POSTED BY March 17, 2010 COMMENTS (496)ON
Now a days, we are seeing a new “Innovative” product in the market. They’re called Highest NAV Guaranteed Plans .These products have come in, after the recent crash in the market, and companies are taking advantage of the fact that Investors are looking for some kind of a safe investment equity product. Hence, they’ve launched these Highest NAV Return ULIP’s which confuse investors and make them (the investors :)), believe that they are going to get the highest return from the Stock market in long run – generally the tenure is 7 yrs, for these plans .
In this article, we look at how Highest NAV Guarantee ULIP’s work, and you will understand, how any Guarantee product can be created by simple methods . The simple catch, here is that these schemes, are structured in such a manner, that the collected funds can be invested either in equities, debt instruments or in money-market instruments in proportions varying from zero to 100%
These plans use strategies like Dynamic Hedging and CPPI (Constant proportion portfolio insurance), which are advanced strategies used in Derivatives world. But, let me explain a simplified version of the whole process.
Supposing a policy starts today and is guaranteed to give highest NAV in next 7 yrs and we can control how money moves to debt and equity, its pretty simple.
In the beginning, let’s assume a NAV of Rs 10, and the Asset allocation is 100% in equity and 0% in debt . Now suppose, the market moves up and NAV goes upto Rs 15 by the end of the first year, at this point, try to understand what Insurance company has to provide – they have to make sure, that they provide at least Rs 15 as the return after 6 yrs . Now in order to achieve this, all they have to do is keep X amount in debt instruments which will mature in next 6 years and provide Rs 15 at the end of 6 yrs, so assuming the debt return at 7%, they need to put around Rs 10 in Bonds , so that the maturity of the bond is Rs 15 at the end of 6 yrs .
=> 10 * (1.07)^6
They can now invest the rest Rs 5 in Equity as Rs 10 is allocated to Debt . So, now they’ve made sure that whatever happens to the market, they get Rs 15 for sure at the end of 6 yrs. Now, there are two possibilities
Case 1 : Market Goes down : If market goes down, the NAV will go down correspondingly, but as per the strategy, the maturity value will be at least Rs 15.
Case 2 : Market Goes up again : If market goes up at this point and the NAV rises above 15, for example say to Rs. 18, now again they will pull out money from Equity and allocate such an amount to debt, that the maturity at the end of total 7 yrs would be Rs 18 and so on…
Following is a pictorial description of how the Guaranteed NAV plan works with assumption of a 7 year tenure.
You have to read in between the lines; Investors need to understand that these schemes guarantee the “Highest NAV”, READ AGAIN! , it’s Highest NAV and not “Highest Returns” . Normal Investors don’t give much thought before buying these products and normally assume that the returns will be linked to the Equity Markets .
So, what are the return expectations of these funds? We know, that long-term equity returns, are normally in the 12-15% range while, debt returns turn out to be 6-7%. So, considering the fact, that these products will shift most of their money to debt, by the end of the tenure , we can expect the returns to be in range of 9-10%. We do get some equity upside in these products, but that will be limited. After a point, this product will turn into a debt oriented fund with a major portion in debt . Also if you factor in costs, like premium allocation charges , fund management charges and other yearly charges, the returns will not be what you actually expect.
You will be amazed to know, that the returns expected from these schemes, may be lower than the returns offered by equity-oriented Ulips. The reason being, that the basic objective of protecting the previous high NAV of the fund, may constrain the fund manager’s ability to take risks while allocating funds. So if the market has fallen down, the fund manager can’t take the risk of shifting the money from Debt to Equity to gain from the potential upsides in future , because they have to provide the “Guarantee.”
Source : LiveMint Research
Let’s talk about mistakes from the investors point of view. We, as investors, don’t think with inquisitive, susceptive minds. Getting good returns from stock markets is anyways a tough thing in itself. So when these companies come up with plans like these, which say “highest NAV in 7 yrs”, we have to ask, “How is this possible?” . Dont say it’s not possible at all, just ask how? How do they achieve it? Stop seeing dreams of getting high returns without looking at the risk involved, and try to find out – what is the strategy they’re using , Is there something in between the lines ?
We all want to get great returns, but we have to shed this belief that, companies come up with plans specially for us. All the companies out there exist to earn money, and their motive behind every product is to make money, & generate profits for their companies, so that they keep their shareholders happy. So next time a product like this comes up , you have to control your emotions before getting in and first investigate. The worst part of this whole business, (of guaranteed highest NAV products) is the timing and how it gives naive investors, high illusions about the product. Products like these, take major advantage of psychology of the ordinary saver. Many Investors in smaller towns have broken their Fixed Deposits and taken some loan to invest in products like these, especially SBI Life Smart Ulip and LIC Wealth Plus because of the trust factor with LIC and SBI . See How Agents are Misselling LIC Wealth Plus
If you are looking for modest returns, like 8-10%, you can invest in these policies. The return of these policies may be high in the beginning, if market does well; but when market starts performing badly, the returns can take a hit and then be in a tight range. Your NAV will be protected for sure, but the returns wont be, since over time the CAGR return will go down. Remember, if your NAV is 10 today and you highest NAV is 20, for a 2 year period, the return is a good enough 41%, but by the 4th year it’s just 18.9% and by the end of 7th year it’s a measly 10.4%. So what you really need, is protection of returns, not the NAV which is just a fixed number.[ad#big-banner]
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