What is the New Fund Offer (NFO) of Mutual Funds?
New Fund Offer (NFO) is a term commonly used in Mutual Funds (MFs) and investments. It signifies the introduction of a new MF scheme by an Asset Management Company (AMC) or fund house. NFO Mutual Funds provide investors with a unique opportunity to invest in a freshly launched fund that has just entered the market. This blog delves into the meaning of NFO, its types, benefits and how it operates.
Understanding New Fund Offers
A New Fund Offer refers to the launch of a new MF scheme. During an NFO, the fund house invites investors to subscribe to units of the new scheme. This initial phase remains open for investment for a fixed subscription period, after which the NFO concludes and regular trading begins.
Types of NFO
NFO Mutual Fund offers can be classified into three main types based on the structure and features of the schemes:
Imagine a door always open for you. Open-ended funds work similarly. Like flexible money pots, you can put or take out money whenever you want—no time limits. Even after the initial NFO, you can buy or sell parts of this money pot on any business day.
Think of a fund with a specific time frame. Close-ended funds are a bit like that. You can only join during the NFO period. Once it's over, no more participants are allowed. Everyone waits for the treasure to be revealed and then you can sell or trade your share when it gets listed on the stock exchange, following SEBI rules.
Interval Funds mix the always open door and the time-limited fund. They behave like closed-ended funds, meaning you can't jump in or out whenever you please. However, they allow you to buy or sell parts of the holdings at specific intervals.
How does an NFO work?
An NFO marks the launch of a new MF scheme by an AMC. During the NFO period, investors can subscribe to units at an initial offer price, often nominal, such as Rs <10> per unit. The fund is officially launched once the NFO period concludes and investors can buy or sell units at the Net Asset Value (NAV) on stock exchanges.
Professional fund managers allocate the capital raised during the NFO to various assets based on the fund's objectives. While NFOs offer an opportunity for investors to enter a new fund early with a low initial investment, conducting thorough research is crucial to assess suitability and risks.
Benefits of a New Fund Offer:
Fresh investment opportunity
NFOs introduce a new MF scheme, allowing investors to enter at the time of launch of the fund.
Low initial investment
NFO units are generally offered at a fixed price, often set at Rs 10 per unit, making them accessible to investors with a modest budget.
Unique investment themes
Some NFOs bring innovative or specialised investment themes or strategies to the market, allowing investors to diversify their portfolios uniquely.
Opportunity to capitalise on future performance
If the NFO is managed effectively and aligns with your financial goals, you may benefit from the fund's performance over time.
NFOs are managed by experienced fund managers, potentially enhancing the chances of achieving investment goals.
How do you invest in a New Fund Offer?
Investing in an NFO Mutual Fund is possible directly through fund houses, both online and offline. Investors can select the number of units and the payment basis by visiting the fund house website, completing the KYC process and applying for the NFO. The fund house will credit fund units within five days if the NFO is successful.
Important rules around NFOs
SEBI has set regulations on the accumulation of funds during NFOs:
Minimum subscription amounts for debt-oriented and balanced hybrid schemes must be at least Rs 20 crore and at least Rs 10 crore for other schemes
The MF company launching a new scheme must ensure that the amount collected during an NFO is from a minimum of 20 investors
No single investor can have more than 25% of the scheme's corpus, ensuring that the investment concentration is spread among multiple investors
Fund houses launching new funds must invest in the scheme with the amount based on the risk level of the scheme.
What happens after an NFO period?
After the NFO period concludes, companies allot units of the new scheme within five days. For open-ended schemes, investors can continue buying units post-NFO. However, close-ended schemes only allow purchases during the NFO period.
Things to keep in mind before investing in NFO funds:
Ensure the scheme's objective aligns with your investment goals and risk appetite
Assess the performance of similar schemes by the fund house
Evaluate the fund manager's performance through their management of other funds.
Difference between New Fund Offers and Initial Public Offerings
NFO Mutual Funds and Initial Public Offerings (IPOs) differ in the following ways:
NFOs introduce new MF schemes, while IPOs issue shares for companies to get listed on stock exchanges
The price of IPO shares is determined by market demand, while NFOs are unrelated to demand and supply
NFOs focus on a fund's investment objective, while IPOs aim to raise capital for a company's growth
IPOs have quotas for different investor categories; NFOs do not.
Lack of track records make it challenging to assess a fund's expertise and execution
Unlike stocks, NFOs offer no special benefits during the initial period.
When it comes to MF schemes, investing early in an NFO Mutual Fund provides a few advantages. Opting for existing schemes with a proven track record is often a more practical choice than venturing into new or unpredictable offerings.
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