Multi-Asset Allocation Funds: Types, Key Components, Working & Who Should Invest
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Multi-asset allocation funds, or balanced funds, offer a diversified portfolio by investing in various assets such as stocks, bonds, and cash. These funds provide investors with a well-balanced portfolio that can help mitigate risk and potentially yield higher returns. With the changing and often volatile market conditions, multi asset allocation funds have become an attractive option for investors looking to minimise risk while also seeking steady growth.

However, with the plethora of available investment options, it can be challenging for individuals to determine if multi-asset allocation funds suit their financial goals and risk profile.

Types of Multi-Asset Allocation Funds

Multi-asset allocation funds offer a range of options for investors with different risk tolerances and investment goals. Here are the main types:

1. Conservative Allocation Funds

Conservative allocation funds are designed for investors seeking a lower-risk profile in their investment portfolio. These funds primarily allocate a significant portion of their assets to fixed-income securities such as bonds or treasury bills.

The aim is to provide a more stable and predictable return over time, as fixed-income investments generally offer lower volatility than equities. By limiting exposure to equities, conservative allocation funds prioritise capital preservation and income generation, making them suitable for more risk-averse individuals or those closer to retirement who prioritise stability and income over aggressive growth.

2. Balanced Allocation Funds

Balanced allocation funds strike a middle ground between conservative and aggressive allocation funds. These funds balance equities and fixed-income securities, aiming to offer a moderate level of risk and potential returns.

With a diversified portfolio that includes both stocks and bonds, balanced allocation funds aim to capture the growth potential of equities while providing some downside protection through fixed-income securities. This type of fund is suitable for investors seeking a balanced investment approach, looking for a combination of capital appreciation and income generation while maintaining a reasonable risk level.

3. Aggressive Allocation Funds

Aggressive allocation funds are geared towards investors with a higher risk appetite and a longer investment horizon. These funds have more equities in their portfolio, aiming to maximise capital growth. By focusing on stocks and other growth-oriented assets, aggressive allocation funds offer the potential for higher returns but also come with increased volatility and risk.

These funds are suitable for investors willing to tolerate short-term fluctuations for the potential of long-term capital appreciation and have a longer investment time horizon to ride out market ups and downs.

Key Components of Multi-Asset Allocation Funds

Multi-asset allocation funds consist of key components such as equities, fixed-income securities, alternative investments, and a focus on diversification. Let us look at these in detail.

  1. Equities: Multi-asset allocation funds include a portion of their portfolio allocated to equities. Equities, or stocks, offer the potential for long-term growth and higher returns than other asset classes. They can expose investors to individual companies' performance and broader market indices. However, it's important to note that equities also come with higher volatility and market risks.
  2. Fixed Income: Fixed-income securities are another key component of multi-asset allocation funds. These investments, such as bonds or treasury bills, offer stability and regular income through interest payments. Fixed-income securities are known for their lower volatility compared to equities, making them an important element in balancing the fund's overall risk profile.
  3. Interest Rate Sensitivity: Bond investments within multi-asset allocation funds are subject to interest rate changes. When interest rates rise, the value of existing bonds may decrease, leading to potential capital losses. Conversely, when interest rates fall, bond prices tend to rise. Investors should consider the impact of interest rate movements on the fixed-income portion of the fund when assessing potential risks and returns.
  4. Alternative Investments: Multi-asset allocation funds may include alternative investments like real estate, commodities, or hedge funds. These alternative assets offer diversification benefits as they correlate less to traditional equities and fixed-income securities. They can help reduce overall portfolio risk and enhance returns by providing exposure to different market factors and asset classes.
  5. Diversification Benefits: One of the primary advantages of multi-asset allocation funds is diversification. By combining various asset classes, such as equities, fixed income, and alternative investments, these funds aim to spread risk and minimise the impact of any single investment's performance on the overall portfolio. Diversification can enhance returns while reducing volatility, providing investors with a well-balanced investment strategy.

How Multi-Asset Allocation Funds Work?

Multi-asset allocation funds optimise returns while managing risk by diversifying investments across different asset classes. Investors seeking a well-structured and professionally managed investment approach may find multi-asset allocation funds suitable for their investment goals and risk tolerance.

Here's how they work:

  • Dynamic Asset Allocation: Within multi-asset allocation funds, dynamic asset allocation is employed to adjust the asset mix based on market conditions. This involves continuously monitoring market factors such as economic indicators, company performance, and overall market trends. The fund managers utilise this information to determine the optimal allocation among asset classes, such as equities, fixed income, and alternative investments.
  • Fund Manager's Role in Decision-Making: Fund managers play a critical role in the asset allocation decisions of multi-asset allocation funds. They are responsible for conducting thorough research, analysing market data, and assessing the risk-return characteristics of various asset classes.
  • Rebalancing Strategies: Multi-asset allocation funds employ various rebalancing strategies to maintain the desired asset mix. These strategies involve periodically reviewing the portfolio's asset allocation and adjusting to align it with the fund's target weights.

Who Should Consider Investing in Multi-Asset Allocation Funds?

Investors with moderate risk tolerance and a long-term investment horizon can ideally invest in multi-asset allocation funds. These funds are designed to provide diversification across different asset classes, such as stocks, bonds, and alternative investments.

This diversification helps to mitigate risk and potentially enhance returns over the long term. Additionally, investors with specific financial goals, such as retirement planning or saving for a major expense, can benefit from multi-asset allocation funds' flexibility and active management.

  Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Is a multi-asset fund good?

A: It depends on investor needs. It's good for diversification but may not appeal to risk-takers or self-managers.

Q: How are multi-asset funds taxed in India?

A: If equity is>65%, it's taxed as equity. Else, it's taxed as debt. Long-term gains have different rules than short-term ones.

Q: What are the disadvantages of multi-asset funds?

A: They can yield lower returns in bullish markets and are complex due to variable asset allocation.

Q: Is a multi-asset fund safe?

A: Safety is relative. Multi-asset funds mitigate some risks through diversification but aren't risk-free.

Q: Why choose a multi-asset fund?

A: They offer diversification and professional management and are a balanced investment option.

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Disclaimer: This Article is for information purposes only. The views expressed in this Article do not necessarily constitute the views of Kotak Mahindra Bank Ltd. (“Bank”) or its employees. The Bank makes no warranty of any kind with respect to the completeness or accuracy of the material and articles contained in this Article. The information contained in this Article is sourced from empaneled external experts for the benefit of the customers and it does not constitute legal advice from the Bank. The Bank, its directors, employees and the contributors shall not be responsible or liable for any damage or loss resulting from or arising due to reliance on or use of any information contained herein. Tax laws are subject to amendment from time to time. The above information is for general understanding and reference. This is not legal advice or tax advice, and users are advised to consult their tax advisors before making any decision or taking any action. Mutual Fund investments are subject to market risks, read all scheme related documents carefully.