Best Liquid funds in India (Detailed Review)

best liquid funds

Liquid funds are open-ended debt mutual funds that invest in short term money market instruments with the maturity period of up to 91 days.Simply put, these funds provide short term borrowings to top-rated corporates and earn interest in return for a short period of time.

I will cover these topics in the Article

  1. What are the Liquid funds?
  2. Who should invest in Liquid funds?
  3. Things to consider before choosing the Best liquid funds
  4. Tax Implication on Liquid funds
  5. Liquid funds for Instant Redemption
  6. Why are liquid funds are better than saving bank account?
  7. 10 Best Liquid funds should consider investing in 2019

What are Liquid Funds?

Liquid funds are Open-ended debt mutual fund schemes that invest in short term securities like treasury bills, certificates of deposit, commercial paper and corporate fixed deposit.

These funds invest in Money market securities that have a residual maturity of less than or equal to 91 days. This helps the fund managers in meeting the redemption demand from the investors.

Besides there are more benefits; these funds give an opportunity to earn a higher return than other traditional investment options like Savings bank account or fixed deposit, with high liquidity basically enjoyed in the saving bank account. And also, liquid funds carries a low level of risk and gives you a chance to earn an excess return (it may go up to 6-7%) as compared to bank’s savings account.

Therefore,  being a low-risk mutual fund in the debt category, those individuals having idle money in their bank account can opt for Liquid funds as an alternative option.

How does Nav(Net asset value) calculate in Liquid Mutual funds?

NAV of these money market funds computed for 365 days, unlike other debt mutual funds where NAV calculation is based upon business days.

With other debt funds for purchase applications received within the cut-off time (3.00 P. M) having the value up to Rs.2 lakhs, the NAV is calculated at the end of the day of the given application. For applications of more than Rs.2 lakhs, within the cut-off time (i.e. 3.00 P.M.) the allotment of units is subject to realization of funds.

However, with liquid funds, for all transactions (irrespective of the value of the investment) received within the cut-off time (i.e. up to 2.00 P.M.) where money is also released within the cut-off time, the units are allocated as per previous day NAV.

Let me give you an example:

Let us assume that you invest in liquid mutual fund and transaction is submitted on Monday before 2:00 P.M. and amount is also released by 2:00 P.M. on Monday for the same transaction, then you will receive Sunday’s NAV.

Similarly, when you do redemption request, and submitted the same before the cut-off on Friday, then you will get applicable NAV for redemption for Sunday i.e the day before the next business day.

This means, your investments generate returns for every single day of investment, even if it is a holiday or Sunday. This is called as Weekend parking in Corporates.

Best performing liquid funds

Who should Invest in Liquid funds?

Liquid funds are suitable for those investors who are looking for saving bank account alternative. These funds invest in high rated government securities and company deposits are done for short term.

Therefore, it does not carry a risk of default and volatility on the invested amount.

Let’s assume if you would like to park the surplus money you have received by selling residential property. Probably, this money could be utilised for other residential property in the near future.

If you are thinking about parking this amount into savings bank account. Then, you will receive merely a 3-4% rate of interest. And this interest income will be added to your income tax slab too and will be taxed accordingly. What if you get a chance to earn better return along with the same feature of savings bank account like liquidity. That’s where liquid fund comes into the picture.

That’s because  you can invest in liquid funds for short term period, giving you a chance to earn at least 6-7% return approximately.

And the best part is that you can redeem it anytime without paying any penalty or exit load.

Furthermore, if you want to create an Emergency fund, then most often investors think of savings bank account.

However, savings bank account is not an ideal place to keep your emergency fund. This is because when you need money for other discretionary expenses, at first, you dip into those savings which are lying idle in your savings bank account.Hence, you can park your emergency corpus in Liquid funds.

Things to consider before investing in Liquid funds

While liquid funds are the ideal option to park your emergency corpus, you should pick the liquid fund schemes based on the following considerations:-

Fund Size:  When you think of investing in liquid funds, you should look at the fund size before zeroing on any scheme. It is highly recommended to invest in a fund which has at least 5000 crore asset size. Big size fund does not feel pressure for redemption, and that provides a freedom to keep invested with securities till their maturity period.

Return expectation:  If you are looking for a higher return than your savings bank account, then liquid funds are a good option. Historically, these funds deliver a return of 6-7% per annum. It was higher than your savings bank account wherein you may not expect more than a 4% rate of interest. There is no guarantee in the future for returns in liquid funds. However, as per the Past track records of the best liquid funds delivered positive returns.

Investment horizon:  Liquid funds are considered for short term period up to 3 months.

Let me give you an example; If you are planning to buy a home in the next 3-4 months, and accumulated your home down payment which is lying in your savings bank account. This accumulated amount can be parked in the liquid fund for a short period. Certainly, you can’t take the risk on that amount.

Hence, if your investment horizon is for short term, say, 3-6 months, and you can not take any risks, then you may go for liquid funds. Otherwise, if you want to invest for more than 9 months ,then ultra short term bond fund can be a good bet.

Investment cost: Another, the important parameter you should look at while selecting the liquid funds that are good for you i.e Investment cost. This is called as an Expense Ratio.

You should choose a liquid fund which does not cost you higher in your hand. Simply put an Expense ratio in the fund management fee which is charged on your mutual fund scheme every year till you stay invested with the fund. It includes fund manager salary, administrative expenses, operating expenses, etc. 

Hence, it should be low as much as possible.

Know your financial goals:  Liquid funds can prove to be useful for short term financial goals. And if you want to invest for Emergency corpus then the liquid fund is a much better option as compared to Savings bank account.

That’s because you get a chance to earn a higher return along with an option for instant withdrawal (Some liquid fund schemes provides instant withdrawal facility)

Are Liquid Funds Taxable?

Yes, Liquid funds are taxable, as it is one of the categories in debt mutual funds. Here you will enjoy the indexation benefits on tax after 3 years. However, if you redeem your liquid funds before 3 years, then  the generated capital gains will be considered as short term capital gains. In debt funds, short term capital gains will be taxed as per your income tax slab.

Here’s are the calculation for Indexation benefits:

Indexation benefit after 3 years

After three years of investments, a long-term capital gains tax is levied on debt funds at 20% with indexation. Indexation is adjusting investments for inflation for the holding period. The longer the holding period will be, the higher will be the benefit of indexation.

Let’s assume, 3 years ago, say on 20th January 2014, a person invested Rs. 1,00,000 in liquid funds, when he redeemed on 20th January 2017 (after three years) he got Rs. 1,27,729. His total gain was Rs. 27,729 but after adjusting for indexation (adjusting for inflation during the investment period; 2014-15 CII was 852 and 2016-17 CII was 1081), his taxable gain was only Rs. 851 (1,27,729-100,000*1081/852), then investors need to pay tax only (851*20%)=170 Rs.

The indexation benefit is not available on savings account, FDs and RDs. It is only available on debt mutual funds if the holding period is more than 3 years.

In summation, these funds are a good substitute to regular saving account.

since the liquidity is high, it provides more returns than regular savings account and have taxation benefits. Therefore, investors can invest their emergency funds in liquid funds.

If you choose the dividend option in a liquid fund

Dividends received under liquid plans are not taxed at the hands of resident individual investors, but fund houses pay dividend distribution tax @28.325 percent (including surcharge and cess).

However, after Budget 2018 DDT on all non-equity funds such as money market, liquid, and debt funds are 25 percent plus 12 percent surcharge plus 3 percent cess, totalling to 28.84 percent.

Can I Redeem Liquid Funds Instantly?

Yes, there are some Liquid fund provides the instant redemption facility, which is allowed up to 50,000 or 90% of the available balance for an investor. Few liquid fund schemes that provide instant withdrawal facility are mentioned below:

  • Reliance Liquid funds
  • Dsp Blackrock liquidity fund
  • ICICI Prudential Liquid fund

And the best part, there are some apps available wherein you can redeem your liquid fund instantly with a single tap on your mobile screen. You don’t need to visit an AMC office. With ETMoney “Smartdeposit” you can invest in a liquid fund with your mobile device and redeem it anytime, anywhere with a single Tap. Even on public holiday or Sunday, you have full access to your money. Redemption gets credited into your saving bank account within 5 minutes.

Why Liquid funds are better than Saving bank account?

Most often, savings bank account will be a preferred option for the investor while parking surplus funds. Even though, if you are creating an Emergency corpus which you may require at the time of contingency, one cannot think beyond the savings bank account.

However, leaving your short term funds in a saving bank account is not a wise decision for the investors.

That’s because 

  • Your money that lies in a savings bank account fetches you 4% interest per annum. Few banks offer a slightly higher interest rate of 6%. However, the best liquid funds have delivered return around 7% on an average in the past 1-year period. On returns alone, liquid funds score over a savings bank account.
  • Liquid mutual funds have no lock-in period. Also, the withdrawals are processed instantly, and investors receive the amount within half an hour in most of the liquid funds.
  • In liquid funds, the long-term capital gains (more than 3 years) are taxed at 20% after indexation. However, short term capital gains are added to your income and taxed at the normal applicable rates.
  • While in savings bank account, whatever interest income you earn will be added into your income and taxed as per the Income tax slab, there are no indexation benefits.
  • Liquid funds do not have any entry or exit loads.
  • Liquid funds have the lowest interest rate risk among debt funds. They primarily invest in fixed income securities with a short maturity period.


 Best Liquid funds should consider investing in 2019

Here are best performing liquid funds that have delivered consistent 6-7% yearly returns in multiple periods of time with ease.

Fund Name1 Years3 years5 yearsExpense RatioCategoryRisk
Reliance Liquid fund7.6%7.24%7.79%0.14%Debt (Money Market Fund)Low Risk
Hdfc Liquid Fund7.50%7.10%7.69%0.15%Debt(Money Market Fund)Low Risk
Axis Liquid Fund7.62%7.23%7.77%0.11%Debt(Money Market Fund)Low Risk
Indiabulls Liquid Fund7.52%7.26%7.84%0.10%Debt(Money Market Fund)Low Risk
ICICI Prudential Liquid Fund7.57%7.17%7.74%0.15%Debt(Money Market Fund)Low Risk

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  1. Instead of invest in LIQUID funds / DIVIDENDS.. Why should nor we go for FIXED DEPOSIT .

    We have better return compare to this ..

    • Yes, FDs are a good investment for short term, for persons who do not want to take risk. In FDs, if you close it before the maturity period, you will have to pay 1 to 1.5% penalty which will effectively make the returns same as a liquid or Short term fund. Liquid fund does not have exit charges as of now ( but they have a Short term capital gains tax like FDs).

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