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What are Direct Mutual Funds?

What are Direct Mutual Funds?
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Investors can benefit from direct mutual funds to reduce expenses. Mutual funds introduced direct plans for their schemes in January 2013, following guidance from the Securities and Exchange Board of India. With mf direct plans, investors avoid paying commissions to distributors, which boosts their returns. While they forego distributor services, not all investors require such assistance. Before 2013, investors had to pay commissions to distributors, even if they managed mutual fund schemes independently, resulting in higher costs.

Mutual funds, expertly managed financial products, offer an avenue for investors eager to engage in the financial markets without the daily stock market hustle. These funds come with expenses, typically a percentage of your investments, covering management fees and operational costs like registrar and transfer agent fees, audit fees, custodian fees, marketing expenses, and, in the case of regular funds, distributor fees. Investing in mutual funds means you can leave the trading to the experts while you enjoy the benefits.

What are Direct Mutual Funds?

Direct Mutual Funds, also known as direct plans, empower investors to make direct investments without relying on intermediaries such as brokers or distributors. By directly purchasing units of a mutual fund scheme, these plans provide a lower expense ratio, thereby boosting returns.

Conversely, regular mutual funds involve distributors who earn commissions and fees for distributing mutual funds to investors. These costs are considered expenses and reduce investor returns, resulting in a higher expense ratio for regular plans.

Investors in direct mfs conduct their own research, make investment decisions, and manage their investments directly. You can invest in mf direct plans through a mutual fund company’s website or various online direct mutual fund platforms.

Features of Direct Mutual Funds

Now that we have covered what is direct mutual funds, here are a few features that characterize Direct Mutual Funds.

  • Independent Investment: In direct mutual funds, investors have the autonomy to make investments without the involvement of intermediaries like brokers or distributors. This means you have full control over your investment decisions.
  • Accessible Options: You can invest in direct mutual funds through various channels, both online and offline. This flexibility ensures that you can choose the method that suits your preferences and convenience.
  • Lower Expense Ratio: Since there are no commissions to be paid to intermediaries, the fund house does not impose distributor fees on direct mutual funds. This results in a lower expense ratio, which means a larger portion of your investment works for you.
  • No Transaction Charges: Direct mutual funds typically do not levy transaction charges. This means you can buy and sell fund units without incurring additional fees, enhancing the cost-effectiveness of your investments.
  • Denotation of ‘Direct’: The term ‘direct’ in direct mutual funds signifies that these funds are designed for investors who want to manage their investments independently, avoiding the expenses associated with intermediaries. It’s a clear indicator of the fund’s investor-friendly approach.

Strategies to Invest in Direct Mutual Funds

Investing in direct mfs offers a host of benefits, including lower expenses and potentially higher returns. To make the most of these advantages, consider implementing these strategies:

  • Understand Your Investment Goals:  Start by defining your financial objectives. Are you saving for retirement, building an emergency fund, or aiming for wealth accumulation? Knowing your goals will help you select the right mutual funds that align with your needs.
  • Diversify Your Portfolio: Spread your investments across various asset classes such as equity, debt, and hybrid funds. Diversification helps reduce risk and balance your portfolio’s overall performance.
  • Research and Due Diligence: Take the time to research and analyze the mutual funds you’re interested in. Assess their historical performance, expense ratios, fund managers’ track records, and investment philosophies. This due diligence will guide your selection process.
  • Stay Informed: Keep yourself updated with the latest market trends, economic developments, and mutual fund news. This knowledge will enable you to make informed decisions and adjust your portfolio when necessary.
  • Regular Monitoring: While direct mutual funds reduce the need for active management, it’s essential to periodically review your portfolio’s performance. Make adjustments if your goals or risk tolerance change over time.
  • Systematic Investment Plan (SIP): Consider setting up a SIP for your direct mutual fund investments. SIPs allow you to invest a fixed amount regularly, promoting disciplined investing and the benefits of rupee cost averaging.

Attributes to Identify The Best Direct Mutual Funds

Here are a few attributes that one should identify in Direct Mutual Funds to make the ideal choice:

Consistent Long-Term Performance

The best direct mutual fund should exhibit a history of delivering impressive returns over an extended period. This consistency in performance aligns with your investment horizon and provides confidence that the fund can weather various market conditions. It reflects the fund’s ability to generate returns that meet or exceed your financial goals while minimizing the impact of market volatility.

Competitive Expense Ratio

An essential characteristic of an ideal direct mutual fund is a competitive expense ratio. In comparison to similar funds within its category, it maintains a lower expense ratio. This cost-efficient approach benefits investors by minimizing the fees associated with fund management, enhancing overall returns. Lower expenses translate to more significant gains for investors over the long term.

Robust Diversification

Diversification is a critical aspect of an ideal direct mutual fund. It offers a well-balanced and diversified portfolio that spans various asset classes and sectors. This diversification serves to mitigate risks associated with concentration in a single asset or sector. By spreading investments across different areas of the market, the fund ensures that your portfolio remains resilient in the face of market turbulence.

Steady Performance During Market Fluctuations

The ideal direct mf should demonstrate steady performance even when faced with market fluctuations. It showcases resilience by minimizing the impact of adverse market conditions on your investments. This ability to maintain stability during market ups and downs can contribute to a smoother and more predictable investment experience.

Seasoned Fund Manager

An experienced and skilled fund manager is a crucial component of the best direct mutual fund. A seasoned fund manager possesses a proven track record of making informed and strategic investment decisions. Their expertise and ability to navigate the complexities of the financial markets play a pivotal role in the fund’s consistent performance. Trust in the fund manager’s capabilities adds an extra layer of confidence for investors.

Selecting a direct mutual fund that embodies these characteristics can be a prudent choice for your investment portfolio.

Differences Between Regular and Direct Mutual Funds

Regular vs. Direct Mutual Funds: In the world of mutual funds, the distinction between direct vs regular mutual fund lies in intermediaries. Regular funds involve financial advisors or distributors who guide your investment journey and earn commissions. Direct funds, on the other hand, enable independent investing, free from intermediaries and their associated commissions. The key difference between direct and regular mutual funds is in these commissions, which impact the expense ratio. In regular funds, they reduce returns, while direct funds bypass this cost, potentially leading to higher returns. However, the ultimate choice between direct plan vs regular plan is a choice between guided or self-directed investing on your financial adventure.

How to Invest in Direct Mutual Funds in India?

When venturing into the realm of Mutual Fund Direct Plans, you’ll find two exciting paths to embark on: the offline mode and the online mode.

To kickstart your journey, your initial task is to select the perfect Mutual Fund, a decision that hinges on the Mutual Fund type and the esteemed Asset Management Company (AMC) behind it.

Now, as you prepare to take the plunge, don’t forget to determine the ideal investment amount that aligns with your financial goals. You’ll also need to decide whether you’d like to embrace the methodical approach of a Systematic Investment Plan or opt for the thrill of lump-sum deposits.

Let’s delve into each method, shall we? In both cases, there are a few essential steps to conquer as you pave the way for your financial aspirations. The possibilities are boundless, especially now with the advent of the best direct mutual fund apps.

Investing in MF Direct Plans Online

Say farewell to the complexities of physical visits; the digital era has ushered in a more streamlined way to acquire direct Mutual Funds – online convenience at your fingertips.

As a newcomer to the Mutual Fund landscape, you’ll need to navigate the KYC formalities, a one-time endeavor that serves as your golden key to investment across various platforms in Direct Mutual Fund Plans. Your PAN, a pivotal piece of the puzzle, undergoes scrutiny by all Mutual Fund Companies to ensure seamless integration with your KYC details.

Venturing into the realm of Direct Mutual Fund investment schemes online is a multifaceted journey. You can embark on this voyage through the Asset Management or Mutual Fund Company or collaborate with the Registrar & Transfer Agent (R&TA). Each avenue, a gateway to discovery, unravels the intricacies of purchasing direct mutual funds online in India. Let’s explore these pathways together.

Investing in Direct Plans Through AMC Website

Step into the closest office or Investor Service Centre affiliated with your chosen AMC. If you’re new to the investment realm, the initial order of business is to complete your KYC process, resulting in the allocation of a unique ‘Folio Number’ in your name. This folio number paves the way for future online investments.

To ensure a seamless transition to Direct Plan in mutual funds, don’t forget to tick the ‘Direct Plan’ box in your application. One caveat to bear in mind: for each AMC, a distinct folio number is requisite, a small quirk in an otherwise streamlined process.

Much like the traditional offline process, the initial step in the online AMC Direct Fund application process involves selecting a Mutual Fund Scheme and visiting the official website. From there, follow the straightforward steps outlined below to acquire a direct mf investment:

Account Setup with the AMC

Begin by creating an account with the Mutual Fund House or AMC. The information required mirrors what you’d typically provide in an application form. Keep in mind that the registration process may vary among different AMCs.

Opt for the “Direct” Plan

During the crucial account setup phase, navigate to the “Plan Type” option and select “Direct.” Then, pick your preferred scheme and the investment option of your choice.

Make Key Investment Decisions

Now, it’s time to make some pivotal investment decisions:

  • Choose between “Dividend” and “Growth” options based on your investment goals.
  • Indicate your preference for Systematic Investment Plan (SIP) or lump-sum investments.
  • Specify whether you have a Registered Investment Adviser (RIA) assisting you and enter the RIA Code.
  • Decide on your mode of payment and provide bank details such as Name, Account Number, IFSC, and Account Type.
  • Review and Verification
  • Take a moment to review the details you’ve entered in the previous step, ensuring accuracy to prevent future complications. In some cases, certain AMCs may require application form submission validation through an OTP sent to your registered email or mobile number.

Conclude the Transaction

Wrap up the process by making the necessary payment using your chosen payment method. Once completed, you’ll receive a confirmation via your registered email or mobile number.

Investing in Direct Plans Through Funds Registrars

In the realm of mutual funds, registrars serve as the diligent keepers of records and folio managers for all accounts. In India, two prominent entities, Kfin Technologies and CAMS, take on this pivotal role. To delve into the world of Direct Plan growth, you have the option to register online with either registrar.

However, it’s essential to note that your choice of registrar dictates your investment possibilities. You can only invest in funds associated with the registrar you select. Furthermore, when you submit an application to your chosen Asset Management Company (AMC), the registrar plays a central role in processing your request. This method essentially extends the reach of the first approach, offering an alternative avenue for seamless investment management.

Disadvantages of Investing in Direct Mutual Funds

The following are the disadvantages of investing in Direct Mutual Funds:

Complex Scheme Selection

The array of mutual fund schemes offered by various Asset Management Companies (AMCs) in India can be overwhelming. Choosing the most suitable scheme can be an intricate task. Often, direct investors make selections primarily based on past performance without a holistic analysis of other critical factors.

Decision-Making Dilemmas

Effective management of your investment portfolio requires regular monitoring and timely adjustments in response to market dynamics and your financial objectives. However, direct investors may struggle to make crucial decisions at various stages of their investment journey. This hesitancy can have a significant impact on long-term wealth accumulation.

Investor Biases

Direct investors frequently develop biases that can detrimentally affect their investment portfolios. These biases may manifest as an undue concentration in particular fund categories or a preference for funds based on personal affinities rather than sound investment principles. Such biased decision-making can disregard crucial aspects like asset allocation, potentially leading to costly mistakes over time.

Advantages of Investing in Direct Mutual Funds

Here are a few advantages of investing in Direct Mutual Funds:

Cost Efficiency

With no intermediaries involved between you and the Asset Management Company (AMC), direct funds typically feature a lower expense ratio compared to regular funds. In the case of regular mutual funds, AMCs compensate agents with commissions, which are subsequently recovered through the expense ratio.

Enhanced Net Asset Value (NAV)

The Net Asset Value (NAV) of a mutual fund is determined by dividing the total value of assets in the fund’s portfolio by the outstanding units. Since there are no brokerage charges involved, direct funds often boast a relatively higher NAV compared to regular funds.

Potential for Superior Returns

The absence of brokerage expenses in mutual fund direct plans results in a comparatively lower expense ratio, potentially translating into higher returns over the long term. Consider this scenario: Suppose you invest Rs 12,000 per month in a Systematic Investment Plan (SIP) for eight years in both regular and direct plans offered by an AMC. Assume that the direct fund yields returns of 11%, while the regular fund generates 10%. In the case of regular funds, the AMC pays a 1% brokerage fee to third parties, making a significant difference in returns.

Elimination of Conflict of Interest

Directly engaging with the fund house mitigates the risk of being influenced or misled by third-party intermediaries. Agents or distributors may encourage investments in specific mutual fund schemes that align with their interests. Opting for direct funds eliminates potential conflicts of interest, ensuring your investments align with your financial goals.

To Wrap It Up…

In today’s digital age, with a wealth of research material readily accessible to investors, opting for direct mutual fund plans to cut down on expense ratios is a wise choice. However, it’s crucial to emphasize that this path is most effective when investors conduct thorough research.

It’s worth noting that both direct and regular mutual funds are invested in the same underlying assets and adhere to the same investment strategy. The critical distinction lies in the expense ratio and the investment approach. Therefore, investors should thoughtfully evaluate their investment goals, level of expertise, and comfort level when deciding between direct and regular mutual funds.


1. What is a direct mutual fund?

Direct Mutual Funds are those provided directly by the AMC or fund house, without the involvement of third-party agents like brokers or distributors. This absence of intermediaries means no commissions or brokerage fees.

2. Is it good to invest in direct mutual funds?

Over time, the lower expense ratio of a Direct Plan of mutual fund results in higher returns on investments, compounding over the years. Consequently, an investment in a mutual fund direct plan of the same scheme becomes more valuable compared to a Regular Plan.

3. Can we invest directly in mutual funds?

Direct Plans cater to individuals who choose to invest directly in a mutual fund scheme without the assistance of distributors or agents. Investing in a Direct Plan mirrors purchasing a product directly from the manufacturer, leading to lower costs for the customer.

4. Which is better MF Direct or regular?

Direct mutual funds consistently yield higher returns compared to the regular version of the same mutual fund. This is primarily due to the lower ‘expense ratio’ associated with direct plans, as previously mentioned.

5. Is Direct mutual fund safe?

Yes, it can be a safe investment option if direct investors do their due diligence regarding thorough research.