What Are Equity Savings Schemes (ESS) or Mutual Funds

Here’s everything you should understand about equity savings schemes, their benefits, and risk of investing in them.
Equity Savings Schemes
4 mins
31 January 2024

Equity savings schemes funds are mutual funds that invest at least 65% of their assets in equity shares of companies across different sectors and market capitalisations. They also invest up to 10-35% of their assets in debt instruments such as government securities, corporate bonds, money market instruments, etc. The remaining 5% of their assets can be invested in arbitrage opportunities such as futures and options contracts on stocks or indices.

The main objective of equity savings schemes funds is to provide investors with a combination of growth and income potential along with moderately high risk.

What are equity savings schemes?

Equity savings schemes represent open-ended mutual fund schemes investing in equities, arbitrage, derivatives, and debt securities. These funds offer more consistent returns compared to other mutual fund schemes.

They allocate investments in equities, derivatives like arbitrage, and debt securities, aiming for 65% exposure in equities and a minimum of 10% in the debt asset class. This diversified portfolio enhances safety and offers returns surpassing those of fixed deposits. However, investors should anticipate moderate returns, typically ranging between 4-6%.

How do equity savings mutual funds work?

Equity savings mutual funds maintain diversified portfolios, serving various investor needs. They predominantly invest in stocks of different companies, adjusting asset allocation based on market conditions across small-cap, mid-cap, or large-cap stocks, while allocating the remainder to debt and other market instruments.

The arbitrage component within the portfolio mitigates downside risk while ensuring steady income from debt-related instruments. This balanced approach aims to provide stability and growth potential to investors over time.

What is the purpose of equity savings mutual funds?

  • Mitigating risk: Equity savings mutual funds can help investors reduce the volatility and downside risk associated with investing directly in stocks. By diversifying across different asset classes and sectors, they can cushion the impact of market fluctuations and enhance returns over the long term.
  • Capital appreciation: Equity savings mutual funds can help investors earn higher returns than fixed deposits or other traditional investment options by participating in the growth potential of the stock market. By investing in quality companies with strong fundamentals and competitive advantages, they can benefit from capital appreciation over time.
  • Diversification of funds: Equity savings mutual funds can help investors diversify their portfolio across different asset classes and sectors. This can help them reduce the overall risk and optimise returns by taking advantage of different opportunities in different markets.
  • Income generation: Equity savings mutual funds can help investors generate regular income from dividends or interest payments by investing in debt instruments or arbitrage opportunities.

Who should invest in equity savings schemes?

  • Investors seeking stock market exposure: Equity savings schemes can help investors gain exposure to the stock market without having to buy individual stocks or monitor them closely. By investing through a fund manager who selects stocks based on research and analysis, they can benefit from professional expertise and convenience.
  • Investors seeking risk averse fund: Equity savings schemes can help investors reduce their risk appetite by investing in a balanced mix of equity, debt, and arbitrage instruments. By diversifying across different asset classes and sectors, they can minimise the impact of market fluctuations and enhance returns over time.
  • Investors seeking an alternative to specific traditional options: Equity savings schemes can offer an alternative option to other traditional investment options such as fixed deposits or bonds that may not offer high returns. By investing through a fund manager who selects stocks based on research and analysis, they can benefit from professional expertise and convenience.

What are the features and benefits of equity savings schemes?

  • Hybrid nature: Equity savings schemes have a hybrid nature that combines the benefits of both equity investments (growth potential) with debt investments (income generation). This helps them provide consistent returns along with capital protection.
  • Risk management: Equity savings schemes have a risk management strategy that involves diversifying across different asset classes (equity), sectors (diversified), geographies (domestic), etc., as well as using hedging techniques such as futures contracts or options contracts on stocks or indices. This helps them reduce volatility and downside risk while enhancing upside potential.
  • Diversification: Equity savings schemes have a diversification strategy that involves investing in quality companies with strong fundamentals across a variety of industries and markets, which opens up many opportunities for investors to grow their wealth.

Factors to consider before investing in equity savings schemes

  • Investment objectives: You should have a clear idea of why you are investing in equity savings schemes and what are your financial goals. For example, are you investing for retirement, wealth creation, or income generation? Your investment objectives will help you determine your risk appetite, time horizon, and asset allocation.
  • Risk tolerance: You should assess your risk tolerance level and how comfortable you are with taking risks. Equity savings schemes are suitable for investors who have a high risk tolerance and can withstand market fluctuations. However, they are not suitable for investors who have a low risk tolerance.
  • Exit load: You should check the exit load of the equity savings scheme before investing. An exit load is a fee charged by the fund house when you redeem your units within a specified period. It can range from 0.5% to 2% depending on the scheme and the duration of redemption. You should avoid investing in schemes that have high exit loads as they can erode your returns.
  • Performance: You should compare the performance of different equity savings schemes based on their past returns, consistency, volatility, and benchmark performance. You should also look at the fund manager’s experience, investment style, and track record. You should invest in mutual fund schemes that have consistently outperformed their peers and benchmarks over a long period of time.

Disadvantages of investing in equity savings schemes

  • Interest rate risk: Equity savings schemes are exposed to interest rate risk as they invest in debt instruments that have variable interest rates. If interest rates rise, the value of these debt instruments falls and vice versa. This can affect the returns of equity savings schemes as they depend on both income from debt instruments and capital appreciation from equity shares.
  • Inflation risk: Equity savings schemes are exposed to inflation risk as they invest in assets that lose their purchasing power over time due to inflation. Inflation reduces the real returns of equity savings schemes as they cannot beat inflation by increasing their prices.
  • Lack of control: Equity savings schemes do not give you full control over your investments as you cannot choose which stocks or sectors to invest in or when to buy or sell them. You have to rely on the fund manager’s decisions and follow their investment strategy.

How to invest in equity savings funds?

Investing in mutual funds through on the Bajaj Finserv platform is quite simple and hassle-free. Follow these steps to start your investment journey:

  1. Visit the Bajaj Finserv website or app and navigate to the ‘Mutual funds’ section.
  2. Click on INVEST NOW.
  3. Filter by scheme type, risk appetite, returns, etc. or choose from the top performing funds list.
  4. All the mutual funds of the particular category will be listed, along with the minimum investment amount, annualised return, and rating.
  5. Get started by entering your mobile number and sign in using the OTP.
  6. Verify your details using your PAN, date of birth. If your KYC is not complete, then you will have to upload your address proof and record a video.
  7. Enter your bank account details.
  8. Upload your signature and provide some additional details to continue.
  9. Choose and select the mutual fund that you want to invest in.
  10. Choose whether you want to invest as SIP or lumpsum and enter the investment amount. Click on ‘Invest Now’.
  11. Select your payment mode i.e., Net Banking, UPI, NEFT/ RTGS.
  12. Once your payment is done, the investment will be complete.

Conclusion

Equity savings schemes may help investors achieve their financial goals by generating regular income from dividends or interest payments along with capital appreciation from stock price movements. However, they also have some risks such as interest rate risk, inflation risk, lack of control, etc., that investors should be aware of before investing.

Calculate your expected investment returns with the help of our investment calculators

Investment Calculator

SIP Calculator

Lumpsum Calculator

FD calculator

SDP calculator

Gratuity Calculator

Step Up SIP Calculator

Frequently asked questions

How to invest in equity savings mutual funds?

You can invest in them through a lump sum or a systematic investment plan (SIP). You can also use online platforms like the one by Bajaj Finserv to invest in equity savings mutual funds easily.

Where do equity savings mutual funds invest?

Equity savings mutual funds invest in various sectors and companies across the market. They may also use derivatives to hedge their portfolio risk or take advantage of market opportunities. Some of the common sectors where equity savings mutual funds invest are financial services, consumer goods, technology, healthcare, and so on.

What are the benefits of investing in equity mutual savings?

Investing in equity mutual savings has several benefits such as:

  • Higher returns than fixed deposits or liquid funds over the long term
  • Diversification across different asset classes and sectors
  • Exposure to growth potential of emerging markets
  • Ability to benefit from compounding effect of SIPs
What is the minimum amount you should invest in equity savings funds?

The minimum amount you should invest in equity savings funds depends on your financial goals and risk profile. Generally, it is advisable to start with a small amount that you can afford to lose without affecting your finances. You can then increase the amount gradually as you gain experience.

Are equity savings funds safe?

Equity savings funds carry moderate risk due to their diversified allocation in equities, debt, and arbitrage opportunities. They are considered safer than pure equity funds but riskier than debt funds.

Where do equity savings funds invest?

Equity savings funds typically invest in a mix of equities, debt instruments, and arbitrage opportunities. The allocation may vary based on market conditions and fund objectives.

How are equity savings funds taxed?

Equity savings funds are taxed based on the holding period. Short-term capital gains (if held for less than 3 years) are taxed at the investor's applicable income tax rate, while long-term capital gains (if held for 3 years or more) are taxed at 10% without indexation benefit.

How long should I stay invested in equity savings mutual funds?

Investors are advised to stay invested in equity savings mutual funds for a minimum of 3-5 years to benefit from potential market cycles and mitigate short-term volatility.

What kind of returns can I earn from equity savings?

Equity savings funds aim to provide moderate returns by balancing equity, debt, and arbitrage opportunities. The returns vary based on market conditions, fund performance, and investment strategy.

Show More Show Less