Monday, August 11, 2008

Some common misconceptions about Mutual Fund Dividends

Lot of people think dividends in mutual funds is equivalent to dividends received from shares. In shares, the dividend you receive is because the company wishes to share some of their profits with its share holders in the form of dividends. What you are getting is something extra. Dividends in Mutual Funds is a very different. The mutual fund companies are not sharing any profits by declaring dividends. All they are doing is returning a portion of your investments in the form of dividend.

Let me explain this with an example: You own 100 units of a mutual fund ABC Equity. The current NAV of the the fund is Rs.14. The company declares a dividend of 40% or Rs.4 per unit.

Stage 1: Prior to declaration of Dividend
NAV prior to dividend = Rs.14
Your Fund Value = Rs.14 x 100 units = Rs.1,400

Stage 2: Dividend is paid to the unit holders.
The fund pays dividend of 40% or Rs.4 per unit
The dividend you receive = Rs.4 x 100 units = Rs.400

Stage 3: Post dividend NAV adjustments.
In mutual funds, the NAV of the fund is adjusted based on the dividend given by the fund.
New NAV post dividend = Rs.14(Old NAV) - Rs.4 (Dividend Paid) = Rs.10 (New NAV)
Your Fund Value post dividend = Rs.10 x 100 units = Rs.1,000

Prior to dividend you had Rs.1,400 invested. Post dividend you have Rs.1,000 invested and Rs.400 in your bank account. In short dividends in mutual funds is equivalent to selling a portion of your investment and returning it back to you.

When does it make sense to opt for dividend payout?

  1. ELSS (Tax Saving Schemes): All your investments in ELSS are locked for 3 years. By opting for dividend payout, you are receiving a certian amount of your investment prior to 3 years.
  2. Debt Mutual Funds (Short-Term): Debt funds pay a dividend distribution tax of 12.5%. Short term capital gains from debt funds are added to your taxable income. So a short term investor who falls in the 30% tax slab can save tax by investing in a debt fund with dividend payout option. Indirectly you are paying a 12.5% dividend distribution tax rather than 30% tax on your shortterm capital gains.
  3. Mutual Funds which offer free Insurance (FIP): You loose your insurance cover when you make partial withdrawals in FIPs. By opting for dividend payout, you are liquidating a portion of your investment and at the same time your insurance cover continues.
  4. Profit Booking: If one wishes to book profits at intervals.(This can actually be handled by investor himself by selling a portion of his investments)
  5. Asset Allocation: Some funds offer you the flexibility to sweep dividends into another scheme of the same fund house. This facility can be used for moving the dividends declared from equity to debt schemes. On the long run this helps adust your equity/debt ratio in turn minimizing your risk.

Disadvantages of Dividend Payout?

One invests in mutual funds for creating wealth over time. By receiving dividends, you are actually liquidating your investments. Hence you are losing out on the earning potential of the amount liquidated (unless you reinvest this amount somewhere).


Anonymous said...

actually, the same thing happens when a company pays out dividends for stock that you own. the stock price suffers by an equivalent amount when a dividend is paid out.

Manish Chauhan said...


I dont think its same for Shares . The Share price is different thing and its not linked with Divident , where are mutual funds units prices are affected because of Dividend .

Manish Chauhan

Stock Tips said...

I really appreciate your post and you explain each and every point very well.Thanks for sharing this information.And I’ll love to read your next post

Stock Tips

Dividend said...

What I have observed is that the dividend stocks are always not safe investment.Though many companies offered the stable dividends, but that does not means they are immune from industry and financial changes.

Anonymous said...

Spot on with this write-up, I actually feel this website needs a lot more attention.
I'll probably be returning to read through more, thanks
for the advice!

Check out my page - clash of clans hack