Jan 6, 2009

Business - India;HDFC MF replaces ICICI Pru to be the second-largest in assets

Palak Shah

LIC Mutual Fund breaks into the top-10 club, claims ninth slot.

The stock market crash of 2008 has changed the pecking order of the top 10 mutual funds in terms of their average assets under management (AAUM).

Among the top five, there has been a shuffle in positions. While Reliance Mutual Fund has been able to maintain the number one position at Rs 70,000 crore, ICICI Prudential has been pushed to number four from second spot by HDFC Mutual Fund. ICICI Prudential was above HDFC by Rs 7,300 crore in January-end 2008. But at the end of December, HDFC’s assets were up by Rs 4,879 crore over that of ICICI Prudential.

However, HDFC’s rise in the pecking order is more due to a significant fall in the assets of ICICI Prudential rather than an increase in its own AAUM. ICICI’s AAUM has fallen by 15,230 crore between January and December-end, while HDFC’s assets fell by only Rs 2,780 crore during the same period.

According to HDFC Mutual Fund Managing Director Milind Barve, while their equity schemes have shown resilience during the market crash, it was mainly the debt funds that saw some inflows in the year. “In 2009 too, we expect debt and liquid schemes would do better and collect more money,” he said.

Both UTI Mutual Fund and Birla Sun Life Mutual Fund have maintained their positions at third and fifth respectively. Interestingly, only Birla Sun Life has managed to increase its assets in this period by Rs 4,488 crore. Reliance Mutual Fund has been able to maintain the top slot even after its AAUM dropped during the said period by over Rs 13,690 crore.

According to mutual fund experts, assets were largely affected as nearly half of the actively-managed, diversified stock funds underperformed the benchmark index. These funds put up this poor show despite maintaining a double-digit cash level almost throughout the year.

While ICICI has greater dependence on equity schemes, its fixed maturity plans (FMPs) too were battered due to huge redemption pressure.

The AAUM of UTI Mutual Fund, which has maintained its third position, fell quite sharply by Rs 14,320 crore.

Assets of equity funds were halved in 2008, giving up the entire gains made in the previous two calendar years, as indices slumped by over 50 per cent during the period. This is the worst annual performance recorded by equity funds ever.

These funds’ monthly allocation to mid- and small-cap shares ranged between 33.6 per cent and 43.8 per cent in the year. This exposure delivered a blow to their portfolios as the mid- and small cap indices of the Bombay Stock Exchange slumped by over 70 per cent.

Hemant Rustagi, Director, Wise Invest — a mutual fund distributor — said for a major part of 2009, debt schemes would do well, while inflows into equity schemes may steadily rise during the later part of the year.

While Kotak Mutual Fund’s eighth position has been taken over by Tata, a surprise entrant in the top-10 club is LIC, which is at the 9th position. DSP BlackRock (the erstwhile DSP Merrill Lynch) has been weeded out of the top 10 list after its assets declined by Rs 8,600 crore.

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