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Identity Crisis

This fund house does it again. In less than three years, Tata Mutual has changed the name of its diversified equity fund at least 3 times. Small wonder, with no clear focus, this fund's NAV is sub-par.

Oof! this fund really has some stamina for changing its name at the drop of a hat. Its name-changing itch has been on since its inception as a closed-end fund in 1996. Guess what, Tata Mutual has again renamed Tata Select Sector Fund, an open-end equity scheme, as Tata Select Equity Fund. The reason: to take advantage of equity opportunities not only in terms of sector but also individual stocks. The fund doesn't want to invest in only five sectors, as was the case till date, instead ''it aims to invest across sectors with no limitation on the number of sectors to be invested in at any given time''.

Now let us go back into history and see how it started. Named Tata Core to start with, the fund was rechristened Tata IT on the eve of the tech boom. This was despite the fact that the AMC was already managing Tata Life Sciences and Technology, which had a predominant technology investment. Soon, in April 2001, the fund rechristened its Tata IT Sector as Tata Select Sector Fund -- a second conversion for the fund in less than 18 months. This transition was accompanied by an objective change, with the fund hopping from ICE portfolio to a diversified equity scheme. Incidentally, Tata Select's investment menu was not very different from the original Tata Core Sector Fund. As a result, it has been a nightmare for investors who have parked investments here. The fund's NAV is below par, Rs 7.75 as on August 7, 2002.

The AMC has some capacity to experiment with various products, launches, etc. If investor's remain a confused lot owing to frequent changes, they aren't to be blamed. Its about time the fund gets focussed on the real job -- managing investors' money better.