A mutual fund uses invested money of various individuals and invests them into various pre-set allocations. These allocations are equity, debt or any other asset class as prescribed by the fund. A balanced fund is a type of mutual fund which invests a portion of the fund into equities and the rest into debt instruments. The equity debt allocation is often 65:35 or more depending upon the fund’s mandate.
This fund is an excellent choice for newcomers or risk-averse investors. Here are a few reasons.
One, this fund by design has a safety mechanism. While the major allocation of the fund may be in the equities, the 35% allocation into debt instruments acts as a safety valve during volatile market periods. Even if the equities generate poor returns at the time, the debt instruments ensure the invested money does not go to waste and returns are generated on a consistent basis.
Two, the debt allocation ensures stability during volatile market periods and the equity allocation during bull runs generate excellent returns. Since the fund’s major allocation is into equities, an investor has a good chance to see her or his investment into the fund deliver quite the returns.
Three, the fund’s major allocation into equities may cause apprehension into one or two investors who may feel the market volatility will deliver poor returns. However, like all mutual funds, a balanced fund comes with the expertise of a fund manager. He or she will decide whether to invest into mid-cap or large-cap funds, how much to invest, and when to invest. The invested money is in safe hands.
Four, mutual funds that invest at least 65% into equities qualify as equity funds. This means any capital gains after one year of holding are tax exempt. Therefore, fund managers always keep the 65:35 allocation ratio intact. If an investor held two different funds—equity and debt, a short-term capital gains tax would be levied on the debt fund for any holding less than three years.
A balanced fund was designed keeping the mix of capital appreciation and safety from market volatility in mind. It is recommended for newcomers to invest in them.