Index funds are mutual funds in which investment are made in the stocks of Index they track such as Nifty, Sensex according to its composition and weightage of the index.
In this post, we review about what are index funds, their advantages, disadvantages, taxation benefits and performance.
Index funds are basically the replicas of stock indices they track. These are low-cost investment option and its easy to track its performance by its index. Index Funds are passively managed funds as it does not involve research and stock picking by fund managers.
An index represents the economy of the country and its performance. It includes companies from different sectors having high market capitalisation. As fund follows the index, it allows investors to achieve diversification and broad exposure to large companies. It helps to reduce volatility in the fund.
Index funds are less expensive compared to other equity funds. This is because of the passive style of management. The fund manager in Index funds does not require research for selection of stocks and building portfolio because investment in securities is determined by the index and also there will less adjustment of the portfolio, which will help in reduction of brokerage and transaction cost. This results in a decrease in management fees and other expenses.
The returns in Index Fund is determined by the performance of index they track. It follows the same line of growth with the index. An index fund cannot beat its benchmark in terms of returns and may vary due to tracking error of the fund.
Index funds are highly liquid in nature because the stocks in the portfolio are of well-known large companies whose stocks are traded with huge volume. So it becomes convenient for investors to buy/sell index funds.
The main objective of Index funds are steady and long-term growth with low risk. The index funds are well diversified across sectors within an index which helps in reducing the downside risk of the portfolio. It also helps in attaining steady returns from the funds.
Many index funds outperform actively managed funds in the longer run. As a market index manifest the true picture of the economy, the same is reflected in index funds. In the longer run, it is always expected that economy will grow which will result in an increase in returns of index funds.
An investor with less knowledge in mutual funds can also easily track the performance of the fund. It does not require to understand the viewpoint of fund manager and investment strategies.
The biggest advantage is of less expense ratio of the fund. As the role of fund managers are limited, the expense in managing the fund is low, thus the benefit is transferred to investors.
As used to be in the actively managed fund, where a change in fund manager results in deviation of performance of the fund, Index Fund don't have the risk of deviation of performance in case of fund manager change because there is no change in the strategy of investment.
An Index Fund is required to match the footstep of its tracking index, there is no flexibility in formulating an investment strategy. It cannot change its holding in the case of a huge decline in the price of a stock. It has to wait till it is pulled out of index composition.
An Index always track market capitalization of the stock. The increase in the price of a stock changes weightage of the stock in the index and vice versa in case of a decline in price. A fund manager has to adjust the weightage in the fund by buying the stocks at a high price and selling at low prices.
An actively managed fund identifies a potential stock at a very early stage when it is trading at a low price and can react when the stock is doing bad but in the case of an index fund, it has to wait till its inclusion or exclusion from the index composition.
An Index is a composition of large market capitalized stocks. Small and Mid-cap stocks are not included in the index.
A stock is not pulled out of an index till their market cap has reduced significantly or has serious governance issues. A fund manager also has to hold the stock in its portfolio till the official confirmation is received from the index.
Nifty 50 represents top 50 companies from 22 sectors of the economy. The overall weight age of sectors have largely same over the period but companies have changed due to change in market cap. CAGR of Nifty for the last 10 years, 5 years and 1 year is 9.4%, 17.15%, and 21% respectively.
BSE is the oldest stock exchange in Asia established in 1877. It represents the 30 component stocks representing large, well-established and financially sound companies across key sectors. Sensex was established in 1986 and is also considered as an economic indicator of India to the world. CAGR of Sensex for last 10 years, 5 years, and 1 year is 8.7%, 16%, and 19.4% respectively.
Any fund with more than 65% of asset in equity portfolio is treated as an equity fund. Index funds come under the classification of equity fund as the full portfolio is invested in equity. Investment more than one year in equity fund is treated as a long-term investment. The tax implication used to be Nil earlier. But, now LTCG on equity funds shall be charged @ 10% tax if LTCG is in excess of Rs.1 lakh during a year. If an investor sells his/her investment in less than one year it is categorised as a short-term investment and tax implication for short-term capital gains are taxed at 15%. Dividend income is tax-free in the hands of the investor.
The performance of the Index Fund is dependent on macroeconomic environment and composition of the tracking index. In long run, it may outperform the many actively managed equity fund. The fund is not designed to deliver short-term returns. One has to stay invested for longer time period, so as to overcome some of the disadvantages associated with the fund.
In one line, Expense Ratio is the bread and butter for fund manager. It’s the charges you pay to Asset Management Company i.e. fund house to manage the fund portfolio. Fund houses manage all their expenses through earning from expense ratio.
Hi, What do you mean by expense ratio? What is the importance of expense ratio while investing in mutual funds? I have read this term at so many places. Can you please explain in simple words. I am not from a financial background. But, I am very interested in mutual funds. Trying to gather knowledge from different places.
Yes the expense ratio of index fund is very low as compared to actively managed funds. Reason being, in index fund fund manager only has to replicate the index and no other research is required. Fund manager has very little role to play. Yes tracking error is also there, reason is the fund cannot replicate exactly the portfolio of index due to size of investments in market is too big whereas investment size in fund is very low.
Hi, thanks for such useful details. Index funds seem to be a good investment tool to grow money in the long run. Basically, index funds replicate the index returns and are a good example of passive investing. Right! I have heard that the cost in index funds is relatively lower. Is it true and if so how? Also, there are chances of tracking errors in index funds. Is it so actually?
Buy the Dip represent an investing strategy wherein you add on to your existing investments in the case of any small or major market correction. This strategy is beneficial for long-term investments as it helps to reduce the overall cost and also increases the overall profitability.
There are several options to invest in index funds. It can be done through online portals, agents, demat account and AMC website.
ETFs (Exchange Traded Funds) & Mutual Funds are investment avenues that are managed by a Fund manager and allow Retail investors to invest in them. ETFs are listed on Stock Exchanges, and Mutual Funds are not. Usually, ETFs track an Index or sector whereas Mutual Funds offer a much more variety of Funds from which an investor can choose from. Both of these investment vehicles have their own merits and demerits. One should evaluate their risk profile and goals and choose one of them either. Find out which of these is the better option.
ETF is an investment instrument that tracks a group of securities from a particular asset class and performs according to it. It is managed by a Fund manager who makes sure that the ETF tracks the underlying asset accurately. ETFs are listed on the Stock Exchanges therefore one can buy & sell them within the market hours at their desired prices.
ETFs (Exchange Traded Funds) and Mutual Funds are similar investment vehicles that provide the investors various features. Both have their benefits and shortcomings. ETFs are a good option for passive investors who want to invest in a particular Index or Sector without much rebalancing. On the other hand, Mutual Funds are a better option for active investors who are more active with their investments. One can switch between funds according to their current strategies.
Fincash is a yet another online investing platform that was started in 2016 or you can call it a fintech startup. Having raised funding, it has grown fast to give tough competition to other market players.
The differences between index funds and mutual funds are vast. Learn what is mutual fund and index fund and know what differentiates the two investment options.
Mutual funds are professionally managed investment vehicles that offer numerous categories of funds to investors. To generate regular cash flows or income, investors can use the Systematic Withdrawal Plan or invest in Dividend Payout and Debt funds to receive regular income. Debt funds provide regular interest payouts, whereas dividend payout funds give regular dividends which act as regular income.
Investing in abroad markets has become quite easy these days. One can get direct and indirect exposure into the U.S. market through various methods. Investing in foreign markets like the U.S provides many benefits like Diversification into the top companies of the world, Benefit of Currency Depreciation, etc. Apart from directly purchasing the stocks listed on the U.S. stock exchanges, there are some different methods as well. Know the best methods of getting exposure to the U.S. stock markets.
Stock researching is a not a lengthy process but beginners can easily take up anywhere between 2 to 4 hours to complete the entire process. The task can be performed faster with the help of any stock screening and fundamental analysis platforms.
Index funds perform in tandem with a tracking index. The low expense ratio is definitely an attraction for investors. Direct mutual fund plans and regular plans have higher expense ratio, I suppose. Is this correct? But, then actively managed mutual funds tend to give better returns than Index funds. So, lower expense ratio can't be the sole criteria to invest in a particular asset class. What say, do you agree to it? It's the funds or stock picking skills that actually matter.