The Rs 12 lakh crore mutual fund (MF) sector added around 2.2 million new investors during 2014-15, However, the bulk opted for only the top five asset management companies (AMCs).
The top five are HDFC Mutual Fund, ICICI Prudential, Birla Sun Life, Reliance MF and UTI MF. These account for nearly 80 per cent of the sector's assets under management (AUM).
ICICI Prudential had the highest growth in client base, a little over 25 per cent. The investor folio count rose to 3.36 million as on end-March, from 2.68 million a year before. Birla Sun Life followed with growth of 20 per cent to 2.42 million from 2.01 million.
"Well managed and benchmark beating products across time periods result in a good experience for our investors. This has led to more investing,” said Nimesh Shah, managing director of ICICI Pru.
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The fund house was in the forefront of launching closed-end equity schemes through the year. This also helped bring more investors.
Birla Sun Life, the fourth largest fund house, was quite active in launching closed-end schemes. Its chief executive officer (CEO), A Balasubramanian, said: “The number of investors coming in through closed-end schemes were only a tenth of the total incremental increase. The majority of inflows and investors came in our existing schemes. Our Systematic Investment Plan (SIP) book (amount via this route) nearly doubled in the year, which adds sustainability to our business.”
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HDFC MF, the country's largest fund house with an AUM of Rs 1.61 lakh crore, saw growth of 15 per cent in its customer base to 5.2 mn, with a little more than 700,000 new investors. This had it join UTI MF and Reliance MF in having over half a million investor accounts each.
Milind Barve, its managing director, said: “We are committed to the approach of introducing investors to mutual funds through SIPs. This works well in all market situations. Improved sentiment in the market helped; there were months when we saw 50,000-60,000 registrations.”
|Table showing AMC-wise rise in number total folios in FY15|
|AMCs||March, 14||March, 15||Change (%)|
|ICICI Pru AMC||26,77,954||33,59,853||25.46|
|Birla Sun Life||20,19,704||24,26,079||20.12|
|Source : Amfi & Sebi|
Reliance MF, however, saw muted growth in folio additions. At a time when peers grew much faster than the sector average of 5.5 per cent, Reliance MF could grow its customers' base by less than two per cent. The fund house, though still the second largest with 5.5 million folios, added a little less than 100,000 accounts.
Sundeep Sikka, CEO, Reliance MF, said: “The less growth is natural, given the huge retail base we have. There have been investors who had remained invested for five years and booked profits as the market rallied significantly.”
However, the fund house did fare better than peers on growth of retail equity AUM at 119 per cent, followed by ICICI Pru at 76 per cent and Birla Sun Life at 72 per cent, according to a report from Prime Database. HDFC MF grew its retail equity AUM by 45 per cent and UTI by 39 per cent.
The overall folio count of the sector was 41.74 million as on end-March, against 39.5 million last year. Equity accounts (including equity-linked savings schemes) were 31.69 million, from 29.18 million.