December 21, 2023

ETF vs Mutual Fund

ETF vs Mutual Fund

The key difference between ETFs and mutual funds is that mutual funds pool money from investors to invest in securities while ETFs are traded like stocks and track a specific index or sector.

In this article, we will explore the similarities and differences between ETFs and mutual funds and help investors understand which type of investment vehicle may be best suited for their individual needs and goals.

This article covers: 

What Is Mutual Fund Investment With Example?

Mutual funds are a type of investment pool that use the combined capital of many people to buy stocks, bonds, and other securities. In a mutual fund, each shareholder owns a fraction of the overall portfolio, and the value of the fund is based on the market value of the assets in it. Professional fund managers oversee the investments of mutual funds on behalf of their shareholders.

Examples of Mutual Fund Investments in India:

  • Equity Funds: Equity mutual funds invest primarily in stocks of companies across different sectors and market capitalizations. They are ideal for investors seeking long-term capital appreciation.
  • Debt Funds: Debt mutual funds invest in fixed-income securities such as bonds, government securities, and money market instruments. They are suitable for investors looking for regular income with relatively lower risk.
  • Balanced Funds: Balanced mutual funds invest in a combination of equity and debt securities to provide investors with a mix of capital appreciation and regular income.
  • Index Funds: Index mutual funds track a specific stock market index such as the Nifty 50 or the Sensex, providing investors with exposure to the broader market.

What Are Exchange Traded Funds?

Exchange Traded Funds (ETFs) are a type of investment fund that are traded on stock exchanges, much like individual stocks. ETFs allow investors to gain exposure to a diversified portfolio of assets, including stocks, bonds, commodities, and currencies. ETFs are typically designed to track the performance of a specific market index or sector and provide investors with low-cost, tax-efficient access to a range of assets.

Examples of ETFs in India:

  • Equity ETFs: Equity ETFs invest in stocks of companies listed on stock exchanges, providing investors with exposure to a diversified portfolio of stocks. Examples include Nifty 50 ETFs, which track the performance of the Nifty 50 index.
  • Debt ETFs: Debt ETFs invest in fixed-income securities such as government bonds and corporate bonds, providing investors with exposure to the fixed-income market. Examples include the Bharat Bond ETF, which invests in bonds issued by central public sector enterprises.
  • Gold ETFs: Gold ETFs invest in physical gold, providing investors with exposure to the price of gold. Examples include the Nippon India ETF Gold BeES, which is India’s largest gold ETF.

Difference Between ETF And Mutual Fund

The primary distinction between ETFs and mutual funds lies in the fact that while mutual funds gather funds from investors to purchase securities, ETFs are bought and sold like stocks and follow a specific index or sector

Let’s have a look at some of the important differences between ETF and Mutual Fund:

CriteriaETFsMutual Funds
PerformanceETFs tend to outperform mutual funds due to their passive management style and lower expenses. However, it depends on the specific ETF and mutual fund.Mutual funds are managed actively, which can lead to higher returns, but also higher expenses. Overall, their performance is mixed compared to ETFs.
FeesETFs have lower expenses than mutual funds due to their passive management style and lower trading costs. They also don’t charge loads or redemption fees.Mutual funds have higher expenses due to their active management style and higher trading costs. They may also charge loads or redemption fees.
LiquidityETFs are highly liquid and can be bought and sold throughout the trading day on an exchange. Their prices may also be more transparent.Mutual funds are priced once a day after the market closes and can only be bought or sold at that price. Their prices may also be less transparent.
AdvantageETFs provide more flexibility and transparency in investing, as investors can trade them like stocks, short sell them, or use options. They also have lower expenses and tax efficiency.Mutual funds offer more diversification and active management, which may lead to higher returns. They may also offer more personalized investment options.
Tax EfficiencyETFs are more tax efficient than mutual funds, as they have fewer capital gains distributions due to their passive management style and in-kind redemption process.Mutual funds are less tax efficient due to their active management style and frequent capital gains distributions. They may also have redemption fees.
InvestingETFs are best suited for investors who want flexibility, low expenses, and tax efficiency. They can be bought and sold like stocks and are good for short-term trading or long-term investment.Mutual funds are best suited for investors who want diversification, active management, and personalized investment options. They are good for long-term investment but may not be as flexible as ETFs.

Do you want to expand your knowledge about mutual funds? We’ve got a list of must-read blogs that will help you do just that. Just click on the articles to find out more.

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ETF vs Mutual Fund- Quick Summary

  • ETFs are traded like stocks and track a specific index or sector, while mutual funds pool money from investors and are bought and sold at their NAV at the end of each trading day. 
  • Mutual funds pool the capital of many people to invest in stocks, bonds, and securities. Professional managers oversee investments. Examples include equity funds, debt funds, balanced funds, and index funds.
  • ETFs are investment funds traded on stock exchanges, providing investors with exposure to diversified portfolios of assets. Examples include equity, debt, and gold ETFs in India.
  • ETFs are traded like stocks, while mutual funds are redeemable through the fund company.
  • ETFs have lower expenses, are more transparent, and offer greater trading flexibility compared to mutual funds, but both offer diversification. 

ETF vs Mutual Fund- Frequently Asked Questions

1. What is the Difference Between an ETF and a Mutual Fund? 

The key difference between an ETF and a mutual fund is that an ETF does not have a lock-in period and can be sold at any time whereas mutual funds carry a certain lock-in period.  

2. Which is Better: an ETF or a Mutual Fund?

ETFs are better than mutual funds because of the lower expenses, intraday trading availability, and tax efficiency. 

3. Why Buy a Mutual Fund Instead of an ETF?

You should buy a mutual fund instead of an ETF because mutual funds provide the expertise of professional fund managers, and are more flexible in terms of investment amounts. 

4. Are ETFs Safer Than Mutual Funds?

Yes, ETFs are safer than mutual funds because they simply track the performance of the benchmark index and do not need active management like mutual funds.

Take your understanding of mutual funds to the next level! Explore our curated collection of engaging blogs that empower your investment decisions. Click now to embark on this enriching journey!

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