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Fund Manager: List of the Best Mutual Fund Managers in India 2024

Fund Manager: List of the Best Mutual Fund Managers in India 2024
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One of the key aspects of investing in mutual funds is the management of the portfolio, which includes stocks, bonds, and other asset classes. This management is carried out by a fund manager, a financial professional who manages and constructs the portfolio of securities that a mutual fund holds. Thus, in the blog, we’ll learn more about the top fund managers in India who have met the requirements and how you can become one.

Who is a Fund Manager in Mutual Funds?

A fund manager is a professional financial expert responsible for implementing investment strategies and managing mutual funds, pension funds, trust funds, hedge funds, or other financial entities. Fund management can be done by one person or a team of people.

Fund managers are paid a fee for their work, typically calculated as a percentage of the average Assets Under Management (AUM). Thus, investing in a fund managed by a fund manager is trusting the professional investment management decisions. This also gives investors peace of mind, knowing that their money is being handled by experts.

However, investors should fully research and review the investment style of fund managers before investing in a mutual fund.

Why Do Fund Managers Play an Important Role?

Mutual funds are managed by experienced fund managers. They analyse market trends, company financials, economic indicators, and other data to make informed investment decisions and use their expertise to select and monitor the fund’s portfolio. The fund management can be done by an individual or a team of experienced analysts. 

While a fund’s performance is determined by many factors, the skills of a fund manager tops the list. A skilled fund manager can outperform the market and benchmark indices through their analytical skills and extensive research. Thus, mutual funds can be broadly categorised into Active and Passive Fund Management.

In active fund management, fund managers actively select individual stocks with a goal to beat the performance of a benchmark index. On the other hand, in passive fund management, fund managers aim to replicate the performance of benchmark index. The portfolio largely does not involve active decision making, but rather follows a set of rules or matches the composition and weightage of the index. 

Ultimately, the fund manager’s capabilities, investment strategy, and risk management approach are essential considerations for investors when choosing a mutual fund.

Roles & Responsibilities of Fund Managers in the Best Mutual Fund Companies in India

A portfolio fund manager’s primary role involves overseeing a fund’s portfolio to meet its goals. Thus, let’s have a look at other responsibilities of the best portfolio managers in India including:

  • Portfolio Construction & Management: Fund managers are responsible for building and managing the portfolio of investments held by the mutual fund. They carefully choose a mix of stocks, bonds, and other securities to achieve the fund’s stated investment objectives. This could be generating income, capital appreciation, or a combination of both.
  • Risk Management: Fund managers balance risk and return to ensure the fund’s stability and protect investors’ interests. They assess and actively manage risks, monitor performance against benchmarks, and make adjustments to meet or exceed expectations.
  • Performance Tracking: They consistently monitor their fund’s performance and may opt to divest from underperforming securities like undervalued stocks. Their goal is to achieve superior returns compared to the benchmark and potentially their peers.
  • Compliance Assurance: Fund managers ensure the fund’s operations align with regulations set by authorities such as the Securities Exchange Board of India (SEBI). They must ensure the fund complies with all applicable regulations within their jurisdiction.

Qualities of the Best Fund Managers in India

Effective fund managers possess several key qualities:

  • Analytical Understanding: The top fund managers excel in analytical understanding as they can analyse complex financial data and use that information to develop effective investment strategies. They closely follow market trends and understand how economic changes can impact investments.
  • Organisational Skills: This skill is paramount because fund managers are needed to manage complex data and swiftly adapt to market changes. 
  • Adaptability to Market Conditions: The best fund managers are known for their adaptability and ability to adjust their investment strategies according to changing market conditions. This flexibility allows them to maintain the strength and resilience of their portfolios. 
  • Integrity: Investors trust fund managers to safeguard their money and act in their best interests, which makes integrity a non-negotiable factor. The top fund managers maintain high ethical standards and adhere to the stated investment strategies of the mutual fund.
  • Clear Transparency and Effective Communication: Clear transparency and effective communication are essential qualities of the best fund managers in India. This can help fund managers to successfully convey their financial strategies, results, and insights to clients and partners.

Top 10 Fund Managers in India 2024

Here is a list of the best mutual fund managers in India 2024.

Fund Manager NameMutual Fund NameAUM (in cr)Number of SchemesTotal Experience
Sankaran NarenICICI Prudential Mutual Fund₹1,23,0533326 years
R. SrinivasanSBI Mutual Fund₹1,14,3431426 years
Shreyash DevalkarAxis Mutual Fund₹58,6011214 years
Jinesh GopaniEquities - Axis Mutual Fund₹54,4662417 years
Harsha UpadhyayaKotak Mahindra Mutual Fund₹50,0591423 years
Rahul BaijalHDFC Mutual Fund₹36,981721 years
Sohini AndaniSBI Mutual Fund₹36,724423 years
Manish GunawanNippon India Mutual Fund₹22,3951220+ years
Aniruddha NahaPGIM India Mutual Fund₹12,5031218+ years
Ankit AgarwalUTI Mutual Fund₹8,167515+ years
Disclaimer: Please note that the above list is for educational purposes only, and is not recommendatory. Please do your own research or consult your financial advisor before investing.

Note: The data on the top fund managers in India is from 18th June 2024.

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Overview of the Best Fund Managers in India for 2024

Based on the list of fund managers in India, let’s look into each fund manager’s background and expertise.

Sankaran Naren

Naren oversees the investment functions of both the international advisory business and mutual funds. He has played an important role in shaping and executing the firm’s overall investment strategy. Recognised as a prominent figure in the Indian capital markets, Naren’s insights on macroeconomics and market trends are frequently featured in local and international media.

R. Srinivasan

R. Srinivasan is a highly experienced and reputable fund manager. He currently works as the Head of Equity at SBI Funds Management. With over 26 years of experience in the equity market, Srinivasan joined SBI Funds in May 2009 as a Senior Fund Manager. He has worked with companies like Future Capital Holding, Principal PNB, and Oppenheimer & Co (later Blackstone).

Shreyash Devalkar

Shreyash Devalkar is the Senior Fund Manager at Axis AMC. He joined Axis in 2016. In 2017, he rose to prominence and has been managing funds like the Bluechip Fund, Midcap Fund, and Multicap Fund. Before joining Axis, Devalkar worked as a fund manager at BNP Paribas AMC for five years. Based on our list, he is one of the best portfolio managers in India. 

Jinesh Gopani

Jinesh Gopani is the Head of Equity at Axis AMC. He oversees a diverse portfolio of funds, with the flagship Axis Long Term Equity Fund being among his responsibilities. Gopani’s journey from an equity fund manager to leading the equity division at Axis AMC reflects his expertise in identifying growth opportunities and managing investment portfolios effectively

Shreyash Devalkar

As the Senior Fund Manager at Axis AMC, Shreyash Devalkar is entrusted with managing significant funds such as the Bluechip Fund, Midcap Fund, and Multicap Fund. He joined Axis AMC in 2016 and quickly rose to prominence, taking over these funds in 2017. Prior to joining Axis, Devalkar honed his skills during a tenure of over five years as a fund manager at BNP Paribas AMC.

Harsha Upadhyaya

Harsh Upadhyaya has 23 years of experience in equity research and fund management. He has worked for organisations like DSP BlackRock Investment Managers and Prabhudas Lilladher Pvt. Ltd. He graduated with a Bachelor of Engineering in Mechanical from the National Institute of Technology, Suratkal. He also obtained a Post Graduate Management degree in Finance from the Indian Institute of Management, Lucknow.

Rahul Baijal

Rahul Baijal holds a Postgraduate Diploma in Management (MBA) from the Indian Institute of Management (IIM) Calcutta and a bachelor’s degree in engineering from Delhi College of Engineering. Before joining Sundaram Mutual Fund, he gained experience in the financial sector by working with organisations such as Bharti AXA Life Insurance, TVF Capital, HSBC Securities, Credit Suisse Securities, and Standard Chartered Bank.

Sohini Andani

Sohini Andani joined SBIFM as a Head of Research in 2007 and was promoted to Portfolio Manager in 2010. Before joining SBIFM, she worked as a senior research associate at ING Investment Management. She has over 11 years of sell-side research experience.

Manish Gunawan

Mr. Manish Gunawan holds a PGDM and a B.Tech. He had previously worked at esteemed institutions such as ICICI Prudential Mutual Fund and Lehman Brothers. Gunawan’s diverse experience adds depth to his approach to analysing market trends and identifying investment opportunities.

Aniruddha Naha

Mr. Aniruddha Naha holds a Master of Finance and Control degree. He is the senior equity fund manager at PGIM India Asset Management and has 18 years of experience in equity and debt markets. Naha oversees the PGIM India Midcap Opportunities Fund and PGIM India Diversified Equity Fund.

Ankit Agarwal

Mr. Ankit Agarwal holds degrees in economics management, computer science and engineering, and finance (PGDM). He has previously worked for Centrum Capital Ltd as a Senior Vice President-Fund Manager, Wealth and Investment Management at Barclays as an Assistant Vice President, Lehman Brothers, London as a Senior Analyst, BNP Paribas, and D.E. Shaw & Co. before joining UTI Mutual Fund.

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How Do Mutual Fund Managers Invest?

Let’s have a look at how mutual fund managers invest. 

  • Defining Investment Objectives and Risk Profile: Fund managers establish clear investment goals and risk parameters based on the fund’s mandate and investor preferences. This helps fund managers in selecting the appropriate mix of assets, sectors, and securities for the fund’s portfolio.
  • Conducting Extensive Research: Fund managers undertake in-depth analysis of sectors, companies, and market trends to identify potential investment opportunities aligned with the fund’s objectives. 
  • Risk Management: Fund managers employ various risk mitigation strategies, such as diversification, hedging, and position sizing, to minimise potential losses and manage market volatility.
  • Performance Evaluation and Reporting: Fund managers regularly assess the fund’s performance against relevant benchmarks and provide investors with periodic updates on the fund’s progress. This helps in maintaining a clear transparency and effective communication between fund managers and investors.

Factors to Consider Before Choosing Top Mutual Fund Managers in India

Here are a few factors to consider before choosing the top mutual fund managers: 

  • Track Record of the Fund Manager: The manager’s past performance strongly indicates their abilities. When evaluating a fund manager, you want to look for a consistent track record of positive returns across different market conditions. 
  • Fund Management Style and Approach: When evaluating a fund manager, it’s crucial to understand their investment philosophy and strategy. For example, some fund managers follow a contrarian approach to identify undervalued opportunities that are often overlooked by the market. Others can take a more passive, index-tracking approach, aiming to match the performance of a specific market benchmark. Therefore, as an investor you must carefully consider your options. 
  • Market Knowledge: When choosing a mutual fund, it’s crucial to ensure the fund manager has extensive knowledge and understanding of the financial markets. Relying on the advice and decision-making of a fund manager who is unfamiliar with market dynamics can lead to poor investment choices and affect your returns.
  • Transparency and Integrity: The best fund managers are open and transparent in their communication with clients. They should avoid using complex jargon and instead provide clear explanations. Dependability and trustworthiness are essential qualities in a fund manager.

How to Become a Fund Manager in India?

Here are some specific steps you can consider to become the best fund manager in India:

  • Pursue a formal education in finance, economics, or business to build a strong understanding of finance and investment management.
  • Gain practical experience in the financial sector. Work as a financial analyst, investment banker, or portfolio analyst to build your knowledge and skills.
  • Consider pursuing a professional certification, such as the Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) designation. This certification showcases your expertise in financial markets and investment management funds, enhancing your prospects.
  • At last, start applying for a fund manager job.

Difference Between Active vs Passive Manager

As discussed earlier, fund managers are classified as active or passive managers based on their behavioural nature. Let’s learn more about their differences. 

FactorActive ManagerPassive Manager
Investment ObjectiveTo outperform a benchmark indexTo match the performance of a benchmark index
Investment StyleMakes frequent buying and selling decisions to try to beat the market.Buys and holds securities that are included in a benchmark index.
FeesTypically charges higher fees than passive managersTypically charges lower fees than active managers
RiskGenerally takes on more risk than passive managersGenerally takes on less risk than active managers
Expected ReturnsHas the potential to outperform the market, but also the potential to underperformIt can be expected to match the performance of the market, minus fees.

To Wrap It Up…

In conclusion, choosing the right mutual fund manager is a crucial decision for investors. These professionals play an important role in managing the fund’s assets and making strategic investment choices to achieve the fund’s objectives. Additionally, it is equally important for investors to closely examine the track record, investment philosophy, and risk management approach of the fund manager as it can significantly impact the long-term success of your investments.

As always, it’s important to do your own research when choosing the best fund manager.

Frequently Asked Questions on Fund Managers

1. How is a mutual fund manager different from the best mutual fund advisor in India?

The basic difference between a financial advisor and the best mutual fund manager in India is that a mutual fund advisor helps investors choose and invest in mutual funds, while a fund manager manages the investments of a mutual fund.

2. What makes a good mutual fund manager?

A good mutual fund manager makes investment decisions based on in-depth fundamental research, uses relevant economic indicators to study the fund’s performance, clearly communicates their investment strategy to their clients, among other traits.

3. How do fund managers decide where to invest?

Fund managers analyse financial data, company performance and several economic indicators to make an informed investment decision. They carefully select a mix of stocks, bonds, and other assets that align with the fund’s objectives and risk profile with a goal to construct a diversified portfolio.

4. Can a portfolio manager impose a lock-in on the investor?

No, portfolio managers cannot impose a lock-in period on their clients’ investments. However, an exit fee is charged to the client who chooses to withdraw their funds prematurely, as specified in the investment agreement.

5. Why are fund managers important for mutual funds?

A fund manager is responsible for executing a fund’s investment strategy and managing its trading activities. They oversee mutual funds or pensions, manage analysts, conduct research, and make important investment decisions.

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