mutual funds are tax free. Mutual Funds Manager’s Recommendation: Mutual funds are better than fixed deposits in terms of tax benefits, unless the latter offers any special scheme that is exempted from IT. So, should you invest in mutual funds or fixed deposits? We repeat, this decision is yours. If you are young and come from the average middle and upper middle class (at least), you can supposedly take more risk and should go for investing in mutual funds.

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Comparative Study of Mutual Funds and Bank Deposits. (2016, Sep 17). Retrieved October 11, 2019, from
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