A debt mutual fund screener for selection, tracking and learning (March 2021)

Published: March 26, 2021 at 12:24 pm

Last Updated on April 18, 2021

This is a debt mutual fund screener for fund selection, fund portfolio tracking and learning. It also includes hybrid funds that invest in bonds. It will satisfy the requirement of investors who wish to invest in money market funds; banking and PSU funds etc. The credit quality of the bonds in the portfolio and the bond maturity profile can be tracked.

Instead of looking at average credit rating and average portfolio duration (maturity) – which can be misleading ) – the sheet lists the weights to different ratings like AAA, AA, A etc. It also divides the bonds as maturing within a year, within 3 years, within 5 years and above five years. This allows the user to get a better idea of credit risk and interest rate risk in a fund or fund category.

The file (in Excel without macros, so will open in any spreadsheet software) contains the following sheets (each has Excel data filter function enabled)

  • Fund Asset Allocation: This is relevant for hybrid funds. It lists the equity: debt mix
  • Credit Rating: The % of the portfolio in AAA, AA, A, A1, A2, A3, BBB etc. are listed.
  • Maturity profile: The % of portfolio bonds maturing within a year, within 1-3 years, within 3-5 years and above 5 years are listed.
  • Upgrades or downgrades List of bonds that have seen upgrades or downgrades  are listed (latest factsheet data compared with previous factsheet data)
  • YTM Mod duration Avg Maturity (see below)
  • Returns: This lists some trailing returns with some representative benchmarks. Please do not judge debt funds by returns!!
  • Offer 40% discounted links to our two courses: How to get people to pay for your skills (aka earn from skills) and the lectures on goal-based portfolio management

How to use the sheet


Use 1: To learn more about debt funds

  1. If you are new to debt funds, you can download the beginners’ guide to understand debt funds from our e-books page (there are six other free ebooks!)\
    • Before using the screener you need to know what modified duration stands for (a measure of interest rate risk, higher the value, higher the NAV fluctuations). Average portfolio maturity is also a measure of interest rate risk (aka duration risk). Higher this value, the higher the risk. Note this risk is present in all types of funds even if they do not take credit risk
    • Yield to maturity information is a measure of risk not reward or returns!! The higher the YTM, the higher the credit risk in the portfolio.
  2. Once you understand the basics of credit risk and internet risk, you can use the screener to learn how different fund categories invest in different types of bonds.

Use 2:To shortlist funds with good credit quality (these are broad thumb rules only, not investment advice)

  1. For this, you have to clear about your need.
  2. If your need is in 1-3 years, look for funds that predominantly invest in bonds that mature within 12 months
  3. If your need is in 5 years, look for funds that predominantly invest in bonds that mature within 12 months (conservative) or within 1-3 years
  4. If your need is in  5-10 years, look for funds that predominantly invest in bonds that mature within 1-3 years
  5. if your need is above 10 years, you can consider funds that predominantly invest in bonds that mature within 3-5 years (conservative) or above 5 years (will have interest rate risk and credit risk if non-gilt funds are used)
  6. The above steps can be used to shortlist the categories. Then you can look at the credit rating profile of the category. You can shortlist funds that have only AAA or A1 bonds or only gilts etc.
  7. Please note: the data is as per the latest factsheet. once you create a shortlist, read the scheme document to understand how much credit rating and bond duration can vary. Download past factsheets of the shortlisted funds to understand how modified duration, avg maturity and YTM of the funds in your shortlist has varied in the past relative to current data.
  8. Once you are clear about the nature of bonds the fund will invest in, associated credit risk and interest rate risks, you are ready to pick a fund from your shortlist. Please note:  debt fund investors must keep an eye on YTM, modified duration and avg maturity change in their funds from time to time.

Important Information

  1. This screener (March 2021) costs Rs. 300  and is meant for individual, personal use only.
  2. Inside, you get a discounted link to our two courses: How to get people to pay for your skills (aka earn from skills: 40% discount) and the lectures on goal-based portfolio management (39% discount)
  3. The cost is only for the March 2021 screener and only for the data in the sheet.
  4. While freefincal will do its best to publish updated screener sheets each month, it cannot guarantee the same.
  5. The file does not contain any buy or sell recommendations and only has the above-mentioned data.
  6. Disclaimer: Enough care and effort have been put in to weed out errors. However, we cannot guarantee that the sheet is free of error. Information for some funds could be missing. After creating a fund shortlist, users are advised to verify the data with the fund factsheet downloaded from the AMC site..  No part of this sheet should be treated as investment advice. We are not responsible for any losses (or gains) that may arise in your investments or investment portfolio as a result of using this sheet.
  7. The buyer will have to do their own research with regard to using the information in the spreadsheet. No recommendations or assistance is included in the sheet and will not be provided separately.
  8. We will not provide any further help or assistance in using the sheet.
  9. The sheet purchased is for personal use only should not be shared with others privately or publicly.

Click here to pay Rs. 300 and instantly download the latest debt fund screener

Are you living outside India? You can pay via this Paypal link (7 USD) and send a mail to freefincal at Gmail.

By clicking, you agree to the terms in the important information section above. 

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About the Author Pattabiraman editor freefincalM. Pattabiraman(PhD) is the founder, managing editor and primary author of freefincal. He is an associate professor at the Indian Institute of Technology, Madras. since Aug 2006. Connect with him via Twitter or Linkedin Pattabiraman has co-authored two print-books, You can be rich too with goal-based investing (CNBC TV18) and Gamechanger and seven other free e-books on various money management topics. He is a patron and co-founder of “Fee-only India,” an organisation to promote unbiased, commission-free investment advice. He conducts free money management sessions for corporates and associations based on money management. Previous engagements include World Bank, RBI, BHEL, Asian Paints, Cognizant, Madras Atomic Power Station, Honeywell, Tamil Nadu Investors Association, IIST Alumni Association. For speaking engagements, write to pattu [at] freefincal [dot] com
About freefincal & its content policy Freefincal is a News Media Organization dedicated to providing original analysis, reports, reviews and insights on developments in mutual funds, stocks, investing, retirement and personal finance. We do so without conflict of interest and bias. Follow us on Google News. Freefincal serves more than one million readers a year (2.5 million page views) with articles based only on factual information and detailed analysis by its authors. All statements made will be verified from credible and knowledgeable sources before publication. Freefincal does not publish any paid articles, promotions, PR, satire or opinions without data. All opinions presented will only be inferences backed by verifiable, reproducible evidence/data. Contact information: letters {at} freefincal {dot} com (sponsored posts or paid collaborations will not be entertained)
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