Why do the world’s most value-for-money people choose a pre-tax 4% return on the money that they leave in their savings deposits? It is the twin advantage of safety and liquidity that makes people love their savings deposits. But an aggressive mutual fund industry is using new products and processes to offer alternatives to these deposits, and is taking the battle for the share of the household savings right to the door of banks. Remember that mutual funds have product categories that can look after most of your money management needs—from liquid money to building and milking retirement funds. Last week, the Securities and Exchange Board of India (Sebi) announced a series of rule changes that make it safer and easier for investors to shift from a bank savings deposit to a liquid fund and allow people to use their e-wallets to invest in funds.
One of the lasting images out of the rubble of the 2008 financial holocaust is that of US citizens declaring their patriotism by shopping. “I put money in the economy when I bought my 30th handbag or fifth car,” was the mantra. As a card-holding patriotic Indian, ever wondered what our patriotic duty is? It is to move cash out of that savings deposit into more productive assets. A savings deposit of Rs100 allows just Rs70 to get lent forward due to the various prudent banking (no quibble with those) requirements. Moving this cash to a longer-term product would not only earn us a better return, but will also allow entrepreneurs to borrow more cheaply than they do now. But we hoard cash. At least 50% of household savings is in bank deposits.