Liquidity in mutual funds

Mutual fund liquidity refers to the ease of buying or selling fund units without significant impact on its NAV or market value. The higher the liquidity of an asset, the more seamless is the process of turning it into cash.
Liquidity in Mutual Fund
3 min
20-June-2024

Liquidity in mutual funds refers to the period and cost involved in converting the mutual fund investments into cash. If a mutual fund is highly liquid, it would be easier to sell the units and realise cash.

Liquidity in mutual funds is an important factor for mutual fund investors as it defines the ultimate profit they will get. In this article, we explain what is liquidity mutual funds and how it impacts your investment decisions.

What is liquidity?

Liquidity is the total period and the costs involved in converting your investment into cash. For example, if you bought 10 mutual fund units, its liquidity will define how quickly you can sell them after deducting the costs involved. An asset with high liquidity requires less time and involves lower conversion costs to cash. On the other hand, less liquid assets take more time and money to convert into cash.

Ideally, cash is the most liquid asset as it allows seamless transactions and no conversion costs. Real estate, commodities, fine art, etc., are some examples of relatively illiquid assets.

What is liquidity in mutual funds?

Mutual funds are investment instruments that pool investors’ money and invest it in a diversified range of assets, such as stocks and bonds. Liquidity in mutual funds is the time it takes to sell the mutual fund units and realise cash, along with the costs that an investor needs to cover while converting the units into money. Unlike stocks, selling mutual fund units involves paying a fee called an exit load.

Liquidity in mutual funds depends on the included assets. For example, if a mutual fund invests most of the pooled money into PSU stocks and government bonds, it would have higher liquidity as the demand for such MFs is higher. On the other hand, a mutual fund with a majority of investments in penny stocks or junk bonds would have lower liquidity as MFs are risky in nature and have a lower demand.

How does liquidity affect investment decisions?

Here is how mutual fund liquidity affects investment decisions:

  • Investment horizon: If you want to invest for the short term, highly liquid assets are ideal as they sell faster. If the investment horizon is long-term, an added liquidity focus is insignificant as investors can wait in case of a bearish market trend.
  • Risk management: If you have a lower risk appetite, highly liquid assets can be ideal, as they carry lower risk due to their high demand. Assets with low liquidity are considered riskier as they are prone to higher volatility and costs.
  • Emergency situation: Assets with high liquidity are easier to sell, making them suitable for emergencies. Less liquid assets take more time to sell, which may be problematic when cash is needed during an emergency.

How do AMCs ensure liquidity?

Asset management companies maintain a cash reserve through cash or cash-equivalent assets, such as treasury bills, and by maintaining a balance of highly liquid assets, such as cash, government securities, and large-cap stocks. Furthermore, AMCs also reinvest dividends and interest for higher liquidity.

Types of funds more prone to liquidity risk

Liquidity risk is when investors cannot convert their investments into cash. Here are the types of mutual funds more prone to liquidity risk:

  • Close-ended credit-risk funds, as they invest in debt securities with a higher risk of default.
  • Mutual funds with a higher asset allocation in low-quality or junk bonds.

What are different types of liquidity?

There are two types of liquidity:

Market liquidity

Market liquidity refers to the total number of buyers and sellers available in the market to allow buy-and-sell transactions. For example, stocks have higher liquidity than real estate, as the stock market has more buyers and sellers.

Accounting liquidity

Accounting liquidity is the ease with which a company or an individual can cover financial or debt obligations by liquidating an asset. For example, a company with more liquid assets can meet its debt obligations faster by liquidating the assets.

Five things to know about liquidity in mutual funds

Here are the five things you must know about liquidity in MFs.

  1. Mutual funds with high liquidity are less risky.
  2. If a mutual fund has invested in less commonly traded securities, it will be less liquid.
  3. Fund managers are mostly responsible for ensuring liquidity in mutual funds.
  4. Exiting mutual funds carry an exit load, which can decrease liquidity
  5. Mutual funds with high liquidity are ideal for short-term investing.

Role of liquidity in investments

Here is the role mutual fund liquidity plays in investments:

Liquidity helps accelerate transactions

Highly liquid assets see great demand, which accelerates transactions and helps realise cash faster.

Liquidity eases the selling process

It becomes comparatively easy to sell highly liquid assets as numerous buyers are available to buy them instantly.

Liquidity is a greatly overlooked attribute

Liquidity is a greatly overlooked attribute. When analysed, it can help you compare mutual funds and invest according to your investment goals.

Liquid assets maintain their value

Liquid assets maintain their value in the short term as there are numerous buyers and sellers for them, resulting in quick cash conversion with no loss in value.

How can investors avoid the risk due to liquidity?

Investors can avoid the risk of liquidity in mutual funds by extensively analysing the mutual fund scheme and understanding where the AMC is investing the money. If you are investing in close-ended mutual funds, you should ensure that the fund’s risk profile aligns with your risk appetite and that there is adequate liquidity.

Conclusion

Liquidity in mutual funds is based on the period and costs involved when selling the mutual fund units. Understanding what is liquidity mutual funds is important as it affects the ease with which you can convert your investments into cash and the portfolio's overall risk and return dynamics.

If investing in mutual funds is your objective, you can visit the Bajaj Finserv Mutual Fund Platform to compare mutual funds and invest accordingly. You can also analyse mutual funds schemes using tools such as lump sum calculators and SIP calculators.

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Frequently asked questions

What is the liquidity of funds?
Liquidity of funds is the ease with which the funds can be sold and converted to cash along with the included costs.
Why is liquidity important to a mutual fund?
Liquidity is important to mutual funds because it facilitates the purchase and sale of units by new investors and current shareholders.
Do mutual funds have daily liquidity?

Yes, open-ended mutual funds investments and exchange-traded mutual funds offer daily liquidity.

How to identify liquidity?
You can identify liquidity by analysing the trading volume of an asset, as it is high for highly liquid assets.
What is a good liquidity ratio?
A liquidity ratio higher than 1 is considered good.
What is the purpose of liquidity?
The purpose of liquidity is to provide ease to investors who want to sell their assets to realise cash.
Is liquidity a disadvantage in a mutual fund?
A lower liquidity is a disadvantage as it creates liquidity pressure and high NAV fluctuations, making the mutual fund highly volatile.
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Disclaimer

Bajaj Finance Limited (“BFL”) is an NBFC offering loans, deposits and third-party wealth management products.

The information contained in this article is for general informational purposes only and does not constitute any financial advice. The content herein has been prepared by BFL on the basis of publicly available information, internal sources and other third-party sources believed to be reliable. However, BFL cannot guarantee the accuracy of such information, assure its completeness, or warrant such information will not be changed. 

This information should not be relied upon as the sole basis for any investment decisions. Hence, User is advised to independently exercise diligence by verifying complete information, including by consulting independent financial experts, if any, and the investor shall be the sole owner of the decision taken, if any, about suitability of the same.