Alternative investment funds (AIFs) are privately pooled investment funds that doesn’t fall under the jurisdiction of SEBI (Securities and Exchange Board of India) or any other regulatory agencies in India. These funds are specifically tailored for HNIs (High Networth Individuals) and institutional investors who don’t want to invest in traditional asset classes like stocks, bonds, etc. So, how do AIFs work, what is their investment objective and how are they beneficial for capital growth? Let’s demystify.
According to the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI), an alternative investment fund (AIF) is a privately pooled investment vehicle that collects assets from expert investors, whether Indian or foreign, in the form of a trust or a company or a body corporate or a Limited Liability Partnership (LLP). Since these are privately pooled funds, the SEBI (Mutual Funds) Laws of 1996, the SEBI (Collective Investment Schemes) Laws of 1999, or any other Board regulations governing fund management do not apply to AIF.
According to the Securities and Exchange Board of India, there are three broad categories of AIFS:
These mainly invest in start-ups, small and medium enterprises, social ventures, or other sectors that the government considers economically and socially desirable. The government supports and gives incentives to investors for such projects as they have a positive multiplier effect on the economy.
Funds under this category aid businesses that show massive growth potential. These funds are as follows:
As per SEBI regulations, those funds that do not fall under Category I and III are part of this category. Furthermore, those schemes that do not undertake leveraging or borrowing other than to meet daily operational requirements are also a part of Category II.
Funds under this category mainly invest in various equity and debt instruments. Thus, they do not receive any incentives from the government. The subcategories are given below:
The funds under this category have the objective of providing short-term returns to unit-holders. To achieve this goal, they use various complex trading techniques like arbitrage, margin trading, derivatives trading, etc. Furthermore, to make short-term capital gains, these funds invest in listed and unlisted derivatives.
Unlike other traditional investment options, these do not face enormous regulations. However, like Category II, these funds also receive no incentives from the government or any other regulator. The subcategories are as follows:
For Category I and II, an AIF sponsor must contribute at least 2.5% of the fund corpus or Rs. 5 crore (whichever is lower) towards initial capital investment. In the case of Category III, the contribution increases to 5% of the corpus or Rs. 10 crore.
Each AIF scheme has a minimum corpus of Rs. 20 crore (Rs. 10 crore for angel funds). Along with that, there is also a cap on the number of investors each scheme can have. Most schemes cannot have more than 1000 investors, whereas angel funds can cater to a maximum of 49 investors.
With alternative investment funds, you can choose between close and open-ended funds. Category I and II are close-ended funds with a minimum subscription tenure of three years. Meanwhile, Category III provides an option of being close or open-ended. Thus, if you want to end the subscription at any time, you can opt for open-ended funds in Category III.
If you are able to meet the eligibility requirements of investing in AIFs, you can enjoy the following benefits:
The primary benefit of AIFs is that it offers unique asset allocation and diversification of portfolio. The number of asset classes available for investment is more than most of the other investment vehicles, and their performance is uncorrelated to the stock market. Thus, there is more flexibility for fund managers while building a portfolio.
As noted above, the investments undertaken in an AIF are unrelated or less related to the stock market. Thus, their returns do not fluctuate owing to the ups and downs in the broader market. Furthermore, as AIFs do not allocate funds to investments that trade publicly, unit-holders do not have to tolerate share price fluctuations. So, if you are looking to stabilise your portfolio, AIFs are one of the best investment opportunities.
As AIFs tap into a broader investment universe, they can offer high returns. Due to their investment strategy, these funds are a better source of passive income compared to many traditional instruments like debentures or bonds. Furthermore, due to minimal dependency on the stock market, the chances of return fluctuations are also less.
The following table presents a chart of some of the best alternative investment funds in India:
|Name of the AIF||Investment Strategy|
|Girik Advisors||Girik Multicap Growth Equity Fund|
|Abakkus Asset Manager||Emerging Opportunities Fund|
|Vishuddha Capital||India Value and Growth Fund|
|Alchemy Capital||Leaders of Tomorrow (ALOT)|
|Ampersand Capital||Growth Opportunities Fund Scheme|
|Roha Asset Managers||Roha Emerging Companies Fund|
|Carnelian Asset Management||Capital Compounder Fund|
|Proalpha Capital||QG Dynamic Equity Fund (QGD)|
|Accuracap Tech||Vectra Fund|
|TCG Advisory Services||SMF Disruption Fund|
AIFs attract many high net worth individuals in India with their tax benefits. Category I, and after the Finance Act of 2015, Category II enjoy a pass-through status. It means that the AIF does not have to pay any tax on the earnings of these two categories.
However, the income of these investors or unit-holders will be subject to tax based on their respective tax slabs. If the fund invests in equity instruments, then investors pay a capital gain tax of 15% (short term investment) or 10% (long term investment).
Meanwhile, Category III is taxable at the fund level and enjoys no pass-through status. It faces the highest rate of income tax, i.e. 42.7%. The unit-holders receive their returns after the deduction of this tax.
Alternative investment funds bring a unique risk and investment profile that help high-net-worth individuals to make long-term bets. However, investing in unconventional financial instruments comes with its own challenges and regulations. So, inspect the features and types of AIFs before deciding to invest in Alternative Investment Funds.
However, AIFs are for niche investors and may not be aligned with your investment goals. A better alternative would be investing in equity mutual funds. Navi Mutual Fund offers a wide range of low-cost funds across sectors catering to investors of varied investment goals and risk tolerance, Download the app and select funds of your choice. Worried about market risks? Well, you can start investing with as low as Rs.10!
The main difference between portfolio management services and alternative investment funds lies in their portfolio. PMS have a tailor-made portfolio that invests in fixed income instruments and asks for a minimum investment of Rs. 50 lakh. Meanwhile, AIF act as a pooled investment vehicle that invests in non-traditional instruments and has a minimum investment value of Rs. 1 crore. Nonetheless, both cater to high-net-worth individuals.
In financial terms, corpus refers to the total amount of money that investors commit to putting in a scheme. This commitment is via a written contract or a similar document. In the case of AIFs, the fund must have a minimum overall investment of Rs. 20 crore or Rs. 10 crore for angel funds.
A sponsor is a person or group of people who establish an alternative investment fund. In a company, the promoter acts as a sponsor, and for a Limited Liability Partnership, this role is played by a partner.
The objective of AIFs is to benefit the high-net-worth unit-holders only. So, they cannot raise funds from the public by inviting them to buy their securities. They can only raise funds through private placements.
These are a type of venture capital funds that pool in capital from angel investors to invest in start-ups. Angel investors need to have net tangible assets worth Rs. 2 crore. Furthermore, to bring in some business management knowledge, these investors need to be in a senior management post for at least ten years.
Want to put your savings into action and kick-start your investment journey 💸 But don’t have time to do research? Invest now with Navi Nifty 50 Index Fund, sit back, and earn from the top 50 companies.
Disclaimer: Mutual Fund investments are subject to market risks, read all scheme-related documents carefully.
This article has been prepared on the basis of internal data, publicly available information and other sources believed to be reliable. The information contained in this article is for general purposes only and not a complete disclosure of every material fact. It should not be construed as investment advice to any party. The article does not warrant the completeness or accuracy of the information and disclaims all liabilities, losses and damages arising out of the use of this information. Readers shall be fully liable/responsible for any decision taken on the basis of this article.
10 Best SIP Plans for 1000 Per Month in India 2023Systematic Investment Plan (SIP) is an investment style or route with which you can invest a fixed ... Read More »
How to Invest in Mutual Funds in India – Easy StepsMutual funds can be an excellent way to diversify your portfolio and gain exposure to a wide range ... Read More »
20 Best Nifty 50 Index Funds in India to Invest in April 2023What is the Nifty 50 Index Fund? Nifty 50 index funds are a type of passively-managed equi... Read More »
Asset Management Company (AMC) – Types and BenefitsWhat is an Asset Management Company (AMC)? Asset Management Company or AMC is a financial ... Read More »
10 Best Gold Mutual Funds to Invest in India (April 2023)Gold Mutual Funds are funds that invest in gold and gold-related assets such as bullion, coin... Read More »
20 Best Flexi Cap Mutual Funds to Invest in India 2023Flexi-cap funds are mutual fund schemes that aim to invest in stocks of companies across market cap... Read More »
Best SIP Plans for 15 years – Top 10 SIP Plans to Invest in India 2023A systematic investment plan (SIP) could be a convenient mode or style of investing in mutual funds... Read More »
10 Best SIP Plans for 1 year Investment in India 2023There has been a massive surge in SIP or Systematic Investment Plan investors in recent years. As p... Read More »
10 Best SIP Plan for 3 Years in India to Invest in 2023SIP or Systematic Investment Plan helps bring investment discipline in an investor’s life. It’s... Read More »
10 Best SIP Plan for 10 years India in 2023 – Returns and PerformanceAsk any beginner mutual fund investor and most of them would tell you that their preferred mode of ... Read More »