How understanding NAV can help you make the most of mutual fund investment

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Investing is not just about parking some money in a particular investment fund. It is about understanding everything that a financial product would involve. When investing in mutual funds, one term that you will frequently come across is NAV (Net Asset Value). Understanding NAV is crucial for any mutual fund investor as it helps in assessing the value of their investment and making informed decisions.

NAV is typically calculated at the end of each business day after the market closes. This daily calculation provides a snapshot of the fund’s value, which fluctuates based on the performance of your investment assets. Now let us understand the concept first and then simplify it!

What is NAV in Mutual Funds?

This is the question you may have avoided many times as you must have thought that is not something you have a control. NAV represents the per-unit price of a mutual fund. It is calculated by subtracting the total liabilities of the mutual fund from its total assets and then dividing the result by the number of units outstanding. Hence, NAV is the book value of each unit of the mutual fund.

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Importance of NAV in Mutual Funds

* Pricing

NAV is crucial because it determines the price at which investors buy or sell units of the mutual fund. Unlike stocks, mutual funds are bought and sold based on the NAV of the fund, not on market prices.

* Performance

Investors use NAV to evaluate the performance of a mutual fund. By comparing the NAV over different periods, investors can gauge how well the fund is performing. However, it’s important to note that NAV alone doesn’t provide the complete picture of performance and should be considered along with other metrics like total returns and fund benchmarks.

Adhil Shetty, CEO of says, “Net Asset Value (NAV) reflects the growth of an investment over time. For example, if a fund’s NAV increases from Rs 100 to Rs 120 in one year, this indicates an 20% return on the investment for that period. While direct comparison of NAVs isn’t generally useful, comparing the returns generated by NAVs helps in selecting funds both within and across categories. It is good to seek advice from an expert in case of any confusion,”

* Transparency

NAV offers transparency in mutual fund investment. It shows the current market value of the fund’s assets, providing investors with a clear view of what their investments are worth at any given time.

* Adjustments

When mutual funds distribute dividends or capital gains to investors, the NAV of the fund typically decreases by the amount distributed. Understanding NAV helps investors comprehend these adjustments and their impact on the value of their holdings.

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What Must You Know?

While NAV is important, it’s not the only metric to consider. A lower NAV doesn’t necessarily mean the fund is cheaper or a better investment. Similarly, a higher NAV doesn’t imply it’s overpriced. Investors should look at the overall performance, risk factors, expense ratio, and the track record of the fund manager.

Impact of Market Fluctuations

NAV is influenced by the performance of the underlying assets in the mutual fund. Market volatility can cause significant fluctuations in NAV. Therefore, understanding the nature of the assets in the fund and their market dynamics is crucial for anticipating NAV movements.

Expense Ratio

The expense ratio, which includes management fees and other operational expenses, is deducted from the fund’s assets and impacts the NAV. A high expense ratio can erode returns over time, so it’s important to consider this when evaluating a mutual fund.

Investment Horizon

Mutual funds are best suited for long-term investments. Short-term market fluctuations can impact NAV, but over a longer period, the growth potential of the underlying assets typically leads to an appreciation in NAV. Investors should align their investment horizon with their financial goals and risk tolerance.

Fund Strategy

Each mutual fund has specific investment objectives and strategies, which influence the composition of its portfolio and, consequently, its NAV. Understanding the fund’s objectives and how its strategy aligns with your investment goals is crucial for making informed decisions.

Regular Monitoring

Regularly monitoring the NAV and performance of your mutual fund investments is essential. It helps in understanding the fund’s progress and making necessary adjustments to your portfolio based on changes in market conditions or your financial goals.

In conclusion, NAV provides a clear picture of the per-unit value of the fund, aiding in investment decisions. However, while NAV is important, it should be considered alongside other factors like performance metrics, expense ratios, and the fund’s investment strategy.