What are Mutual Fund Fixed Maturity Plans

Fixed Maturity Plans (FMPs) are close ended mutual fund fixed income schemes. Investors can subscribe to this scheme only during the new fund offer period (NFO period). The tenure of the scheme is fixed. Investor’s cannot redeem units of Fixed Maturity Plans during the tenure of the scheme. Upon maturity of the scheme, the maturity amount will get credited to your bank account. Post the change in taxation of debt mutual funds announced in 2014 Budget, Fixed Maturity Plans (FMPs) now have a minimum tenure of 3 years to avoid short term capital gains tax. Long term capital gains (investments held for more than 3 years) in debt funds (FMPs are debt funds) are taxed at 20% after allowing for indexation benefits. Indexation benefits reduce the tax obligation of investors and the effective tax rate is much lower.

Fixed Maturity Plans usually invest in a variety of fixed income securities like, commercial papers, certificates of deposits and corporate bonds. The fund managers usually buy and hold the securities in the FMP portfolio till maturity and accrue the interest earned paid by the securities. Since the securities are held to maturity, interest rate risk is very low. The fund manager(s) ensures that the maturities of the securities match the tenure of the scheme. For example, if the tenure of an FMP is 1100 days, then the fund manager will invest in fixed income securities which will mature in 3 years and hold them to maturity. This is done to avoid re-investment risk. The investment strategy of Fixed Maturity Plans makes these mutual fund schemes attractive to investors who are looking for stable returns.

Who should invest in Fixed Maturity Plans (FMP)

  • FMPs are suitable for conservative investors (investors with low risk tolerance, looking for stable returns
  • Investors who have a investment horizon of three years or more and do not need liquidity during the tenure of the investment
  • Unlike Fixed Deposits, mutual funds do not give assured returns. However, past track record suggests that fixed maturity plans usually give better returns than FDs on a pre-tax basis.
  • Investors in the higher tax brackets, who lose a significant portion of their FD interest to taxes. FD interest is taxed as per the income tax slab rate of the investor. As discussed earlier, FMP returns are taxed at 20% after allowing for indexation benefits. This makes FMP returns more attractive than FD interest on a post tax basis.

Read tax benefit of mutual funds versus other investment options

If you understand the risk return characteristics of FMPs, you will realize that FMPs can give better returns than FDs, even after factoring in the risk free nature of FDs. Even though FMPs are subject to market risks, the risk is quite low. If you want to reduce your risk even further, you can select FMPs that invest only in the highest quality (e.g. AAA, AA) debt papers. Information about the investment strategy and the type of securities which the FMP will invest in is provided in the scheme information document of the FMP. Investors should read the scheme information document carefully before investing.

Read what are different types of mutual funds in India