Returns of this multi-cap fund won’t always excite, but Tata Balanced will reward over time…
03-Jul-2012 •Research Desk
This fund takes chances, but its track record does not go downhill as a result. In 2008, it managed an average show despite equity allocation averaging 69 per cent. Last year, the allocation averaged 74 per cent yet it fell by less than the category. Thanks to “marginal allocation to Metals, Oil & Gas, Utilities, Engineering and Capital Goods; underweight in Banking, specially PSU banks; overweight in FMCG, Pharma and some mid caps,” says Bhole.
Despite its ability to stem the fall, it’s not a conservative fund. Its multi-cap strategy with a fairly high equity allocation makes it an aggressive bet. And during market rallies, it’s known to put up a top quartile performance. In the past three years, the equity allocation has always been above 70 per cent. “While the mandate is 65-75 per cent in equity, we believe that we can add more value by staying invested in quality companies as in the longer term equities have delivered superior returns than debt. When our research comes up with bottom-up investment opportunities which fit the parameters laid down, the element of timing for good/ bad news flow goes down. In general such companies tend to surprise positively in terms of fundamentals and valuation re-rating in the medium to long-term,” says Bhole.
This allocation is diversified across 50 stocks, on an average, with single allocation rarely crossing 5 per cent. It started off as a large-cap fund but from 2003 onwards began to cast its lot with smaller companies and since then has altered the capitalisation bias depending on market conditions.
The activity on the equity side is also witnessed in its sector churns which are sometimes quite apparent. However, it can be argued that it is the result of the bottom-up stock picking approach and the changing valuations and opportunities spotted by the fund manager. On the debt side the fund’s favourite are certificates of deposit (CDs) and debentures.
Launched as Tata Equity Growth it got off to a rough start. A name change in December 1999 did not help either. But over the past decade the fund has made a case for itself. There will be times when it is a top quartile performer and others where it is very average. You must ignore those hiccups and keep a focus on the long term. n