Investing in Mutual Funds – How Settlement and Clearing Work


To invest in mutual funds, you must understand how settlement and clearing work. This process reveals how your money is distributed between your trading account and the fund from which you purchase or redeem units.

From this Friday, equity funds will adhere to a three-day settlement period, similar to stock market trades. This move aims to benefit investors while providing greater liquidity across markets.

Trade date

The trade date is an integral component of mutual fund settlement processes. Millions of investors use mutual funds as an effective and cost-efficient investment vehicle across various asset classes, taking advantage of their diversified holdings and low management fees. Behind the scenes, however, mutual fund transactions must comply with regulations regarding purchase and sale transactions – which differ significantly from brokerage firm rules when trading stocks – which means understanding how mutual fund trades are paramount before investing.

Mutual fund trades typically settle two business days after execution, at which point money paid for purchases must have reached customer accounts, and redemption proceeds must have reached investor accounts. If either step isn’t completed by then, then the transaction will be considered unsatisfactory and closed as incomplete.

Mutual funds may seem like an easy and reliable way to invest, but many factors can hinder their performance – including market fluctuations, regulatory changes, and trading costs. Yet investing in mutual funds provides multiple advantages, including diversifying portfolios and increasing income potential.

Mutual fund share transactions occur once daily at 4 p.m. Eastern Time after markets close; orders to buy or sell mutual fund shares can be placed through any broker, advisor, or fund company.

Orders to buy or redeem mutual fund units will be priced according to their net asset value (NAV) on that particular day; once funds have arrived in your account before any cutoff time, units will be allocated at that NAV price.

India’s Securities Exchange and Clearing Corporation, SEBI, recently announced that India would transition to an equitable mutual funds trading settlement cycle on the next business day, allowing the market to settle transactions more swiftly while helping reduce fraud and default risks.

Settlement date

Mutual fund trade settlement dates are when trade becomes final, typically one or two days after completion. Settlement dates are integral in trading securities such as stocks, bonds, and CDs on exchanges; their values fluctuate daily, as shown below.

Settlement dates are an essential component of investing. They mark the day sellers receive payment, and buyers obtain funds for purchases. Investors should ensure they have enough money in their brokerage account by settlement dates to complete transactions successfully; otherwise, fines or penalties could apply.

Mutual funds offer more transparency than their stock- and ETF-trading counterparts; trading directly with the fund and settling their trades together makes for smoother operations and greater efficiency for mutual fund investors. A new regulation should help mutual funds achieve efficiency even further.

Starting February 1, 2022, all subscription and redemption transactions on NSE MFSS will be settled instantly, providing investors with real-time trading capabilities while decreasing the chances of default or fraud. Furthermore, the instant settlement will increase cash segment trade volume while protecting investors against having their funds held too long by holding funds too long.

SEBI is moving away from instant settlement by adopting a shorter settlement cycle for equity mutual funds; this will enable investors to redeem their shares more rapidly and is in line with Indian stock markets, which switched to T+2 last week.

T+2 will benefit investors by lowering risk, improving operational efficiency, and decreasing NSCC margin requirements, potentially saving billions in costs for member firms. Furthermore, WMS Mutual Fund Services will systematically update all domestic securities with alternate settlement dates of T+3 onto the Fund/SERV platform to T+2. At the same time, DTCC will perform industry performance testing of T+2 for multiple CUSIPS in early 2024.


As a mutual fund investor, you must understand how clearing and settlement work. Understanding how different mutual funds settle can help avoid mistakes while making smarter investing decisions. Equity and bond funds typically clear within 24 hours after their trade date, while commodity and other types may take up to two days, depending on factors like the size and complexity of each trade.

Most mutual fund transactions in the US are cleared through NSCC’s Fund/SERV system. This centralized and automated communication tool facilitates order clearance and settlement processes while offering standard transaction data formats for mutual fund trades. As well as serving to exchange information between market participants efficiently, Fund/SERV also provides cost-effective yet efficient clearing and settlement.

Most users submit mutual fund orders to NSCC through batch files containing multiple orders. Once transmission has been completed, NSCC timestamps each mandate in the file to quickly and accurately identify when each was placed – then includes this timestamp with subsequent files to determine whether or not an order fulfills its pay-in and pay-out obligations.

Under current rules, funds must provide immediate prices when receiving orders before 4:00 p.m. EST for purchases or sales in their funds; failing which, they must notify market participants that a direct price cannot reasonably be expected of them.

When redeeming Mutual Funds, submission of the redemption request before the cut-off time (typically 1:30 PM for liquid funds). Your money should arrive in your bank account the next business day after submitting it; ULIP investors may take up to T+3 working days for their funds to return to their account.


Investment in mutual funds can be an excellent way to diversify your portfolio and build wealth. But you must understand how they operate – unlike stocks that settle instantly upon trade date, mutual fund transactions take longer to pay due to multiple steps involved in their settlement process.

Under ERISA fiduciary rules, plan fiduciaries are required to efficiently allocate settlement proceeds among affected participants and beneficiaries. Allocation processes may be complex and time-consuming depending on circumstances; for instance, plan fiduciaries must understand if funds are being taken from problem funds or existing assets in their plan and who will receive distributions (record keeper and intermediaries).

At one time, manual settlement for mutual funds could involve extensive telephone calls and faxes between traders and record keepers/intermediaries resulting in inefficiency, errors, and high costs to the industry overall. With Fund/SERV(r), significant improvements have been seen in settlement process efficiencies.

Fund/SERV is an industry standard for processing and settling fund transactions between mutual fund companies and distributors while enabling firms to update customer account registrations electronically. Furthermore, it supports various exception processing functions like pre- and post-settlement corrections, firm exits, fund deletions and cash adjustments, and cash adjustments. ACATS (Automated Customer Account Transfer Service) integrates seamlessly into Fund/SERV, and allows funds and brokerage firms to automatically update customer accounts during transfer processes using Fund/SERV’s API connection allowing funds and brokerage firms to automatically update customer accounts during transfer processes via Fund/SERV’s API linkage; additionally support exception processing functions includes pre/post settlement corrections/corrections pre/post settlement corrections pre/post settlement corrections pre/post settlement corrections pre/post settlement corrections pre/post settlement corrections pre/post settlement corrections corrections pre/post settlement corrections pre/post settlement corrections pre/post settlement corrections post settlement corrections pre/post settlement corrections as well as numerous exception processing functions including pre/post settlement corrections corrections pre/post settlement corrections corrections pre/post settlement corrections corrections corrections pre/post settlement corrections firm exits deleted funds withdrawn and cash adjustments among others. ACATS links into Fund/SERV to automatically update customer accounts during transfer processes, while funds and brokerage firms may use ACATS (Automated Customer Account Transfer Service). ACATS links directly into Fund/SERV to automatically update customer accounts while processing funds/firm deletion/deletions removal etc… /post settlement correction/ post settlement correction/post settlement correction/post settlement corrections correction/post settlement correction/post settlement corrections pre and post-settlement, post-settlement corrections deletion/firm delete deletion deletion deletion, etc… SERV and allows firms using Fund/SERV to allow funds/SERV’ Transfer Service provides brokerage firms transferring customer account transfers during transfers process which automatically update customer Account Transfer Service/SERV to allow funds…SERV for ACATS(Autom. Firm deletion etc…/dele alterations etc., ACATS links ACATS for cash adjustments during transfers as necessary, cash adjustments during the transfers process, etc…. cash adjustments when needed, cash adjustments while transfer.. etc., etc…, exit firm deletion, etc. adjustments, etc… etc., and so it gives ACATS (Autom. Etc/dele/deletion etc., firm deletion, etc… and Firm Dele/deletion during transfers so the enabling funds or firm deletion as related firms to automatically update customer Account Transfer Service, etc., or Cash adjustments during transfers ) allows automatic updating customer Account transfer… etc….. ac. (Automatic Customer Account Transfer Service is linked directly (link/firm, for example, to change as required during transfers, etc this service). Linked ACATS connecting through transfer service provided.). ACATS links link directly between each process, so ACATS).. etc… etc. when required via ACATS). Cash adjustment….). ACATS linkages during transfers while ACATS links linked up..)……. /US. etc. when the transfer process… etc., updating customer accounts during the process!) connecting on either way… etc.) etc., updates during Transfer Service, so as usual with Fund, ACATS, etc…… ACATS merges into/SERV as it also updates customers’ accounts during transfers, while ACATS updates automatically updating during transfers by updating Customer account changes linked in between each transfer etc… Linked by the link between Funds may or linking with

From February 1, 2023, investors in equity mutual funds will be able to get their money back within two days after withdrawing it from the market rather than three. This is a positive step in the Indian stock market and will encourage companies to upgrade their technology.

SEBI’s instant settlement move will shorten settlement cycles and reduce the risk of default or fraud due to an account not having sufficient funds. Market activities will continue as usual despite some cash trading volumes decreasing temporarily.