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How does an arbitrage fund leverage market timing?

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Many investors aim to time the market for high returns. However, predicting future prices remains a tricky business. But what if there existed a strategy that utilized existing market inefficiencies, generating potentially consistent returns without investors having to play the guessing game? Enter arbitrage funds, that seek to spot market opportunities– but not in the way you might think.

Let's look at how these funds work, exploring some tips to benefit market timing in arbitrage funds without the usual headaches.

  • Table of contents
  1. What is arbitrage?
  2. But where does market timing come in?
  3. How do arbitrage funds work?
  4. How to benefit market timing in arbitrage fund?
  5. FAQ

What is arbitrage?

In the financial world, arbitrage involves buying an asset, such as a stock, at a lower price and selling it for a higher price elsewhere, thus profiting from the price gap. To explain further, arbitrage refers to the simultaneous purchase and sale of an identical asset in two distinct markets, with an aim to exploit and potentially profit from price inefficiencies. These price discrepancies, which are often temporary, exist across various markets like the cash and futures markets. Funds that work on this investment principle are called arbitrage funds.

While the "how" of arbitrage might sound intricate at first, it becomes surprisingly straightforward once you peek into the cash and futures markets -

Cash market: Imagine the bustling stock exchange, where you buy shares and instantly own them. That's the cash market, also known as the spot market, where transactions are settled immediately. It's like buying groceries – you pay, you get, and you're good to go.

Futures market: Now, picture a market where you can ‘pre-order’ an asset, like buying concert tickets months before the show. That's the futures market. Here, you buy the right to buy or sell something (like a stock) at a set price on a future date. The price of this future ‘promise’ can be higher or lower than the actual price in the cash market, creating the perfect opportunity for arbitrage.

But where does market timing come in?

Here's the key: arbitrage funds don't rely on predicting future trends. Instead, they exploit current, temporary price discrepancies that are almost guaranteed to disappear. Think of it like finding two identical, yet mispriced items on different shelves of the same store. Arbitrage funds identify these mismatches and capitalise on them before they vanish, essentially playing a game of market timing without the crystal ball.

How do arbitrage funds work?

These funds utilise sophisticated algorithms and trading strategies to hunt for fleeting price gaps across various markets, such as -

Cash and futures markets: Imagine a stock trading for Rs. 1000 in the regular ‘cash’ market and its ‘futures’ version (a promise to buy it later) priced at only Rs. 995. The fund might buy the real stock and sell the futures contract, knowing their prices will eventually converge when the futures contract expires, earning a small profit in the meantime. This leverages the expected convergence of prices in these linked markets.

Different stock exchanges: The same stock might be priced at Rs. 101 on one exchange and Rs. 100 on another. The fund could buy it cheap on one exchange and sell it dear on the other, pocketing the difference. This exploits temporary price variations between different trading platforms.

Dividend surprises: If a company is about to announce a large dividend pay-out, its stock price usually rises beforehand. The fund might buy the stock just before the announcement, anticipating the price hike triggered by the dividend news. This kind of trading capitalises on market reactions to anticipated future events.

How to benefit market timing in arbitrage fund?

Choose a fund with a proven track record: Seek a fund with experience in identifying and utilizing arbitrage opportunities, a consistent performance history, and a skilled management team.

Remember, it's not risk-free: While relatively stable than stock picking, unexpected events like regulatory changes or technical glitches can affect the fund's performance.

Think long-term: These funds offer steady, low-risk returns, not overnight riches. They can be a good addition to a diversified portfolio for patient investors seeking potential stability and growth.

Seek professional advice: A financial advisor can help you determine if arbitrage funds align with your specific risk tolerance and financial goals.


In a world where predicting the market may not be a wise decision, arbitrage funds offer a unique way for investors to benefit from market timing indirectly, capitalising on present price discrepancies without needing to become an expert. By exploiting these fleeting gaps, arbitrage funds generate potentially consistent, low-risk returns, making them a suitable option for risk-averse investors seeking diversification and steady growth. Just remember – thorough research, understanding the risks, and a long-term approach are crucial for optimizing the potential benefits of these investment vehicles.


Are arbitrage funds a risky investment?
Arbitrage funds carry a relatively low level of risk since the securities are bought and sold almost simultaneously, thus virtually eliminating counterparty risk.

Are arbitrage funds suitable for volatile markets?
Arbitrage funds tends to perform well in volatile markets due to the existing price inefficiencies.

Mutual Fund investments are subject to market risks, read all scheme related documents carefully.
This document should not be treated as endorsement of the views/opinions or as investment advice. This document should not be construed as a research report or a recommendation to buy or sell any security. This document is for information purpose only and should not be construed as a promise on minimum returns or safeguard of capital. This document alone is not sufficient and should not be used for the development or implementation of an investment strategy. The recipient should note and understand that the information provided above may not contain all the material aspects relevant for making an investment decision. Investors are advised to consult their own investment advisor before making any investment decision in light of their risk appetite, investment goals and horizon. This information is subject to change without any prior notice.