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September 4, 2020

FUTURE OF INVESTING

The way we make personal investment decisions should evolve with time considering the emerging trends and upcoming developments in India and globally. We have outlined a few important aspects demonstrating the future of investing.

Increasing significance of Financial Assets

Physical assets such as real estate & precious metals (gold & silver) have been lucrative investment avenues pursued often over time. Financial assets, comprising of investments in fixed income, equity, insurance, precious metals in dematerialized form etc. have started gaining increasing significance. Several reasons for such a transition are discussed below.

  • Liquidity: In these challenging times, liquidating physical assets, especially real estate, is becoming extremely challenging considering the market scenario. As compared to that, any financial assets can be liquidated virtually at anytime from anywhere without any major efforts.
  • Management: Managing & maintaining physical assets not only demands resources, but also a lot of time and energy. For medical professionals engaged in their busy work schedules, it becomes utmost difficult to spare precious time at the cost of their professional and personal life.
  • Next generation: The next generation is lacking the interest for managing physical assets. Moreover, they look for professional opportunities across the globe and do not prefer to remain confined to a particular geography. With such ideology, it becomes even more difficult to manage & liquidate inherited physical assets from a distant place.

Evaluating returns in equity products

In the current times of volatile equity markets, coupled with access to investment valuations on a daily basis because of technological support, investors are evaluating returns over shorter time frames and are dissatisfied with the performance of equity products.

Equity as an asset class for investments through structured routes (PMS, mutual fund, etc.) requires a time horizon of at least 5 years to deliver its performance. Any analysis and comparison before that is premature and not a worthwhile option. There has been a lot of discussion on the unsatisfactory SIP (Systematic Investment Plan) returns in the last few years in media. However, investment through the SIP route is for wealth creation over longer time horizons ( above 10 years) and evaluating returns in such short time frames is not a good idea.

Investment in equity products are bound to undergo a lot of ups and downs. Remaining patient across time is an important characteristic to build wealth in equity. Moreover, comparison of such products with direct equity investments should be made over longer times and taking a call based on short-lived movements can turn out to be a hasty decision.

Investment in Precious Metals 

In the current pandemic crisis, precious metals such as gold and silver have delivered extraordinary returns as asset classes. The same trend was witnessed during the global financial crisis in 2008. This proves the fact that certain allocation towards precious metals can act as a shield during such uncertain times in financial markets.

Considering the inconvenience and limitations of investing in precious metals in physical form as discussed earlier, investment through a digital mode (financial assets) can be a worthwhile option. To invest in gold, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has introduced Sovereign Gold Bonds (SGB) in different series with a fixed maturity which is tax free in the hands of investor on maturity. Such bonds are also tradeable on the stock exchange and deliver a fixed interest of 2.5% p.a. on the issue price.

To have an allocation in other precious metals like silver, platinum, etc. there are Exchange Traded Funds (ETFs) in foreign markets which invest in such metals completely. The movement of those ETFs are in absolute tandem with the price of silver in the international markets.

Under the present regulatory regime, Indian investors can directly invest in shares of U.S. ETFs from India in a seamless manner.

Global Investing 

Since several years, we advise everyone (including non-residents) to invest in the emerging markets, i.e. India. However, geographical portfolio diversification, which is attained by way of global investing involves diversifying investments across geographies is the order of the day for matured investors today globally.

Global investing not only avoids country-specific risks such as political issues, bad monsoon, border tension, etc. but also builds an investment in foreign currency (USD) which has a history of appreciation vis-à-vis the Indian currency (INR). This corpus in foreign currency can also be utilized for future expenditures like foreign education, immigration, etc. It is a means to participate some of the most renowned brands that we use in our day to day lives at attractive valuations.

Under the present regulatory regime, Indian investors can directly invest in shares of U.S. based companies from India or they can also engage by investing through international mutual funds in India.

According to Shankar Sharma, an acclaimed global investor & advisor, “You must avoid single country, single currency, single asset risks at all costs.”

Attractive fixed income options 

Fixed income investments have been a traditional and safe way of investing for several of the investors in India. Over and above the bank Fixed Deposits (FDs), several other avenues have emerged in the fixed income space in the recent times with attractive returns.

For investors in the highest tax brackets, tax-free bonds of Public Sector Undertaking of the Govt. of India are a secured way of investing giving a tax-free interest return to the investor. The Yield to Maturity (YTM) or the net return from such investments is greater than majority if the traditional FDs.

Continuing with the FD avenue of investment, corporate Fixed Deposits (FDs) of several credible Non-Banking Financial Corporations (NBFCs) offer better returns than the bank-based FDs. Such issuing NBFCs are backed by business groups having a long and respectable legacy.

CONCLUSION

Just as adapting to the changing trends in our respective profession is the need of the hour to remain relevant, it is also important to remain in sync with the evolving trends for our personal investments to build an investment portfolio that makes the most of all available opportunities; along with ensuring absolute security of our hard earned savings.

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