Equity Mutual Funds’ Assets Hit 5-Month Low

Equity Mutual Funds' Assets Hit 5-Month LowAsset base of equity mutual funds declined to Rs 3.45 lakh crore, its lowest level in five months, at the end of January due to weak inflows in such schemes. Prior to this decline, asset base of equity MFs has been continuously rising since August last year.

Market experts attributed the slump in assets under management (AUM) to sluggish inflow in equity and equity linked schemes.

Equity mutual funds witnessed an inflow worth just Rs 2,914 crore, the lowest level in the last 20 months, due to sluggish stock markets and appreciation in gold prices. However, equity MFs saw an average monthly inflow of Rs 7,550 crore in 2015.

The industry’s equity AUM dropped from Rs 3.64 lakh crore in December to Rs 3.45 lakh crore in January this year, according to Association of Mutual Funds in India (AMFI). This was the lowest since August, when the assets base of equity mutual funds stood at Rs 3.43 lakh crore.

Asset base of equity MFs was at Rs 3.62 lakh crore and Rs 3.56 lakh crore and Rs 3.47 lakh crore in November, October and September, respectively. It stood at Rs 3.52 lakh crore in July.

Despite moderation in inflows, local MFs continued to be biggest institutional investors in January. MFs made a net investment of $1.1 billion in stock markets during the period under review.

However, market experts believe that if the moderation in inflow persists, domestic MFs may not remain biggest institutional buyer of Indian equities in the near term.

Meanwhile, the 30-share benchmark index Sensex plunged by nearly 5 per cent last month.

Mutual fund is an investment vehicle with a pool of funds collected from investors to buy securities such as stocks, bonds, money market instruments and similar assets.

(This story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

[“source-ndtv”]

Can’t Pay Your EMIs? How To Get Out Of Debt Trap

Can't Pay Your EMIs? How To Get Out Of Debt TrapWith credit easily available these days, it’s not rare to find people overspending only to regret it later. Taking a loan to build assets like a house is recommended due to the tax benefits and savings on rent. But overspending using expensive debts such as credit cards and personal loans for lifestyle expenses should be avoided.

However, if you are already burdened with debt, here are a few steps that can help you to lighten up you debt burden.

Take account of your finances

First of all, you need to ascertain where your finances stand. How bad is the situation? Calculate your income to expense ratio. Ascertain what portion of your income goes towards servicing EMIs. “Personal loans including car loan, credit card outstanding or any other loan should be in the range of one-seventh to one fifth while home loan should be limited to one-third of net income,” says Kartik Jhaveri, founder director of Transcend Consulting, a Mumbai-based financial planning firm.

All types of loans put together shouldn’t exceed 50 per cent of the income of a person, he adds.

Therefore, if your loans exceed the limit, you can be in a worrying situation. “If somebody’s loan repayment outgo is 60-70 per cent of the income, it should be brought down in the shortest possible time,” says Suresh Sadagopan founder of Ladder7 Financial Advisories.

Cut down on your lifestyle expenses

It will be difficult to do so but you will have to do this. Make a budget, analyse your monthly expenses to figure out where you can save. Even small savings by cutting down on spending on eating out, limiting the movies you watch in theatres etc can make a difference. “If there are 5-6 expenses on which you spend Rs. 2,000 monthly and can be avoided, you can save Rs. 12,000 per month which is a decent sum,” says Mr Sadagopan.

Prepay the expensive loan first

Make a list of all the loans along with the interest rate that you are servicing currently. Higher interest rate means higher cost. So you should start paying off the high cost debt first. Credit card loan is one of the most expensive loans with interest rate usually ranging between 24 and 36 per cent per annum.

Next comes, the personal loan where interest rate generally starts at 13-15 per cent per annum. You can utilise some of these cheaper options to repay the high-interest loans.

Loan against fixed deposit: If you have a fixed deposit, take a loan against it which generally comes at an interest rate of 1 to 2 per cent above the fixed deposit interest rate.

Top-up home loan: If you have a home loan and paid EMIs for at least 6-12 months, you can avail a top-up loan which is generally available at an interest rate of 1 to 2 per cent above the home loan rate. Unlike a home loan, you can utilise the sum for any purpose you want to.

Loan against insurance: If you have an insurance policy which is more than 10 years old, you can utilise it to avail a loan against it to repay the expensive loans, says Mr Jhaveri of Transcend Consulting.

Use the bonus: If you are getting any incentive or bonus, any proceeds from investments maturity, use it to prepay the loan, says Mr Sadagopan of Ladder7 Financial Advisories.

[“source-ndtv”]

WhatsApp Becomes Free, Drops Annual Subscription Fee

 

WhatsApp Becomes Free, Drops Annual Subscription Fee

WhatsApp will be getting rid of its $1 (approximately Rs. 68) annual subscription fee this year. The widely used messaging app confirmed plans to ditch annual fee from all of its apps across various platforms over the next several weeks.

Until now, WhatsApp asked some users to pay an annual fee for using the app after the first year of use – though as many of us have experienced, most users were not asked to pay after a year, and instead were given extensions each year. The company however believes that the approach of annual fee hasn’t worked successfully.

“Many WhatsApp users don’t have a debit or credit card number and they worried they’d lose access to their friends and family after their first year. So over the next several weeks, we’ll remove fees from the different versions of our app and WhatsApp will no longer charge you for our service”, says the company in an official blog post.

While confirming plans to axe the annual subscription, the company also hinted that the app is now being used by “nearly a billion people around the world.” Unfortunately, WhatsApp has not officially revealed the exact number of users worldwide like it did before. To recall, the popular instant messaging app reached over 900 million monthly active users milestone back in September last year.

Apart from scrapping the annual fee, WhatsApp also revealed its upcoming plans where it wants people to connect with businesses and organisation directly. The messaging service plans to bring tools for the new target audience. WhatsApp believes people can communicate with the bank or any other utility services directly via the messaging app. “We all get these messages elsewhere today – through text messages and phone calls – so we want to test new tools to make this easier to do on WhatsApp,” adds the company.

WhatsApp for now has not detailed the tools it will be testing for bringing businesses and organisation closer to its users but we can expect to hear more soon. The company alongside also stressed that removing annual fee will not mean WhatsApp will introduce third-party ads.

[“source-gadgets”]

Now, Pay at McDonald’s With Your Mobile via FreeCharge

Now, Pay at McDonald's With Your Mobile via FreeCharge

Digital payments platform FreeCharge announced its exclusive partnership with Westlife Development Ltd, owner of the master franchisee of fast food chain McDonald’s west and south India operations. This will allow McDonald’s customers to make offline payments using their FreeCharge wallet.

The service has gone live starting January 14, 2016 across all these restaurants, the offline integration has been rolled out across 216 McDonald’s restaurants spread across 26 cities in West and South regions of India, the company said. To encourage adoption, FreeCharge has launched a 50 percent cashback offer for customers on their first transaction, with a maximum cashback of Rs. 100. The offer will be valid till January 31, the company said.

The integration uses an On-the-Go Pin authentication method, which lets customers generate a code on the FreeCharge wallet even the smartphone is not connected to the Internet. The partnership will help strengthen its reach in F&B sector, the company said.

Govind Rajan, Chief Operating Officer, FreeCharge, said that McDonald’s implementation was the most stringent test a payment system can undergo. “We worked closely with McDonald’s to deliver a ‘built-to-order’ product as per their specifications. The transactions are done within 10 seconds in a secure manner. Most importantly McDonald’s did not have to make any extra investment to integrate our product,” he said in an emailed statement.

FreeCharge had entered into a partnership with fashion retailer Shoppers Stop in November 2015. FreeCharge claims to have over 30 million registered users and 15 million active wallet users on its wallet, launched in September 2015, and available on the App Store, Play Store and Windows Store.

[“source-gadgets”]