How to Invest in Mutual Funds in India: A Comprehensive Guide

How to Invest in Mutual Funds in India: A Comprehensive Guide

Dreaming of wealth creation? Mutual funds offer new investors an accessible path to grow wealth in India. As more individuals seek alternative investments beyond traditional options like fixed deposits, mutual funds have become a mainstream choice. Whether you are a salaried professional, business owner or homemaker looking to put savings to work, mutual funds cater to every need. This comprehensive guide to mutual fund investment explores everything from types of funds to taxation. New investors will appreciate the basics on how mutual funds allow you to diversity market risk across assets classes like equity, debt and gold based on your risk appetite and financial goals. Understanding systematic investment plans makes it easy get started with mutual fund SIP investments with as little as Rs 100-500 per month.

"Investing in mutual funds is like planting seeds in a well-tended garden; patience and diversity yield the most fruitful 🍃 results."

With over 20 asset management companies offering thousands of mutual fund schemes, the options can seem mind-boggling initially. This guide offers a risk-oriented approach to narrow down choices based on your investor profile - whether you are aggressive, moderate or conservative. It also provides pointers on reviewing historical returns while avoiding overly simplistic selections based on just 1-year returns. Read on to learn analytical approaches to shortlist funds, understand taxation and keep a track of performance.

how to invest in mitual funda in India

Understanding Mutual Funds in India

Before diving into the investment process, it's crucial to have a solid understanding of mutual funds and how they operate within the Indian financial landscape:

Mutual Fund Definition

In India, a mutual fund is a professionally managed investment vehicle that pools money from multiple investors and invests it in a diversified portfolio of stocks, bonds, or other securities. These funds are managed by Asset Management Companies (AMCs). In India, a mutual fund stands as a professionally managed investment tool that brings together funds from numerous investors. The pooled money is then strategically invested by Asset Management Companies (AMCs) in a diversified portfolio comprising stocks, bonds, and various securities. This collective approach allows investors to benefit from a broad range of investments, spreading the risk. These mutual funds, overseen by AMCs, provide individuals with an opportunity to participate in the financial markets without having to actively manage their investments. A reliable option for both seasoned and novice investors, mutual funds play a pivotal role in fostering financial growth and diversity.

Professional Management

Mutual funds in India are managed by skilled fund managers who make investment decisions on behalf of investors. Their primary goal is to achieve the fund's stated investment objectives, which are outlined in the fund's offer document. Skilled fund managers play a crucial role in the professional management of mutual funds in India. These experienced individuals are responsible for making informed investment decisions on behalf of investors. Their main objective is to align with the fund's stated investment goals, clearly outlined in the fund's offer document. With a focus on achieving these objectives, fund managers utilize their expertise to navigate the dynamic financial landscape. Investors benefit from this professional management approach as it aims to optimize returns and manage risks, providing a reliable avenue for individuals seeking a hands-off yet rewarding investment experience.


By investing in a mutual fund, you gain access to a diversified portfolio of assets. This diversification is crucial as it helps spread risk and reduces the impact of any individual security's poor performance. Opting for mutual fund investment opens the door to a diverse portfolio of assets, a key strategy in mitigating risk. This diversification is pivotal as it effectively spreads risk across various securities, lessening the impact of any single asset's underperformance. By gaining access to a well-balanced mix of stocks, bonds, and other securities through mutual funds, investors can enhance their risk management strategy. This approach fosters a more stable and resilient investment journey, aligning with the goal of safeguarding capital against the fluctuations of individual securities.

Mutual funds offer newbies a professionally managed route to market investments compared to direct stock picking.

Simply put, a mutual fund pools money from thousands of investors to create a consolidated investment fund. This fund is handed over to an expert fund management team employed by the Asset Management Company (AMC). Kotak, ICICI and SBI are leading AMC names in India.

The fund manager and his research team decide where to invest the pool of money to align with the scheme's stated financial goal - equity, debt etc. So your money gets diversified across asset classes ranging from equity shares, bonds to money market instruments.

How does this help? Imagine putting all your eggs in one stock that takes a beating in the market. In comparison, mutual funds spread risk across 50-100 securities. Even if a few underperform, other investments can compensate to offer collective gains minus downs of direct stock exposure. So mutual funds offer new investors the power of diversification minus headaches of picking stocks.

""The beauty of mutual funds lies in their ability to turn the complexity of markets into simplicity for the investor, providing a gateway to wealth with expert guidance."

Steps to Invest in Mutual Funds in India

You can invest in mutual fund in two ways, online and offline channels through which investors can buy mutual funds. Both comes with their relative costs and benefits.

Offline Channel Still Dominates

The offline channel via AMC branches and distributors still dominates mutual fund distribution in India. These intermediaries sell regular commission-based plans. Though expense ratios are higher, investors may value services like advisory, form-filling assistance and local access provided by distributors, especially in smaller cities.

While the offline channel will continue to retain its share of mutual fund investors, lower costs and the convenience of digital platforms are strong drivers for the growth of online mutual fund investments in India.

The offline distribution network plays an important role in increasing mutual fund penetration across India, especially in smaller cities and rural areas where internet connectivity remains poor. According to SEBI data, nearly 80% of total mutual fund AUM is from the top 30 cities indicating there is ample scope for greater geographical penetration. AMCs need to expand their presence through traditional distribution channels for on-ground activation and lead generation.

At present, individual distributors account for over 60% of total mutual fund distribution network in India. This includes national distributors, smaller IFAs, bank branches and other distribution firms operating through offline modes. However, lack of financial awareness and inadequate penetration remains a key challenge. Distributors need to conduct investor education programs, financial literacy camps and local meets to illustrate benefits of long-term mutual fund investing especially to first-time investors from smaller towns. Customized vernacular content is essential for connecting better with such audience.

AMCs must also incentivize high performing distributors through higher commissions and rewards programs for sourcing new investors and assets from B-30 locations. Tie-ups with regional banks and microfinance companies can further expand reach. Technology integration with POS machines and tab-based tools can ease transactions and enhance adoption. The high growth potential in undiscovered locations calls for dedicated efforts from fund houses towards expanding offline distribution bandwidth targeting metrics like number of investors and average ticket size from each location.

Buying Direct Online Saves Costs

Purchasing mutual funds directly from Asset Management Company (AMC) websites or mutual fund investment platforms allows investors to buy "direct" plans which have lower expense ratios. This is because there are no commissions or broker charges involved.

Direct plans can deliver .5-1.5% higher returns over the long term compared to regular plans. For an investment of Rs 10 lakhs at 12% returns, choosing a direct plan can yield Rs 8,33,000 higher corpus on maturity. This benefit of lower costs makes direct plans lucrative for informed investors.

Popular online platforms for accessing direct plans include stock brokers like upstox, zerodha, fyers and other fintech platforms like Groww, PayTM Money, Kuvera. These fintech platforms make direct mutual fund investing convenient through paperless KYC and digital payments.

To buy a mutual fund online, follow the steps explained below.

  1. Define Your Investment Goals: Begin by determining your financial objectives, such as saving for retirement, creating an emergency fund, or achieving a specific financial milestone. Your goals will serve as the foundation for your mutual fund investment strategy.
  2. Assess Your Risk Tolerance: Evaluate your risk tolerance based on factors like your age, financial situation, and investment horizon. Understanding your risk tolerance will guide you in selecting mutual funds that align with your comfort level.
  3. Choose the Right Type of Mutual Fund: Familiarize yourself with the various types of mutual funds available in India, including equity funds, debt funds, hybrid funds, and more. Each type has its unique characteristics and associated risk levels.
  4. Research Mutual Funds: Conduct thorough research to identify mutual funds that match your investment goals and risk profile. Key factors to consider include the fund's historical performance, expense ratio, and the fund manager's track record.
  5. Select a Reputable AMC: Choose a well-established Asset Management Company (AMC) known for its ethical practices and customer service. The reputation and track record of the AMC can greatly influence your investment experience.
  6. Complete KYC (Know Your Customer): Ensure you are KYC-compliant as required by regulatory authorities. This involves submitting your identity and address proofs, along with other relevant documents, to your chosen mutual fund distributor or AMC.
  7. Open a Mutual Fund Account: Open a mutual fund account with the selected AMC or through a registered mutual fund distributor, such as a bank or an online investment platform. This account will serve as the gateway to your mutual fund investments. You can invest in mutual funds through your stock brokers also. We have discussed best stock brokers for mutual fund investment in our previous post.
  8. Invest Regularly via SIPs: Consider investing through a Systematic Investment Plan (SIP). SIPs allow you to contribute a fixed amount regularly (e.g., monthly) rather than making lump-sum investments. This disciplined approach can make investing more affordable and manageable.
  9. Monitor Your Investments: Keep a close eye on your mutual fund investments. Periodically review your portfolio to ensure it remains aligned with your financial goals. You may need to rebalance your portfolio as market conditions change.
  10. Stay Informed: Stay updated on financial markets, economic developments, and any changes in the mutual funds you've invested in. Being well-informed will empower you to make sound investment decisions.
  11. Understand Tax Implications: Gain knowledge of the tax implications associated with mutual fund investments in India, including capital gains tax and dividend distribution tax. Consult a tax advisor to devise tax-efficient investment strategies.
To get an idea about returns of your mutual fund SIP returns you can use our mutual fund SIP return calculator.


Mutual funds make smart investing easy even for newcomers to the investing world. Instead of direct stock bets, mutual funds offer newbies a simplified avenue to participate in market growth through expert-managed and diversified investments. This guide has equipped you with the fundamentals - how mutual funds work, types of funds, risk management through diversification and more. You now have clarity on important concepts like SIP investments as well as pointers on fund selection and performance tracking. Armed with this knowledge, you can confidently embark on your mutual fund investment journey. Identify appropriate funds that align with your risk appetite and financial dreams. Maintain discipline to continue SIP investments despite market ups and downs. And review portfolio performance periodically while giving funds time to deliver. Investing can seem complicated but mutual funds make participating in markets hassle-free even for first-timers. So Leverage the tips in this guide and let your money work hard for you.

Investing in mutual funds is a popular choice among Indian retail investors looking to create wealth over the long term. However, like any other investment option, mutual funds also carry some risk. So how can you maximize returns from your mutual fund investments while managing risk efficiently? First and foremost, have a well-defined financial plan and investment strategy in place. Outline your risk appetite, return expectations, investment horizon and goals clearly before putting money into any mutual fund scheme. This will help choose the right asset allocation between equity, debt and other instruments for your needs. Additionally, diversity is key to contain overall portfolio risk. Have your investments spread across various market capitalization levels - large, mid and small cap funds as well as sectors and industries. Opting for Systematic Investment Plans allows you to average out market volatility. Reviewing your mutual fund portfolio every six months ensures alignment with long term goals. Past performance is never a guarantee of future returns. But with robust research, practical asset allocation, disciplined investing and regular reviews, your mutual fund portfolio can be optimized to gain higher rewards over time. Reach out to a certified investment advisor also helps in wealth creation through prudent mutual fund investing. Happy investing!

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