Birla Sun Life Tax Relief 96 fund had a great run in the initial years after launch, slipped behind its category, sporting a moderate three-star rating for many years, and has shown promise again since 2012. The fund has climbed from a three-star to a four-star rating in this period. It follows a multi-cap strategy, with 55-60 per cent large-cap exposure and the rest in small and mid caps. The strategy is bottom-up and uses a 360-degree view of a company in order to invest in compelling businesses without any size bias. The investment philosophy of the fund is to invest in quality companies. This involves selecting companies run by professional managements and which have predictability of earnings and strong moats. The portfolio reveals quite a few unconventional mid-cap picks as top holdings. The fund's quality bias has also led to a number of MNC stocks figuring among stock choices.
Birla Sun Life Tax Relief 96 fund's year-by-year record since 1998 shows a few bad patches. The fund has struggled in bear markets both in 2008 and 2011, but it has also delivered sharply higher returns than the category in the big bull years of 2007, 2009, 2012 and 2014. The fund suffered fund-manager shuffle in its initial years until 2006. The management team has remained very stable, with Ajay Garg at the helm from 2006.
Overall, it's a Birla Sun Life Tax Relief 96 fund that sticks to quality mid caps for the long haul.
Top 10 Tax Saver Mutual Funds for 2017 - 2018
Best 10 ELSS Mutual Funds to invest in India for 2017
1. DSP BlackRock Tax Saver Fund
2. Invesco India Tax Plan
3. Tata India Tax Savings Fund
4. ICICI Prudential Long Term Equity Fund
5. Birla Sun Life Tax Relief 96
6. Franklin India TaxShield
7. Reliance Tax Saver (ELSS) Fund
8. BNP Paribas Long Term Equity Fund
9. Axis Tax Saver Fund
10. Birla Sun Life Tax Plan
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