A characteristic of this fund is its determination to stick close to its equity limit of 20 per cent irrespective of the state of the market. Even in 2008, the equity allocation dropped to less than 10 per cent only twice. Adhering to such a strategy would mean that the fund should deliver impressively when the equity market is on a roll. However, there is no consistent pattern. In 2008, when the equity market was in the doldrums, the fund put up a fabulous performance. In 2007, when the market kept rising, the returns were below average. Last year, the fund got thrashed with a return of -0.24 per cent when the category average was in positive terrain with 1.94 per cent.
With an equity allocation of almost 18 per cent (average over past 3 years), it attempts to mitigate the risk by diversifying amongst numerous stocks. Over the past year, the number has ranged between 25 and 52.
The aggression on the debt side also plays both ways. It’s not unusual to see the average maturity shoot up. In 2011, the maturity of the fund’s portfolio averaged 3.54 years (category average: 1.50 years) hitting a maximum of 5.84 years. Currently, it is close to five years (category average: 2.10 years). Sometimes these bets play off well. In December 2008, the average maturity was 10.24 years (category average: 3.11 years) leading to a 13.11 per cent gain for the fund that month (category average: 2.50%). But there is a flip side. It was hit for its aggressive stance the very next month when it lost around 4.33 per cent (category average: -0.74%).
While assets consistently rose from March 2009 (Rs 155.92 crore) to March 2011 (Rs 8,393.45 crore), the expense ratio actually increased during this period. Currently, it is slightly lower than the category average.