|Floating rate funds prove capable of competing with savings accounts|
Investment fund managers were unfazed by President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva's decision to cancel the project that would apply income tax to savings accounts holding more than R$ 50 thousand. They would have benefited from this measure, which was announced several months ago by the government to ensure the attractiveness of investment funds in comparison with savings accounts at a time when interest rates are low. The Selic overnight rate, currently 8.75%, is the lowest in history.
Marcos Villanova, Bradesco's investment director, affirms that there was no migration of resources from floating rate funds – whose return is tied to the Selic – to savings accounts. The reason is that the people who invest in each product have different profiles. "Fund investors are people who invest and redeem on a daily basis. Savings account customers put in a certain amount each month and wait for the maturity date before they withdraw", he says. Numbers from Anbima show that, in September, roughly R$ 30 billion was invested in floating rate funds, as opposed to R$ 28.6 billion that was redeemed. In the same period last year, the net amount raised by this type of fund was minus R$ 966.9 million.
In order to increase the competitiveness of funds, some financial institutions lowered their minimum initial investment. Santander's Master DI, for instance, went from a minimum investment of R$ 100 thousand to R$ 30 thousand. "With this, we began to attract a new type of client, which helps to maintain fundraising levels", says Sinara Polycarpo, investment superintendent of Grupo Santander Brasil.
This calm attitude also comes from the expectation that interest rates will rise again next year, improving the competitiveness of funds. "Our forecast is that interest rates will reach 11.75% by the end of 2010", affirms Sinara.