Tuesday, September 23, 2008

What is an FMP

Mutual Fund expert, can you explain to me, what exactly is Fixed maturity plans.


Dear Krishnaprasad,
Fixed Maturity Plans are the flavour of the season and the bug seems to have caught you.
What are fixed maturity plans?
FMPs, as they are popularly known, are the equivalent of a fixed deposit in a bank, with a caveat. The maturity amount of a fixed deposit in a bank is 'guaranteed', but only 'indicated' in the FMP of a mutual fund. The regulator does not allow fund companies to guarantee returns, and hence the 'indicated returns' in FMPs.
Typically, the fund house fixes a 'target amount' for a scheme, which it ties up informally with borrowers before the scheme opens. Since the fund house knows the interest rate that it will earn on its investments, it can provide 'indicative returns' to investors.
FMPs are debt schemes, where the corpus is invested in fixed-income securities. The tenure can be of different maturities, from one month to three years. They are closed-ended in nature, which means that once the NFO (new fund offer) closes, the scheme cannot accept any further investment.
These FMP NFOs are generally open for 2 to 3 days and are marketed to corporates and well-heeled, high net-worth individuals. Nevertheless, the minimum investment is usually Rs 5,000 and so a retail investor can comfortably invest too.
FMPs usually invest in certificate of deposits (CDs), commercial papers (CPs), money market instruments, corporate bonds and sometimes even in bank fixed deposits.
Depending on the tenure of the FMP, the fund manager invests in a combination of the above-mentioned instruments of similar maturity. Say if the FMP is for a year, then the fund manager invests in paper maturing in one year.
The fund received is for a pre-specified tenure and the exit load from this plan is high (usually 1 per cent to 3 per cent, depending on the time of redemption). So, the fund manager has the liberty to deploy most of the funds mobilised under the scheme.
The actual return can vary slightly, if at all, from the indicated return. Against that, a bank fixed deposit exactly prints the amount which is due to you on maturity on the FD receipt. However, FMPs do earn better returns than fixed deposits of similar tenure.
Another Advantage with FMPs is the Indexation Benefits available to it.

Srikanth Shankar Matrubai

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