Top 5 Index Funds with the Lowest Expense Ratios (2022)

  • Home
  • Views On News
  • Jul5, 2022 - Top 5 Index Funds with the Lowest Expense Ratios

Jul 5, 2022

Top 5 Index Funds with the Lowest Expense Ratios (1)

Editor's note: Benchmark indices Sensex and Nifty have seen immense volatility since the beginning of the year.

Relentless selling by FIIs, a falling rupee and inflationary pressures have dampened investor sentiment.

Adding to this, the performance of the global indices, crude movement and the ongoing tussle between Russia-Ukraine also put a spanner in the upward trajectory of Indian share markets.

Now, this could well continue for the next couple of months as the Fed raises interest rates further.

So where should investors park their funds in the near term?

There are a couple of options. However, the safest of them would be to take the low volatility route to invest in stocks by investing in low-cost index funds.

What does this mean? And how should you go about it?

Last year in July, we wrote to you about the top index funds with the lowest expense ratios. This list is still relevant today.

Have a look.

Warren Buffett, the world's most famous investor, has frequently touted the benefits of investing in low-cost index funds.

In fact, he's instructed the trustee of his estate to invest in index funds.

You might ask, why?

Why would the master of value investing suggest investing in index funds and not individual stocks?

You see, patience, discipline, and risk aversion are the essential ingredients for success in picking stocks.

This means that individual stock picking is not for everybody.

In fact, Buffet says most average, long-term investors would benefit from a much simpler strategy - investing in low-cost index funds.

What are index funds?

Index funds may sound intimidating, but they're just a basket of stocks that represent a broad market.

As the name suggests, these mutual funds typically invest in stocks that are a part of an index such as Nifty 50, Sensex, etc.

If a fund is benchmarked to the BSE Sensex, then its performance over a period of time will match with the performance of Sensex. This results in automatic diversification, which reduced your overall risk.

There is also no market timing or individual stock picking involved. The fund simply tracks the performance of the index.

What is the expense ratio and why is it relevant?

Since investing in an index is more passive than active, the expense ratio of a fund is an important criterion for fund selection.

The total expense ratio (TER) is the ratio of the total cost of running and managing the fund to its average assets under management (AUM).

Total Expense Ratio = Total Costs/Average Assets Under Management

Fund expenses can make a significant difference in an investor's profit.

If a fund realises an overall annual return of 5% but charges an expense ratio of 2%, then 40% of the fund's return is spent on fees.

That's why investors should always compare expenses when researching funds. This is often far lower for index funds compared to active funds.

The Indian market regulator allows fund houses to charge a TER of up to 1% for index funds.

Now that you have a brief understanding of the above, have a look at the top 5 index funds in India with the lowest expense ratios.

#1 Navi Nifty 50 Index Fund

Navi Nifty 50 Index Fund is the latest entrant in the category of index funds. The fund was launched by a relatively new fund house Navi Mutual Fund.

It's owned by the co-founder of Flipkart, Sachin Bansal.

The fund tracks the Nifty 50. It is the only scheme that has the lowest expense ratio of 0.06%.

There is no historical data available for this fund as the fund recently opened for subscription on 3 July 2021.

Update: The AUM of the scheme was Rs 3.7 bn at the end of June 2022. The scheme's performance has remained flat over the last year, same as the Nifty 50.

#2 Motilal Oswal Nifty 50 Index Fund

The Motilal Oswal Nifty 50 Index fund has an expense ratio of 0.10%. The fund was launched in August 2019 and is benchmarked against the Nifty 50 Index.

The average AUM of the scheme was Rs 763 m at the end of June 2021. The scheme has generated returns of 50.5% in the last year.

Update: The AUM of the scheme stood at Rs 1.7 bn at the end of June 2022. The scheme has generated marginal returns over the last year.

#3 Nippon India Index Fund - Sensex Plan

The Nippon India Index Fund - Sensex Plan has an expense ratio of 0.15%.

The fund was launched in September 2010 and tracks the performance of S&P BSE Sensex. The AUM of the scheme stands at Rs 1.5 bn at the end of June 2021.

The scheme has given returns of 47.7% in one year, 14% in three years and 14.6% in five years.

Update: The fund currently has an expense ratio of 0.54%. Its AUM stood at Rs 2.9 bn at the end of June 2022.

#4 Axis Nifty 100 Index Fund

The Axis Nifty 100 Index Fund also has an expense ratio of 0.15%. This fund tracks the Nifty 100 Index.

The fund was launched in October 2019 and has an AUM of Rs 4.5 bn as of June 2021. It has offered returns of 50.1% in the last year.

Update: The fund's AUM stood at Rs 7.9 bn at the end of June 2022.

#5 IDFC Nifty Fund

IDFC Nifty Fund is one of the oldest schemes on this list. The scheme has an expense ratio of 0.16%.

The fund mirrors the performance of the Nifty 50. Since its launch in April 2010, the AUM of the fund has grown significantly.

The AUM of the scheme was Rs 3.3 bn at the end of June 2021. The scheme has generated returns of 50.8% in one year, 14.1% in three years, and 14.2% in five years.

Update: The fund currently has an expense ratio of 0.4%. Its AUM stood at Rs 4.2 bn at the end of June 2022.

Equitymaster on investing in index funds

Back in March 2022 when volatility was running wild, co-head of Research at Equitymaster did an editorial on how you can stay calm in the world of chaos by taking the index fund route.

Here's an excerpt of what he wrote:

  • Well, there is no need for you to do more or do less in the current market environment. You'd be much better off continuing with your monthly SIP in a low-cost index fund if you don't need the money for the next few years.

    Put differently, the 'do nothing' strategy may be the best strategy to follow in the current market.

    However, people won't be willing to listen to this piece of advice.

    Their objective of investing in stocks goes far beyond accumulating capital and growing it slowly the index fund way.

    If you can't put in the time and the effort and your horizon is long term, then the best option would be a regular monthly investment in the form of an index fund.

You can read the entire editorial here: How to be Mr Calm in a World of Chaos.

Will investing in index funds get cheaper?

The cost of investing in index funds is unlikely to decline further as such low costs are unviable.

Index funds need to charge at least 0.1 - 0.15% to cover their costs for managing the scheme, such as sales and marketing, administrative expenses, transaction costs, and investment management fees.

While index funds such as the Navi Nifty 50 Index Fund have reduced their TER to 0.06% to attract assets, few index schemes such as Tata MF, UTI MF and HDFC MF have increased the TER for their direct plans.

HDFC Index Fund- Nifty 50 Plan had a TER of 0.1% which later increased to 0.2% in its direct plan. Tata Index Fund-Nifty had a TER of 0.05% which was hiked to 0.19% at the end of May 2021.

Is cheaper always better?

Investing in index mutual funds and exchange traded funds (ETFs) can be an excellent low-cost strategy for a part of your investment portfolio.

However, like any other investment strategy, investing in index funds requires that you understand what you are investing in.

Not all index products are the same and investors need to look beyond the "index fund" label to ensure they are truly investing in a product that fits with their investing strategy.

Moreover, a fund with a lower expense ratio may not necessarily be the best one. One must also keep in mind the tracking error (deviation in returns from the benchmark), fund size, and track record of the scheme.

While a high tracking error can occur due to different reasons, it's mostly when a fund is not closely tracking the underlying index and when it is under redemption pressure.

Moreover, any significant inflow or outflow in a small fund can lead to a high tracking error.

One must also prefer schemes in existence for at least three years. This will allow you to check the performance and tracking error of the fund over different periods and allow you to make a well informed decision.

To know what's moving the Indian stock markets today, check out the most recent share market updates here.

Disclaimer: This article is for information purposes only. It is not a stock recommendation and should not be treated as such. Learn more about our recommendation services here...

Top 5 Index Funds with the Lowest Expense Ratios (2)

Ayesha Shetty is a financial writer with the StockSelect team at Equitymaster. An engineer by qualification, she uses her analytical skills to decode the latest developments in financial markets. This reflects in her well-researched and insightful articles. When she is not busy separating financial fact from fiction, she can be found reading about new trends in technology and international politics.

Equitymaster requests your view! Post a comment on "Top 5 Index Funds with the Lowest Expense Ratios". Click here!

2 Responses to "Top 5 Index Funds with the Lowest Expense Ratios"

Ganapathy Sastri

Jul 23, 2021

Generally we are TWENTY years behind US in financial products. ETFs started developing in US more than twenty years ago. Only India has started slowly moving away from the more expensive MFs (with a TER of over 1.5% - sometimes 2.2%) to ETFs.
Most ETFs are based on gold. Very few on stocks. There is a dearth of ETFs on sectors like banking, financial, technology, steel, pharma, infra, textiles, sugar, mid cap, small cap or combinations of various caps etc etc.
Worse still in India ETF is a great product that you can NEITHER BUY NOR SELL. Volumes are very low, spreads between bid and offer are high.
As of now, Index MFs ( with higher TER) seem a better option, since you can get in when you want and get out when you want.
Why let your hard earned money get hardened?

Like

M K SRIVASTAVA

Jul 18, 2021

Thank you, Ayeshaji. Just the info I was looking for for the last 2/3 weeks.

Like

Equitymaster requests your view! Post a comment on "Top 5 Index Funds with the Lowest Expense Ratios". Click here!

Top Articles

Latest Posts

Article information

Author: Pres. Lawanda Wiegand

Last Updated: 09/06/2022

Views: 6109

Rating: 4 / 5 (51 voted)

Reviews: 82% of readers found this page helpful

Author information

Name: Pres. Lawanda Wiegand

Birthday: 1993-01-10

Address: Suite 391 6963 Ullrich Shore, Bellefort, WI 01350-7893

Phone: +6806610432415

Job: Dynamic Manufacturing Assistant

Hobby: amateur radio, Taekwondo, Wood carving, Parkour, Skateboarding, Running, Rafting

Introduction: My name is Pres. Lawanda Wiegand, I am a inquisitive, helpful, glamorous, cheerful, open, clever, innocent person who loves writing and wants to share my knowledge and understanding with you.