scorecardIt’s not banks but insurance that the retail investors now fancy
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It’s not banks but insurance that the retail investors now fancy

It’s not banks but insurance that the retail investors now fancy
Finance3 min read
  • Investments in gold ETFs grew by a whopping 472% at ₹841 crore in October ‘23.
  • Despite words of caution by experts, retail investors continue to bet on midcap funds for better returns, thanks to government policies.
  • The weight of automobiles in overall allocation jumped to an almost 5-year high of 8.4% (up 10 bps MoM and 70 bps YoY) in October 2023.

All that glitters is gold when it comes to the festive season in India. A month ahead of Diwali, retail investors chose to tank up on gold funds, going by data released by the Association of Mutual Funds of India (AMFI). Moreover, the weightage on sectors like auto, utilities and insurance stocks increased significantly while sectors such as banking saw a moderation.

Investments in gold ETFs (exchange traded funds) grew by a whopping 472% at ₹841 crore in October compared to ₹147 crore in the same period last year. But that is not all, retail investors are now mature and picking themes with a view on higher value creation over the long term.

The month of October reflects this trend quite clearly. As large caps continue to struggle, retail investors continue to bulk up on small and midcap funds that have already delivered over 40% returns this year. After a short blip in September, small cap funds attracted higher inflows to the tune of around ₹4,495 crore in October, up from ₹2,678 crore in September.

According to ICRA Analytics, for a country to grow it should grow intrinsically strong and adopt a bottoms-up approach. The government is focusing on this and is making policies to strengthen such small companies. This is likely to augur well for small and mid-sized firms and would help in higher value creation.

G. Pradeepkumar, CEO, Union Mutual Fund, says: “If one takes into account the allocations to mid and small caps in categories such as multicap, flexicap and large & mid Cap, it appears that anywhere from 40% to 50% of the total net flows could have gone to mid and small-cap stocks. While the long-term outlook for these companies is positive, investors should remain cautious about the possibility of short-term market volatility and consider a staggered approach to their investments.”

It is not just betting on smaller stocks that will lead to higher value creation that shows that the Indian retail investor has evolved. Analysis shows that the pace of redemptions slowed down to Rs 26,000 crore (down 14.8% month-on-month). Consequently, net inflows accelerated to ₹22,000 crore in October from ₹15,500 crore in September 2023.

Financialisation of savings is a big trend that has been playing out since 2016 in India. The retail investor’s faith in the India story has not faded despite the headwinds. Explains Ashwini Kumar, Head Market Data, ICRA Analytics, “Net inflows during the month of October 2023 have grown by a whooping 473% at ₹80,528 crore, as against ₹14,047 crore in October 2022.”

The sectoral shift

The story gets even more interesting when one digs deeper into the monthly flows. Net inflows into equity-oriented schemes grew by 113% at ₹19,957 crore in October, up from ₹9,390 crore in the same period last year.

According to analysis done by Motilal Oswal Financial Services (MOFS), the month saw notable changes in the sector and stock allocation of funds. Retail investors are doubling down on automobiles, utilities, consumer and insurance sectors. On a MoM basis, the weights of all these sectors increased while that of banks (Private & PSU) , technology, capital goods, and metals moderated.

The weight of automobiles jumped to an almost five-year (59-month) high of 8.4% (up 10 basis points month-on-month and +70 basis point year-on-year) in October 2023.

Utilities’ weight climbed for the second consecutive month to a 38-month high of 3.9% (+10bp MoM, +60bp YoY), says MOFS.

The weightage for private banks moderated for the fourth consecutive month to 18.7% (-20bp MoM, flat YoY) in October 2023. PSU Banks overall weight declined to 3% (-20bp MoM, -70bp YoY) and this is the lowest since February 2021.

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