Various Financial Instruments
Traditional Financial Investments
A time deposit, also known as a term deposit, is money deposited with a banking institution that cannot be withdrawn for a certain 'term' or period of time. When the term is over it can be withdrawn or it can be reinvested for another term. The avenues for such investments include:
• Commercial Banks
• Post Office
• Non-Banking Financial Companies ( NBFCs )
The objective of the scheme is to enable the depositor to make a financial position for his future needs by paying monthly installments for an agreed period. It will be known as a recurring deposit amount. The avenues for such investment are the same as above.
Chit Fund (Recognised / Unrecognised)
This is peculiar to India and operates by enrolment of members. The members’ pool money once in a month and the pooled amount is given to one of the members usually by draw of lots or using a chit. Hence the name chit fund. However, if members opt go for auction, their amount of profit could be more.
For example, let us suppose that you join a chit fund with 20 people, each promising to contribute Rs 2,000 per month for 20 months. At the end of your term you would get Rs 40,000. However, if in the first month somebody takes the amount by auction, say at 50 per cent loss, s/he would get in the first month 50 per cent of the whole amount i.e. Rs 20,000. Therefore the balance 50 per cent would be shared by all the other members i.e. in the next month every member needs to pay only Rs 1,000 instead of Rs 2,000.
Life insurance in India is known to public or investors through LIC for many decades. The Life Insurance Corporation of India and other companies sell their products through a sales network called life insurance agents. There are several new players in the new millennium as insurance may now be offered by private companies as well. That means there are wide options open to customers which ensure life as well as give you a good return after maturity. In case the person availing the policy survives the period for which his/her risk of death is covered, s/he will receive a payment called a ‘survival benefit’ which is seen by many as protection plus investment. There are multiple insurance schemes and will be discussed later.
Provident Fund Schemes
These investments are available only to employees of a firm. The employees contribute to this fund through their monthly deduction in their salary. They are attractive because they also offer income tax benefits.
Pension Fund Schemes
The employee may access these funds usually after a period or 15 to 20 years or after retirement. Insurance, provident fund and pension funds have attracted investors as they offer certain income tax benefits. In India, investors traditionally invest the surplus money available to them in banks (public and private sector) despite low to modest interest rates because they consider them ‘safe’. Post offices also offer deposit schemes. They usually offer better rates of interest than commercial banks. Post offices are seen by many urban people as lacking in service (customer care) and are typically used in non-urban areas and by investors who are able to invest only small sums of money. However, the well-informed are willing to take the risk for better returns.