One of the biggest advantages in a Mutual Fund scheme is Liquidity, i.e. ease of converting investment into cash.
Equity Linked Savings Schemes (ELSS), which offer tax benefits under Sec 80C, are required by regulation to ‘lock-in’ units for a period of 3 years, after which, they are free to be redeemed.
There is another category of schemes popularly called as “Fixed Maturity Plans” (FMP’s) where investors need to stay invested for a stipulated period which is pre-defined in the offer document of the scheme. These schemes have an investment duration of anywhere between three months to a few years.
A few open end schemes may however, specify an exit load period. For instance, a scheme may specify that units redeemed with 6 months would attract an exit load of 0.50% at applicable NAV.
One should bear in mind that while there be may some rules and regulations on minimum time horizon, it is best to take the advice of an investment advisor to know the appropriate or ideal time horizons for every type of schemes.