A big challenge to EPFO returns

There is widening hole between what the federal government’s premier retirement fund makes on its investments and what it presents to staff.


The Employees’ Provident Fund Organisation (EPFO) makes the majority of its investments in government-related securities.

In different phrases, it lends to central and state governments and associated entities.

The curiosity it will get from these devices is essentially what it makes use of to pay curiosity to its subscribers.


The curiosity on authorities borrowings has been coming down.

This has meant that the hole between what the EPFO makes and what it pays out could have widened to ranges not seen for over a decade.

The evaluation used the 10-year authorities bond yield as a proxy indicative of the EPFO’s funding returns over the long run.

This was in comparison with the EPFO’s supplied rate of interest over the previous 20 years.

##The EPFO’s newest annual report exhibits that it has over Rs 14.4 trillion invested in numerous devices largely associated to the federal government.

These embody central authorities securities, state growth loans, state authorities securities, and others.

These excludes some investments in exchange-traded funds (ETFs), which give fairness publicity.

The EPFO supplied 8.75 per cent curiosity to its subscribers in 2013-14 (FY14).

The 10-year authorities bond yield on the finish of FY14 was 8.8 per cent.

The authorities bond yield has since fallen to six.2 per cent as of 2020-21 (FY21). The EPFO’s supplied rate of interest has not declined accordingly. It was at 8.5 per cent for FY21.

The physique is reportedly set to determine on the supplied rate of interest for 2021-22.

The fairness publicity is smaller. The EPFO annual report, which offers ETF holdings at value value, pegs it at Rs 1.2 trillion.

The promoting of some holdings had helped meet obligations earlier.

“…ETF items have been redeemed for reserving earnings/capital beneficial properties twice after taking due approval from the competent authority.

“ETF items pertaining to calendar 12 months 2016 have been redeemed from October 19, 2020, to November 9, 2020, thereby producing a capital acquire of Rs 3,277.16 crore. ETF items pertaining to the primary two quarters of calendar 12 months 2017 have been redeemed from March 12, 2021, to March 30, 2021, thereby producing a capital acquire of Rs 4,072.83 crore.

“The above capital beneficial properties have been utilised for declaration of the speed of curiosity,” mentioned EPFO’s newest annual report.

Higher fairness holdings are a great way to extend long-term return, in accordance with a January 2017 examine entitled ‘Delta Gains of Investment in Stocks on Financial Performance of Self-Managed Provident Funds in India’ from authors Tanesh Bhattacharya and Anupam Rastogi, revealed within the NMIMS Journal of Economics and Public Policy.

“…we found that with 15 per cent exposure to stocks, the self-managed provident fund corpus would have grown 5.18 per cent more than the mandatory EPFO returns, and with 20 per cent exposure to stocks, the corpus would have grown by 10.35 per cent more than the mandatory EPFO returns between 2004-05 and 2013-14, notwithstanding two severe corrections in the stock market,” it mentioned.

The nature of the fairness holdings could play a job in eventual returns.

The EPFO’s annual report additionally had particulars on the annualised returns on ETF investments, which mimic the S&P BSE Sensex and the Nifty50 indices.

They gave between 10 per cent and 15 per cent returns.

Returns on the central public sector enterprise (CPSE) ETF and the Bharat 22 ETF, each of which the federal government makes use of to divest public sector shares, have been decrease.

The return since launch is 7.37 per cent for CPSE ETF, in accordance with mutual fund tracker Value Research India. It is 5.23 per cent for Bharat 22 ETF.

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