September 04, 2016

NAV Observations

If you wanted to download the NAV history of a scheme, which website would you go to?  Would you go to the website of the fund house managing that scheme?  Or would you go to one of those websites where you can get the NAV history of schemes across fund houses?

As we know, there are a few different websites where one can get the NAV history of almost any scheme.  Each of us may have our own favorites: I certainly have mine.  Yet just over a week ago, when faced with a need to pull out the historical NAVs of half a dozen schemes, I went looking for this information on the respective fund house websites instead.  Maybe it was because it involved just three fund houses, or maybe I wasn’t thinking clearly: I don’t remember.  Fact is, on the very first fund house website that I checked, I couldn’t find the information that I wanted.  So without wasting any further time, I retraced my steps to one of my favorite websites and got all the information that I needed. 

Later on, I thought about my experience on the fund house website, and decided to take another look.  Maybe I had missed something.  But once again, I couldn’t find the information that I wanted.  Curious, I decided to check out a few other fund house websites.  On each website, I tried to obtain the complete NAV history for a few, somewhat randomly selected, schemes.  In all, I visited eight websites.  As it turned out, from only three of the eight websites was I able to get NAV data that was comprehensive and easy to use.  In this post, I give some details of what I observed.

The fund houses whose websites I visited were:

  • Birla Sun Life (BSL)
  • Franklin Templeton (FT)
  • HDFC
  • ICICI Prudential (I-Pru)
  • IDFC
  • Reliance
  • SBI
  • UTI

There was no strong reasoning that led me to these websites.  I was guided by a vague impression that given the assets and the number of schemes that these fund houses manage, these might be reasonably representative of the industry as a whole.

BSL, FT and IDFC were the three fund houses on whose websites I could get the complete information that I wanted, and in the way that I wanted it.  On their websites, I could download the entire NAV history of each of the schemes that I selected, in an easy-to-use Excel file.  Not only that, each of these fund houses, in different ways, made it easy to do so.  Consider this, for instance: on all of the other fund house websites, to get a scheme’s NAV history since inception, I was required to enter a “start date” and an “end date”.  That meant having to know the inception date in advance.  On the BSL website, once I selected my scheme, the “start date” and the “end date” were filled in by default with the launch date of the scheme, and the latest NAV date respectively.  On the FT website, there was an option to get the NAVs since inception, which I needed to select.  On the IDFC website, I didn’t even have to do that.  By design, selecting a scheme (whose NAV history I wanted to see) triggered the download of an Excel file which had the NAVs since the scheme’s inception.    

HDFC was the only other fund house that offered the complete NAV history of any scheme in an Excel-readable format.  But apart from having to know the inception date in advance, there were two obstacles.  Firstly, depending on the extent of history that I sought, it took a considerable amount of time for the data to be downloaded.  Secondly, the data in the Excel file was laid out in a manner that required a lot of work to make it usable. 

Reliance and UTI also offered me the option to download the NAVs into Excel but in the case of each scheme that I selected, only a limited history was available for download.  In contrast, SBI displayed the entire NAV history of the schemes that I selected, but it didn’t offer an option to download or export to Excel.  As far as I could make out, in the Beta version of its new website, one can download a limited NAV history into Excel.

I-Pru presented the NAV history of each scheme that I selected only as a chart, that too of dubious merit.  There was a link to export the data (or perhaps only the chart) to Excel but every time I clicked that link, I was led to an error page. 

But to be doubly sure that I had not missed something, I thought of rechecking with those fund houses where incomplete or no information was available.  So I reached out to them via email, mentioned what I had experienced, and requested them to email me the NAV history of a certain scheme or set of schemes. 

Reliance was quick to respond and they directed me to the AMFI website to get the NAV history.

I-Pru took 5 days to respond and gave me the same link that I had visited on their website.  When I pointed out that the Excel export option was a dead link, they promptly replied saying (somewhat cryptically) that the “Historical NAVs for the above mentioned scheme will be available as graphs.”

UTI has, thus far, neither acknowledged nor responded to my email.

It is not unreasonable to expect to get the complete NAV history of a scheme in a usable format.  And there is a good reason to visit a fund house’s website rather than anywhere else: the assurance that the data is authentic.  It is to the advantage of a fund house as well.  It is one more reason for someone to visit its website.  It is also in the fund house’s best interests that people draw inferences based on data that is authentic.  But it seems that some fund houses haven’t been able to figure out how best to facilitate such requests on their websites.  And if those email responses (or lack thereof) are anything to go by, some fund houses appear to be fine with driving visitors away from their websites.

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