Sharekhan Blog

Demat Account for Mutual Fund Investments

  • Mar 5, 2024

But should you use a Demat account for investing in mutual funds as well, or stick to the traditional paper-based route?

This blog examines the pros and cons of Demat accounts for mutual fund investments to help you evaluate if shifting your portfolio to an electronic format is worthwhile. We also suggest smart mutual fund investing tips for newbies wary of market risks.

What is a Demat Account?

For the uninitiated, Demat is short for dematerialised account. It is an online portfolio account used to hold financial securities and investments in electronic format instead of physical certificates.

Demat accounts allow easy online access to view holdings as well as conveniently buy and sell securities on stock exchanges electronically. Leading depositories facilitating the dematerialisation of holdings in India include NSDL and CDSL.

Do You Need a Demat Account for Mutual Funds?

Traditionally, mutual fund units were issued in paper form, documenting a number of units owned by the investor. However, in line with equity share markets going digital, mutual funds also offer the flexibility to hold units in Demat form now.

So do you need to compulsorily open a Demat account for investing in mutual funds?

The answer is NO. Opening a Demat account is optional for parking mutual fund investments. You can still invest in mutual fund schemes by submitting physical documents without a demat account. However, opening one does offer some key conveniences that make it worth considering.

Benefits of Investing in Mutual Funds Through Demat

Here are some handy advantages of a Demat account for mutual funds that make going paperless worthwhile:

1. Easy Tracking & Monitoring

Demat account allows you to view and monitor overall investments in one place easily. Get online capital gains statements, consolidated account statements, and market value of holdings.

2. Streamlines Redemption & Switches

Redeeming or switching investments becomes faster and simpler through online instructions instead of filling out physical forms.

3. Enables Pledging Assets as Collateral

Demat MF units can be conveniently pledged as collateral for raising loans instead of using paper certificates.

4. Aids Estate Planning

Electronically holding mutual fund assets directly in beneficiary Demat accounts streamlines inheritance transfer and estate planning.

5. Eliminates Physical Storage Needs

Going digital overcomes hassles in handling, safekeeping, and retrieving bulky physical mutual fund certificates. Ease of tracking, transacting, and inheriting your mutual fund portfolio makes opening a Demat account for mutual funds worthwhile.

Disadvantages of Demat Account for Mutual Fund Investment

However, along with the advantages, here are some potential downsides of Demat account for mutual funds to consider:

1. Additional Account Opening & AMC Fees

Opening and maintaining a Demat account entails charges like account opening fees, annual maintenance charges, and custodial fees.

2. Lacks Fund Variety Compared to Regular Plans

Many mutual fund schemes and plans still don’t offer the Demat option. The available choice is wider in traditional paper-based funds.

3. Cannot Reinvest Dividends in Demat Mode

If you prefer reinvesting mutual fund dividends to earn compounding benefits, demat mode may not suit you as it only allows a dividend payout option currently.

4. Cannot Hold All Asset Classes Via Demat

Unlike equity mutual funds, other asset classes like debt funds or gold funds still need to be held in paper-based form only.

So weigh the demerits, viz. lack of variety, added fees, and inability to reinvest dividends, before deciding whether to open a Demat account for your mutual fund portfolio.

Tips for Investing in Mutual Funds for First-Timers

For new investors just starting, here are some key mutual fund investment tips to gain higher return potential while mitigating risks:

1. Clearly Define Financial Goals & Timelines

Having a target amount, purpose, and investment duration in mind, guides appropriate mutual fund scheme selection.

2. Balance Risk Profile

Assess risk appetite realistically and build a portfolio with an optimal mix of high-risk-high-return equity funds and stable debt funds.

3. Diversify Within and Across Categories

Mitigate risks through adequate diversification into various market cap funds and sectors as well as across equity, debt, and gold.

4. Opt for Systematic Investment Plans

Invest fixed amounts at regular intervals to benefit from rupee cost averaging and compounding.

5. Track Performance, But Avoid Blind Churning

Review portfolio periodically, but don’t switch schemes chasing short-term high returns.

The Bottom Line

Equipped with this handy checklist, even first-time investors can confidently venture into mutual funds. Feel free to invest using the traditional paper route or modern demat mode per your preference and convenience.

So, analyse your specific needs and financial discipline to determine whether to open a Demat account for mutual funds or not. Either route, armed with the right mutual fund selection approach and patience, lucrative investing outcomes await over the long term!

Team Sharekhan
by Team Sharekhan

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