Fund Pick: Axis Long Term Equity Fund

Launched on December 29, 2009, Axis Long Term Equity Fund is classified in the ELSS category of the CRISIL mutual fund ranking and has been ranked 1 for last 13 consecutive quarters ended December 2015. The fund is being managed by Jinesh Gopani since April 1, 2011. Its quarterly average assets under management stood at Rs 6,479 crore at the end of December 2015 quarter.

Investments in ELSS funds are subjected to a lock-in period of three years and are eligible for tax deduction of up to Rs 1.5 lakh under Section 80C of the Income Tax Act.

The scheme aims to generate income and long-term capital appreciation from a diversified portfolio of predominantly equity and equity-related securities.

Superior performance

Axis Long Term Equity Fund, a consistent performer, has outperformed its benchmark (S&P BSE 200) and the category (represented by ELSS Funds under CRISIL mutual fund ranking), across all time frames. Over a three-year span, the fund has delivered exceptional 24.35 per cent annualised returns, compared with the benchmark's 8.48 per cent (annualised) and category's 14.82 per cent (annualised) (see chart).

The fund has outperformed its benchmark and the category during all market phases. During the European crisis (December 2010 to June 2013), it managed to deliver positive returns (5.46 per cent annualised) even as the benchmark and the category ended up posting negative returns.

An investment of Rs 1,000 in the fund at inception would have appreciated to Rs 2,708 (compounded annualised return of 17.52 per cent), as on February 29, 2016. A similar investment in the category and benchmark would have grown to around Rs 1,797 (9.96 per cent) and Rs 1,355 (5.05 per cent), respectively.

Similarly, had Rs 1,000 been invested per month in the fund since inception via a systematic investment plan (SIP), the total investment of Rs 75,000 would have grown to Rs 1.32 lakh by 29 February 2016, offering 18.04 per cent annualised. In comparison, a similar amount invested in the benchmark would have returned 88,330 at 5.17 per cent (annualised) (see table).

Portfolio analysis

Over last three years, the fund's exposure to large cap stocks ranged from 62.23 per cent to 70.28 per cent and averaged at 67 per cent.

At a stock level, the fund has held 38 stocks, on an average, over last three years, of which 20 stocks have been held consistently. As on January 2016, top 5 stocks with highest exposure are consistently held over the last three years. HDFC Bank with the highest exposure of 8.34 per cent topped the list, followed by Kotak Mahindra Bank (7.20 per cent), Sun Pharma (6.70 per cent), TCS (6.25 per cent) and HDFC (5.09 per cent).

At sectoral level, the top five sectors formed 61.53 per cent of the total portfolio at the end of January 2016. Banking and finance sector collectively had significant exposure of 30.5 per cent (15.54 per cent to banks and 14.96 per cent to finance), followed by pharmaceuticals (12.13 per cent), software (11.19 per cent) and consumer durables (7.71 per cent).

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