Mutual fund selection: Explained 101

Rahul Verma
August 4, 2023
mutual fund selection
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Imagine you and your peer begin investing at the same time, with identical initial funds and similar investment themes. However, over time, the final amount in your investment portfolios may vary significantly. The key factor influencing this outcome is your mutual fund selection strategy and procedure. But don’t worry, we’ve got you covered! In this blog, we will discuss some fundamental technical facts to help you make informed decisions and navigate through the overwhelming task of choosing the right mutual funds and achieving your wealth creation goals.

Basic Criteria for Mutual Fund Selection

Before delving into the comparison of mutual funds using various matrices, it is essential to grasp the fundamental philosophy and methodology behind mutual fund selection

  • Investment Objectives: Understanding your investment objectives forms the cornerstone of effective mutual fund selection. This involves clarifying whether you are seeking long-term capital appreciation, a steady income stream, or a balanced combination of both. Your investment goals will dictate the types of funds you should consider, ensuring that your chosen funds align with your financial aspirations.
  • Fund Category & Fund Theme: Mutual funds are categorized based on their investment focus, such as equity, debt, hybrid, and sector-specific funds. Each category comes with its risk-reward profile and characteristics. Evaluating the suitability of a fund category to your investment objectives is essential. For instance, if you’re aiming for higher potential returns and are comfortable with higher volatility, equity funds might be suitable. On the other hand, if stability and regular income are your priorities, debt funds could be more fitting.
  • Portfolio Holdings and Asset Allocation: Examining a mutual fund’s portfolio composition and asset allocation strategy provides insight into where your money will be invested. Analyze the types of securities the fund holds, such as stocks, bonds, or other financial instruments. Diversification across different assets can mitigate risks. Understanding how the fund manager allocates assets based on market conditions and their investment strategy is crucial in determining if the fund’s approach aligns with your risk tolerance and objectives.
  • Fund Size (AUM – Assets Under Management): The size of a mutual fund, often measured by its Assets Under Management (AUM), can impact its performance and operational efficiency. While a larger AUM might imply stability and resources, a smaller fund could potentially be more agile and responsive to market opportunities. Consider how the fund size may influence factors like liquidity, transaction costs, and the fund’s ability to manage inflows and outflows effectively.
  • Fund Manager and House Reputation: The expertise and track record of the fund manager play a pivotal role in a mutual fund’s success. Research the fund manager’s experience, investment philosophy, and performance history. A seasoned and skilled fund manager is more likely to navigate market fluctuations effectively. Additionally, consider the reputation of the fund house or management company. A reputable firm is likely to have well-defined investment processes, risk management practices, and a commitment to investor interests.

Tune into our podcast episode featuring Mr. Samir Arora from Helios Capital Management, where he imparts valuable wisdom and guidance for investors embarking on the mutual fund selection journey. Stream Now!

Comparative Analysis for Mutual Fund Selection

Once the goals and extent of exposure investments have been examined, it becomes crucial to familiarize oneself with certain technical terms to assess the funds presented by a series of mutual fund companies within the same category.

  • Expense Ratio:

The expense ratio is a percentage of a mutual fund’s assets that is used to cover its operating expenses. This includes management fees, administrative costs, and other fees. A lower expense ratio is generally more favorable, as it means less of your potential returns are being consumed by fees. It’s important to compare the expense ratios of different funds within the same category to ensure you’re getting good value for your investment.

  • Lock-in and Exit Load:

Some mutual funds have a lock-in period during which you cannot redeem your investment. This period can vary depending on the fund. Additionally, mutual funds may have an exit load, which is a fee charged when you redeem your investment before a specified period. Understanding the lock-in period and exit load is important to avoid unexpected fees and to align your investment horizon with your financial goals.

Rolling returns provide a clearer picture of a mutual fund’s performance over time by calculating the average return over various periods within a specified timeframe. This analysis helps you assess how consistent a fund’s performance has been, especially during different market conditions. It provides insights into the fund’s ability to generate returns across various market cycles.

  • Volatility Ratio:

Volatility is a measure of the fluctuations in a mutual fund’s returns over a certain period. A higher volatility ratio (Alha, Sharpe, and Standard Deviation ratios) indicates greater price fluctuations, which can indicate higher risk. Understanding a fund’s volatility helps you gauge its potential for significant price swings and the associated risks. It’s important to align the fund’s volatility with your risk tolerance and investment objectives.

  • Tracking Error and Rating:

Tracking error measures the consistency of a mutual fund’s returns compared to its benchmark index. A lower tracking error suggests that the fund closely follows its benchmark, which can be desirable for investors seeking specific market exposure. Additionally, mutual funds are often assigned ratings by agencies that evaluate their historical performance, risk profile, and other factors. These ratings can provide insights into the fund’s past performance and risk-adjusted returns.


Navigating through the intricate process of mutual fund selection might initially seem overwhelming and laborious. However, once you meticulously analyze the aforementioned insights, you will position yourself at an advantage in terms of optimized returns or a substantial corpus over time. Nevertheless, seeking guidance from your mutual fund advisor is recommended for additional clarity and tailoring your portfolio to align with your specific requirements.

Risk Assessment Test