Equity mutual funds witnessed an addition of over 8.4 lakh investor accounts or folios in the first eight months of this financial year (2014-15) in view of sharp rally in the stock market. Folios are numbers designated to individual investor accounts, though one investor can have multiple folios.
According to Securities and Exchange Board of India data on investor accounts with 45 fund houses, number of equity folios rose to 3,0,024,747 at last month-end from 2,91,80,922 for the whole of last fiscal ending (March 31, 2014), registering a gain of 8,43,825 folios till November period of this fiscal.
The additions came at a time when the market was scaling new highs. The month of April saw the first rise in more than four years. Prior to that, the equity mutual fund (MF) sector had seen a continuous closure of folios since March 2009 after the market crashed due to the global financial crisis in late 2008. Since March 2009, it has seen a closure of 1.5 crore folios.
The investor base reached its peak of 4.11 crore in March 2009, while it was 3.77 crore in March 2008. Industry experts said that a strong rally in the equity market and the consequent rise in investors' interest led to a sharp increase in retail folios.
"Increased participation by retail investors in equities has undoubtedly led to increase in folio numbers. The industry's focus on investor awareness seems to have contributed to further growth in terms of new investors coming in," HSBC Global Asset Management
India CEO Puneet Chaddha said.
Quantum AMC CEO Jimmy Patel said: "It is the optimism of investors because of which the folios in equity segment have increased." The addition in equity folios is in line with BSE's benchmark Sensex surging by 28 per cent in the first eight months of the current financial year.
Moreover, mutual funds industry reported net inflows of nearly Rs 44,000 crore in equity funds in the April-November period of the current fiscal (2014-15), which helped the industry grow its folio count. Overall, the industry retail folios surged to 3.99 crore at November-end from 3.95 crore at the end of March.