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Should SIPs be continued when returns are negative?


Monthly collections through SIPs hit an alltime high of ₹7,350 crore in June, which shows high interest in investing in equity mutual funds through the SIP route. However, many investors who started investing in equity mutual funds using SIPs in the past year are seeing negative returns due to the correction in the markets. Find out what they should do in that case:

1. I started SIPs in three equity mutual funds in January, of which two are giving negative returns. What should I do?
Investors should not start evaluating SIP returns in less than a years time, as they could see disproportionate returns in the near term. For example, in 2017, we saw one-year SIPs in midcap funds delivering as high as 40% return, but right now, some mutual funds are showing negative returns. They should continue with the SIPs with a longterm time frame of 5 to 10 years. During this long cycle, the equity markets will go through a number of ups and down, and in some of these times, they are bound to see negative returns. In the long term, equity market returns follow the nominal GDP growth rates. Hence, investors should continue their SIPs irrespective of the ones giving negative returns.

2. I will continue with my SIP, but does it make sense to change the mutual fund scheme if the existing SIP returns are negative?
Typically, six months is too short a period to judge a scheme and its returns. Ideally, investors should give the fund manager three to five years to perform. If the fund underperforms its benchmark even over a three-year period, then investors could take a closer look at it and shift to another fund. Alternatively, if the mandate of the scheme has changed, or the fund manager has changed, they should discuss this with an advisor before arriving at a decision.

3. How long can you run an SIP for?
Most fund houses stipulate a minimum time frame of 6 months for the SIP. Investors can choose any tenure they wish, which could be 3, 5 or even 10 years, or link it to their long-term goals. Investors also have the choice to opt for the perpetual option, which means the SIP will continue till the investor gives an instruction to the fund house to close it. Financial planners suggest investors link each SIP they do to a particular goal and continue with the SIP till the goal is reached.
4. I have money to spare every month post my annual salary hike. Should I increase the allocation?
Do not get disturbed by the volatility in the markets. Use this opportunity of a salary raise to increase your SIP amount proportionately by using the top-up facility provided by the fund house. It is important that as your income grows, so should your investment amount.

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