Overnight funds’ assets under management (AUM) saw a three-fold jump in October as investors turned to the side of caution following the IL&FS group default in September. Experts said overnight funds are seeing such elevated levels of investor interest after a long time.
According to industry sources, this category can emerge as a much larger one going ahead, as the Securities and Exchange Board of India (Sebi) may mandate money for less than 7 days to be put in overnight instruments such as CBLO, and not liquid schemes.
In October, the AUM of overnight funds rose to Rs 122 billion from Rs 38.9 billion in the previous month. All the four players in the category saw their overnight schemes’ AUM surge at exponential rates.
The HDFC Overnight Fund’s AUM was up three-times to Rs 92 billion, while the L&T Cash Fund saw its AUM surge 1.5x to Rs 6.8 billion. The sharpest gain was seen by UTI Overnight Fund as it jumped 11-fold to Rs 6.4 billion, from a lower base of Rs 0.58 billion as of September.
Experts say corporate treasuries are seeking alternatives to manage their own liquidity position as liquid schemes’ credit exposures have come under scrutiny. “After the IL&FS issue, investors have become extra cautious. They don’t want money kept aside for liquidity requirements exposed to credit risks that can be attributed to the liquid schemes. Investors don’t mind the lower yields overnight schemes offer versus liquid schemes, as their stance has been that of ‘safety-first’,” said Alok Singh, chief investment officer at BOI AXA Mutual Fund.
Industry sources said that even though such overnight funds offer close to 100 basis points (bps) lower yield, investors don’t mind compromising on returns right now, and are partially moving money from liquid to overnight schemes.
As these schemes are 100 per cent invested in the collateralised borrowing and lending obligation (CBLO) market, these are hardly considered to carry any risks. The CBLO instruments can have maturity of a day, so they offer high liquidity. They are also relatively safe as borrowers are required to park Government securities as collateral.
At the end of FY13, AUM levels in overnight funds were up 3x to Rs 27.2 billion, as investors moved money away from liquid schemes amid hardening yields. While spike in yields has been the common cause of concern in both the cases; the trigger back then was a foreign one as US Fed indicated unwinding of quantitative easing.