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Can curated investment basket of well-chosen stocks replace mutual funds in your portfolio? – Economic Times

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Small investors keen to tap into the expertise of market mavens are no longer confining their bets to mutual funds. Many are choosing to deploy money in specially curated portfolios put together and run by experienced market professionals and boutique investment firms. In the past few years, there has been a proliferation of curated equity baskets from platforms such as Smallcase and WealthDesk. Investment experts, including Sunil Singhania of Abakkus, Devina Mehra of First Global, Vikas Gupta of OmniScience Capital and market expert Ambareesh Baliga, among others, offer readymade stock portfolios to retail investors. These portfolios come at a nominal cost compared to the fees that rich investors shell out for PMS offerings from the same professionals.

Is this route worth exploring for small investors? The returns are certainly quite attractive. The best performing small-case portfolio Value & Momentum run by Windmill Capital has risen 155% in the past three years (see graphic). This is much ahead of the 50.2% rise in the BSE 500 but comparable to the 158% growth registered by Quant Small Cap Fund, the best performing mutual fund during the same period. Can these curated baskets of well-chosen stocks replace mutual funds in your portfolio? Let’s find out.

How does it work?

Curated portfolios are typically a research-driven basket of stocks or ETFs reflecting a particular idea, theme, goal, investing style or strategy. These are created and managed by investment professionals registered with SEBI. To invest in curated portfolios, you may go via any of the brokers that have a tie up with either Smallcase or WealthDesk. Both platforms are directly integrated with top stockbrokers, including Zerodha, Upstox, Angel One, Securities, ICICI Direct and Kotak Securities. New-to-market investors can sign up with a platform and select a suitable broking partner. Once your account is set up, you can browse the catalogue of portfolios and select the one that suits your requirement.

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The platforms briefly outline the investment rationale for every idea or theme as also the methodology behind the portfolio construction. Investors can see its performance record relative to a benchmark index. But details about the portfolio holdings is made available only after you subscribe. Once you sign up, you can purchase the entire basket of stocks with a single click. The platform will place buy orders for all securities in the basket via the broker, which will get executed immediately depending on the prevailing liquidity.

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“The tech behind the platform and direct integration with brokers facilitates seamless one-click purchase of the entire basket,” says Vikas Gupta, Chief Investment Strategist of OmniScience Capital, which runs 21 smallcases of multiple strategies. The shares are directly credited to your demat account the next day. If a few orders are not fulfilled, fresh orders are placed to ensure the investor’s basket aligns with the curated portfolio. Investors can even set up SIPs in each portfolio, where they can put in a the chosen basket after the initial investment.

They can also exit the entire basket at any time or choose to sell individual stocks within the portfolio separately. Curated portfolios are closely monitored by the experts who run them. These are rebalanced periodically—either at the portfolio manager’s discretion or at specific intervals—to ensure that the portfolio remains aligned with its broader theme or strategy. Existing investors are sent a notification to rebalance the portfolio, by buying the incoming names and selling the outgoing companies—again at the click of a button. Smallcase gives investors the option to accept or reject the rebalancing advice. You can skip the update if you do not want to apply it, points out Anugrah Shrivastava, Co-founder, Smallcase Technologies.

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Rebalance advisories issued by the managers is made available on the platform by the end of the trading day. The related communication is sent to investors on the next market day. On WealthDesk, you need to accept and execute the modifications if you wish to stay invested within the subscribed portfolio. In case you do not wish to rebalance, you may exit the WealthBasket or simply continue to track your existing investments within the WealthBasket. Rebalancing updates on WealthDesk are issued during market hours.

How do investors benefit?

Curated portfolios allow investors to venture beyond plain vanilla equity mutual funds. Individuals who would otherwise find PMS offerings unaffordable, can tap the investing expertise of the same professionals who run portfolios for HNIs. While the minimum investment in PMS services is Rs.50 lakh, curated portfolios have a much lower threshold at Rs.100-1,000 (see graphic).

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They also allow access to unique themes or investing styles that may not be available in traditional mutual funds. Ujjwal Jain, Founder & CEO, WealthDesk, remarks, “A lot of portfolio innovation happens in curated portfolios offering investors a chance to tap differentiated ideas.” Portfolios built around concepts like “Monopolies”, “Penny Stocks”, “Dark Horse Pack” can be tapped via this route. Targeted sector-specific themes like “Specialty Chemicals” and “Insurance Tracker” or ideas like “House of HDFC” and “House of Tata” are also on offer.

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Curated portfolios also bring differentiated styles to existing mutual fund offerings. For instance, the index-driven factor strategies offered by mutual funds are interpreted and run differently by fund managers. Similarly, sector or theme-based portfolios by experts provide another alternative to corresponding offerings by mutual funds.

Investors must note that unlike mutual funds, curated portfolios allow a free hand to the fund manager. He can construct and run the portfolio without restrictions. The investor is also free to customise the basket to his taste, by adding or removing any names from the portfolio, or modifying the weightage of individual scrips in the basket. “The user can customise the portfolio at the time of initial purchase as well as during rebalancing,” points out Shrivastava.

This allows for greater control on what goes into your portfolio, compared to a mutual fund. Besides, since the shares bought in the curated portfolio go directly into the investors’ demat account, investors retain discretion on timing of exit as well as exercise the choice to sell all or only a select few. In case a particular stock isn’t performing well, the investor can sell it and continue to hold the remaining stocks in the basket.

Further, dividends from the stocks in the portfolio are credited directly to the investor’s bank account. A key benefit is that one can invest at any time during market hours, which lets an investor take advantage of dips during the trading day. In mutual funds, investors get to purchase units at the NAV price which is computed at the end of the trading day.

What are the pitfalls?

The investor experience from the curated portfolio hinges on whether they are able to mirror the curated basket. While investors get a readymade portfolio and regular rebalancing calls, the onus of execution is on the investor. Any delay in rebalancing can lead to missed opportunities and deviation from the risk profile of the original basket. This may leave a gap between the actual investor return and that of the curated portfolio. “It is critical that investors follow in the footsteps of the fund manager. If they waver, they will lose track,” warns Santosh Joseph, Founder, Germinate Investor Services.

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Further, the flexibility afforded to the investor to customise the expert-curated portfolio to his liking can be detrimental to his own interest. Even if you have the freedom to pick and choose, it is best to take the advice you are paying for in its intended spirit, suggests Gupta. “When a doctor prescribes a set of medicines for a disorder, it is in the patient’s interest to take it as recommended as they work well when taken together in entirety.” Rebalancing a curated portfolio is also less tax-efficient compared to mutual funds.

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Rebalancing done by a mutual fund has no tax implications for the investor. But there will be a tax liability when selling individual stocks forming part of the curated portfolio during rebalancing. Dividends from stocks in curated portfolios are fully taxable as income, but you don’t get taxed for the dividends received on stocks held by your mutual funds. Further, rebalancing via curated portfolio can be costly as it attracts brokerage fees and other costs every time you churn the portfolio. It is also pertinent to note that both platforms allow trades to be executed via market orders only. Limit orders are not permitted. So there is a chance of additional slippages in the form of unfavourable pricing in individual trades.

That the fund managers run these portfolios without regulatory constraints also heightens the risk for investors. Portfolio managers do not have to follow the risk-mitigating norms governing traditional mutual funds. For instance, curated portfolios face no restrictions relating to sizing of bets in individual stocks and sectors. Most take highly concentrated bets, some holding as few as 4-5 stocks. The focused exposure to a theme or idea may backfire if it doesn’t play out as expected. Besides, new subscribers to a fee-based curated portfolio get to know its composition only after subscribing to the portfolio. Mutual funds, on the other hand, disclose their holdings at the end of every month, so prospective investors have a fair idea of how the scheme is positioned before they get in.

What does it cost?

Charges differ on both platforms, though the platforms themselves do not charge the users directly. Some portfolios on both platforms charge no separate advisory fee either. The All Weather Investing by Windmill Capital is a popular free-access basket on Smallcase. However, some others charge recurring fees, which can be a flat amount or a percentage of the corpus value. On Smallcase, the advisory fee is auto deducted from the funds in your trading account while WealthDesk collects it upfront.

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Besides, the buying and selling itself will attract the usual brokerage rate charged by your broker, apart from depository and other charges. If investing via discount brokers, you will be able to execute the transactions at zero brokerage cost as these charge nothing for delivery trades. All portfolios have a minimum investment threshold, which varies across platforms (see graphic). Among small-cases, the lowest minimum outlay goes as low as `100 and extends up to Rs.1 crore.

What should you do?

Investing through expert-curated portfolios provides a middle-ground between buying individual stocks on your own and investing via mutual funds. Buying stocks directly involves a lot of homework and regular monitoring. Mutual funds take care of this problem but leave the investor with no control over the portfolio, and no actual ownership of stocks. This is where tailored portfolios come in. “Curated portfolios are the missing piece of the investing puzzle,” contends Joseph.

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These provide a way for de-risking the activity of buying stocks directly with the guidance of a professional money manager. “It allows the investor to explore stocks confidently and make informed choices,” says Jain. Even for fund investors, this is a worthwhile option for exploring specific themes or ideas that are often not adequately represented in regular mutual funds. The attraction for specially curated portfolios is clear from the performance charts. The top performers among these ready-made baskets have notched up staggering returns in a short period of time. The Green Energy smallcase by Niveshaay has fetched 74% return over the past one year. The best performing mutual fund rose 36% over the same period. But investors should avoid simply chasing returns or fancy themes.

Investors should take this route only if they understand the risks and nuances of the market. Shrivastava asserts, “Curated portfolios are more hands-on and require better understanding of the market. First time investors with little knowledge of the market are better off with mutual funds.” Further, this route demands the same due diligence as when investing in funds. Investors must evaluate the managers carefully, stick to names with proven credentials and not blindly invest in a basket that appeals to them. “The success of any strategy or idea depends entirely on the manager’s expertise. If the manager is not capable of executing the idea, it will fall flat,” cautions Gupta. Do not be lured only by the return generated by a particular basket either.

Many of the curated portfolios have a short track record. Stick to managers who run a clear investing philosophy and process to execute the strategy. Joseph argues, “In a bull market, anything runs. It is only when the tide turns that things get tricky. It remains to be seen how many of these managers have the bandwidth to sit through the difficult times.” Investors must also be mindful of the costs when buying flat-fee based portfolios.

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For these to be cost-effective, the investor must put in enough capital, otherwise the fees will eat a chunk of the capital. For instance, the yearly subscription fees for some of the high performing fee-based curated portfolios on Smallcase range from Rs.6,000 to Rs.13,500 a year. For these sums, investors must deploy at least Rs.2.5-5 lakh to keep the effective cost below 2-3%. This is the typical expense ratio charged by actively managed equity funds.

Finally, do not think of curated portfolios as an alternative to mutual funds. The two are very different and neither is a substitute for the other, observes Shrivastava. “Do not take this route unless you have experienced equity markets through funds,” insists Gupta. “But if you invest only in direct stocks, it may be a good idea to move to curated portfolios immediately.”

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HomeFirst Home Healthcare secures investment from Fulcrum – PE Hub

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Harpeth Ventures also participated in the investment.




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Stone Investment Group Provides Update to Closing of Transaction With Starlight Capital – Yahoo Finance

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Stone Investment Group Limited

TORONTO, June 23, 2022 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — On June 22, 2022, Starlight Capital Investments LP (“Starlight Capital“) issued a press release announcing that as of yesterday’s date, Stone Investment Group Limited (“SIG” or the “Corporation“) had not yet satisfied the closing condition (the “AUM Condition“) to maintain a minimum of $630 million of assets under management (“AUM“) in its public mutual funds (the “Stone Funds“) and managed accounts as required pursuant to the arrangement agreement dated April 7, 2022 between SIG, Starlight Capital, Stone-SIG Acquisition Limited, 13613429 Canada Inc., and 13909841 Canada Inc., as amended May 6, 2022 (the “Arrangement Agreement“). Starlight Capital went on to state that if the AUM Condition is not satisfied prior to June 30, 2022, it does not currently intend to complete the transactions pursuant to the Arrangement Agreement unless at least 10,500 of Stone’s outstanding 9.0% senior unsecured debentures (the “Debentures“) are irrevocably deposited by 5:00 pm on June 24, 2022 to the offer launched on November 29, 2021, as amended, by Stone-SIG Acquisition Limited for $800 per Debenture (as amended on December 15, 21, 22 and 27, 2021, and January 28, March 31 and May 19, 2022, the “Stone Offer“).

As the Corporation has previously announced, the Stone Offer remains open for acceptance until June 30, 2022.

The Corporation wishes to clarify that the decline in AUM is a function of the sharp decline in global capital markets over recent weeks and is not a reflection of the relative performance of the Stone Funds and managed accounts. Stone Asset Management Limited, portfolio manager of the Stone Funds and managed accounts, together with all of the subadvisors, remain confident that the investment portfolios are being managed appropriately in the circumstances.

Richard Stone, President and CEO of the Corporation, said: “Everyone knows the global capital markets are in a period of precipitous decline. When we signed the Arrangement Agreement on April 7, we were comfortably over the AUM threshold. It is unfortunate that the collapse of the global markets began just weeks before our scheduled closing date. Given the timeline for approval from shareholders, the court and the regulators, there was nothing we could do to accelerate the transactions. Despite this challenge, the firm, its managers and subadvisors remain steadfastly dedicated to the best interests of the investors in the Stone Funds and our managed account clients. While the circumstances are certainly less than ideal at the moment, we remain optimistic that the transaction with Starlight Capital will be completed and we continue to work toward merging our operations. We are doing everything we can to get this done.”

To demonstrate his own commitment to completing the transaction, Mr. Stone has executed and delivered a letter of transmittal to deposit under the Stone Offer all 728 Debentures that he beneficially owns, subject to acceptance in conjunction with the closing of the transactions pursuant to the Arrangement Agreement. He added: “I firmly believe that this is the right transaction for the company. I am prepared to do what I can to see it through to successful completion.”

In addition to Mr. Stone’s Debentures, the Corporation has also received a firm commitment for the deposit of a further 336 Debentures on the same terms as Mr. Stone’s deposit. Management and the board are hopeful that other Debentureholders, particularly significant Debentureholders, will support the transaction and follow Mr. Stone in depositing additional Debentures to the Stone Offer.

About Stone Investment Group Limited

The Corporation is an independent wealth management Corporation. The Corporation, through its wholly owned subsidiary, Stone Asset Management Limited, structures and manages high quality investment products for Canadian investors.

For more information:

Stone Investment Group Limited
Richard Stone
Chief Executive Officer
416 867 2525
richards@stoneco.com
www.stoneco.com

Disclaimer for Forward-Looking Information

Certain information contained in this press release may contain forward-looking statements within the meaning of applicable securities laws. The use of any of the words “continue”, “plan”, “propose”, “would”, “will”, “believe”, “expect”, “position”, “anticipate”, “improve”, “enhance” and similar expressions are intended to identify forward-looking statements. More particularly and without limitation, this document contains forward-looking statements concerning: the acquisition of the Corporation by Starlight Capital; the completion of the transactions contemplated in the Arrangement Agreement, the Debentures, the Stone Offer, whether further Debentures will be tendered to the Stone Offer, whether the AUM Condition will be satisfied under the Arrangement Agreement and whether Starlight Capital will complete the transactions contemplated under the Arrangement Agreement.

Forward-looking statements necessarily involve risks, including, without limitation, risks associated with the ability of the parties to the Arrangement Agreement to satisfy their closing conditions, general business, economic and social uncertainties; the ability of the Corporation to continue as a going concern; the ability of the Corporation to continue to realize its assets and discharge its liabilities and commitments; the Corporation’s future liquidity position, and access to capital, to fund ongoing operations and obligations (including debt obligations); the ability of the Corporation to stabilize its business and financial condition; the ability of the Corporation to implement and successfully achieve its business priorities; the ability of the Corporation to comply with its contractual obligations, including, without limitation, its obligations under debt arrangements; the general regulatory environment in which the Corporation operates; the tax treatment of the Corporation and the materiality of any legal and regulatory proceedings; the general economic, financial, market and political conditions impacting the industry and markets in which the Corporation operates; the ability of the Corporation to sustain or increase profitability, fund its operations with existing capital and/or raise additional capital to fund its operations; the ability of the Corporation to generate sufficient cash flow from operations; the impact of competition; the ability of the Corporation to obtain and retain qualified staff, equipment and services in a timely and efficient manner (particularly in light of the Corporation’s efforts to restructure its debt obligations); and the ability of the Corporation to retain members of the senior management team, including but not limited to, the officers of the Corporation.

Events or circumstances may cause actual results to differ materially from those predicted, as a result of the risk factors set out and other known and unknown risks, uncertainties, and other factors, many of which are beyond the control of SIG. In addition, forward-looking statements or information are based on a number of factors and assumptions which have been used to develop such statements and information but which may prove to be incorrect and which have been used to develop such statements and information in order to provide stakeholders with a more complete perspective on SIG’s future operations. Such information may prove to be incorrect and readers are cautioned that the information may not be appropriate for other purposes. Although the Corporation believes that the expectations reflected in such forward-looking statements or information are reasonable, undue reliance should not be placed on forward-looking statements because the Corporation can give no assurance that such expectations will prove to be correct. In addition to other factors and assumptions which may be identified herein, assumptions have been made regarding, among other things: the impact of competition and the general stability of the economic and political environment in which SIG operates. Readers are cautioned that the foregoing list is not exhaustive of all factors and assumptions which have been used. As a consequence, actual results may differ materially from those anticipated in the forward-looking statements. Furthermore, the forward-looking statements contained herein are made as at the date hereof and SIG does not undertake any obligation to update publicly or to revise any of the included forward-looking statements, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise, except as may be required by applicable securities laws.

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British International Investment plans $200 mln investment in Africa hydropower – Reuters.com

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LONDON, June 23 (Reuters) – The UK government’s development finance institution British International Investment (BII) plans to invest $200 million in a joint project with Norway’s Norfund to construct at least three hydroelectric power projects in Africa, BII said on Thursday.

The two institutions will equally split a 49% shareholding in a joint venture with Norway’s Scatec ASA (SCATC.OL) for the projects, BII said in a emailed statement.

These will include the planned 205 megawatt (MW) Ruzizi III hydroelectric plant to supply electricity to Rwanda, Burundi and Democratic Republic of Congo, the 120 MW Volobe hydropower plant in Madagascar, and Malawi’s 350 MW Mpatamanga project, BII said.

Reporting by Rachel Savage; Writing by George Obulutsa; Editing by Nellie Peyton and Jan Harvey

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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