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Debt funds are in the limelight as equities go through a correction
May, 28th 2008

The CRISIL Composite Performance Rankings (CRISILCPR) that ranked 305 mutual fund schemes across 18 categories for the quarter ended March 31, 2008, are out. Five new categories have been included in the rankings from March 2008. These include consistent CPR performers for equity, balanced, debt and liquid schemes and liquid plus schemes.

According to Krishnan Sitaraman, Head, CRISIL FundServices, The Consistent CPR Performer category seeks to reinforce the concept of consistent performance over longer time periods, which many investors tend to consider centrally before investing in mutual funds. The world over, the concept of long-termism has been perceived as a characteristic of mature markets.

CRISIL has used a five-year time frame to analyse schemes in the consistent CPR performers category. The liquid plus category has been introduced on account of increasing investor interest in these schemes. At the same time, two categoriesfloating rate funds and sectoral IT fundshave been discontinued, due to waning interest. On a cumulative basis, the ranked schemes covered about 65% of industry assets under management (AUM) under the open-ended category.

A subdued equity market and corporate advance tax outflows in March saw average mutual fund industry AUM end the quarter until March 2008 at Rs 5.38 lakh crore (including fund of funds)a dip of 2.54% over the three-month period. The average AUM of the industry had reached an all-time high of Rs 5.75 lakh crore in January 2008, due to robust performance of equity markets in the beginning of the quarter.

Added Krishnan, Debt funds were in the limelight, as global factors and local inflationary concerns led to equities taking a hit. Gilt fund assets recorded the highest growth by about 43% over the three months ended March 2008. In the large cap-oriented equity schemes category, DWS Alpha Equity Fund continued at CRISIL-CPR 1, while Kotak 30 and DSP Merrill Lynch Top 100 Equity Fund moved up one notch to the top spot. A higher superior return score (SRS), which has a 75% weight in the rankings, enabled these schemes to top the category.

In the equity diversified category , ICICI Prudential Infrastructure Fund, Tata Infrastructure Fund, DSP Merrill Lynch India TIGER Fund and Kotak Opportunities maintained their rank at CRISIL-CPR 1, while Canara Robeco Infrastructure, DBS Chola Opportunities Fund, DSP Merrill Lynch Equity Fund and Reliance Regular Savings Fund-Equity moved up one notch due to a better SRS.

In the debt-long category, Birla Sun Life Income Fund continued to top the category for the sixth consecutive quarter, while Birla Income Plus Fund topped the category for the second quarter in a row. Both schemes topped mainly due to a higher SRS (which has a 50% weight in the ranking) and good performance on the asset quality parameter. In the liquid retail segment, Reliance Floating Rate Fund, Templeton India Money Market Account-Regular-Bonus and Tata Floating Rate Fund-Short Term topped the category at the CRISIL-CPR 1 position. Reliance Floating Rate Fund and Templeton India Money Market Account-Regular-Bonus moved up one notch, while Tata Floating Rate Fund-Short Term was a new entrant. All three schemes beat the benchmark CRISIL LiquiFex in terms of three-month returns till March 2008.

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