Which direct plan equity mutual funds do investors prefer?

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1st Jan 2022 marked the 9th anniversary of direct plan mutual funds. In this article, we list the most popular direct plan mutual funds – that is the ones with the largest AUM.

The AUM (asset under management) of mutual funds reported in most online portals is the total value. AUM of the regular plan (commissions removed before NAV declaration) plus AUM of the direct plan (no commissions).

Each quarter, the association of mutual funds in India (AMF) reports the average AUM per quarter. Domestic fund of funds AUM is reported separately to avoid double counting of assets. In this report, the AUM of the direct plan and regular plan mutual funds are reported separately. Also, under each plan, one can find out the AUM in dividend option and growth option. NB: Plans and options have distinct meanings for mutual funds and should not be used interchangeably!

We had recently used the same data source to discuss Which mutual funds do retail and high net worth investors choose?

The total average assets under management (AAUM) for the quarter of July – September 2021 (Rs in Lakhs) across the 15 fund categories listed below is Rs. 16,17,17,870.9 lakhs.

  • ELSS
  • Flexi Cap Fund
  • Focused Fund
  • Large & Mid Cap Fund
  • Large Cap Fund
  • Mid Cap Fund
  • Multi-Cap Fund
  • Sectoral/ Thematic
  • Small Cap Fund
  • Value Fund
  • Aggressive Hybrid Fund
  • Arbitrage Fund
  • Dynamic Asset Allocation or Balanced Advantage
  • Equity Savings
  • Multi-Asset Allocation

The total direct AUM across these categories is Rs. 3,52,75,091.32 Lakhs or 21.8% of the total AUM mentioned above.

 About 31% of the total index fund AUM is in regular plans!

Note: The funds listed below are not investment recommendations.

Top 15 popular direct plan equity-oriented mutual funds (as of July-Sep 2021)

Scheme NAV Name Average AUM (Rs lakhs)
Kotak Equity Arbitrage Fund – Growth – Direct 1411036
Kotak Flexicap Fund – Growth – Direct 995824.9
Mirae Asset Large Cap Fund – Direct Plan – Growth 982571.5
ICICI Prudential Equity Arbitrage Fund – Direct Plan – Growth 950681.7
Axis Bluechip Fund – Direct Plan – Growth 946538.6
Parag Parikh Flexi Cap Fund – Direct Plan – Growth 899871
HDFC Flexi Cap Fund – Growth Option – Direct Plan 764568.3
SBI BLUE CHIP FUND-DIRECT PLAN -GROWTH 761301.3
Tata Arbitrage Fund-Direct Plan-Growth 712056.4
Nippon India Arbitrage Fund – Direct Plan Growth Plan – Growth Option 695892.6
Axis Long Term Equity Fund – Direct Plan – Growth Option 685605.8
ICICI Prudential Bluechip Fund – Direct Plan – Growth 676844.1
Mirae Asset Emerging Bluechip Fund – Direct Plan – Growth 619820.2
HDFC ARBITRAGE FUND – Wholesale Growth Option – Direct Plan 603128.9
Aditya Birla Sun Life Arbitrage Fund – Growth – Direct Plan 586643.5

This is the AUM percentage break up of the top six funds.

Fund AUM (Rs. Lakhs) % Share of AUM (for each fund)
Kotak Equity Arbitrage Fund – Growth 1015484 41.0%
Kotak Equity Arbitrage Fund – Growth – Direct 1411036 56.9%
Kotak Equity Arbitrage Fund -IDCW 40230.23 1.6%
Kotak Equity Arbitrage Fund – IDCW – Direct 12276.26 0.5%
Kotak Flexicap Fund – Growth 2683735 71.0%
Kotak Flexicap Fund – Growth – Direct 995824.9 26.4%
Kotak Flexicap Fund – IDCW 88857.11 2.4%
Kotak Flexicap Fund – IDCW- Direct 9440.6 0.2%
Mirae Asset Large Cap Fund – Direct Plan – Growth 982571.5 34.4%
Mirae Asset Large Cap Fund – Growth Plan 1817978 63.6%
Mirae Asset Large Cap Fund Direct IDCW 8593.64 0.3%
Mirae Asset Large Cap Fund Regular IDCW 49350.34 1.7%
ICICI Prudential Equity Arbitrage Fund – Direct Plan – Growth 950681.7 64.2%
ICICI Prudential Equity Arbitrage Fund – Direct Plan – IDCW 12627.47 0.9%
ICICI Prudential Equity Arbitrage Fund – Growth 493278.7 33.3%
ICICI Prudential Equity Arbitrage Fund – IDCW 24858.85 1.7%
Axis Bluechip Fund – Direct Plan – Growth 946538.6 30.8%
Axis Bluechip Fund – Direct Plan – IDCW 11501.25 0.4%
Axis Bluechip Fund – Regular Plan – Growth 2075511 67.5%
Axis Bluechip Fund – Regular Plan – IDCW 42965.64 1.4%
Parag Parikh Flexi Cap Fund – Direct Plan – Growth 899871 64.8%
Parag Parikh Flexi Cap Fund – Regular Plan-Growth 489612.8 35.2%

The arbitrage fund AUM is likely from high networth investors. Parag Parikh Flexicap has the large direct chunk in the top six but much of is the AUM from their PMS which was wound up.

The top 15 direct plan small cap funds are listed below.

Fund Average AUM (Rs lakhs)
HDFC Small Cap Fund – Growth Option – Direct Plan 425061.6
SBI Small Cap Fund – Direct Plan – Growth 317363.2
Nippon India Small Cap Fund – Direct Plan Growth Plan – Growth Option 302427.9
Axis Small Cap Fund – Direct Plan – Growth 283232
DSP Small Cap Fund – Direct Plan – Growth 160334
Franklin India Smaller Companies Fund – Direct – Growth 145407.8
Kotak-Small Cap Fund – Growth – Direct 130893.2

Top 15 popular regular plan  equity-oriented mutual funds (as of July-Sep 2021)

Fund Average AUM (Rs lakhs)
SBI EQUITY HYBRID FUND – REGULAR PLAN -Growth 3737761
ICICI Prudential Balanced Advantage Fund – Growth 2709485
Kotak Flexicap Fund – Growth 2683735
HDFC Mid-Cap Opportunities Fund – Growth Plan 2452795
Axis Long Term Equity Fund – Regular Plan – Growth 2385687
HDFC Balanced Advantage Fund – IDCW Plan 2264428
ICICI Prudential Bluechip Fund – Growth 2156021
SBI BLUE CHIP FUND-REGULAR PLAN GROWTH 2112357
Axis Bluechip Fund – Regular Plan – Growth 2075511
Mirae Asset Large Cap Fund – Growth Plan 1817978
HDFC Flexi Cap Fund – Growth Plan 1659869
Aditya Birla Sun Life Frontline Equity Fund-Growth 1630271
ICICI Prudential Value Discovery Fund – Growth 1566676
HDFC Top 100 Fund – Growth Option – Regular Plan 1511021
HDFC Balanced Advantage Fund – Growth Plan 1502955

The presence of many “balanced advantage funds” (whatever that means!) should come as no surprise considering how aggressively they are pushed.  Their performance during the March 2020 crash can be seen here: These five equity hybrid funds fell 50% less than Nifty during the crash.

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Dr. M. Pattabiraman(PhD) is the founder, managing editor and primary author of freefincal. He is an associate professor at the Indian Institute of Technology, Madras. He has over nine years of experience publishing news analysis, research and financial product development. Connect with him via Twitter or Linkedin or YouTube. Pattabiraman has co-authored three print books: (1) You can be rich too with goal-based investing (CNBC TV18) for DIY investors. (2) Gamechanger for young earners. (3) Chinchu Gets a Superpower! for kids. He has also written seven other free e-books on various money management topics. He is a patron and co-founder of “Fee-only India,” an organisation to promote unbiased, commission-free investment advice.


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