1. Professional Management — Investors may not have the time or the required knowledge and resources to conduct their research and purchase individual stocks or bonds. A mutual fund is managed by full-time, professional money managers who have the expertise, experience and resources to actively buy, sell, and monitor investments. A fund manager continuously monitors investments and rebalances the portfolio accordingly to meet the scheme’s objectives. Portfolio management by professional fund managers is one of the most important advantages of a mutual fund.
2. Risk Diversification — Buying shares in a mutual fund is an easy way to diversify your investments across many securities and asset categories such as equity, debt and gold, which helps in spreading the risk - so you won't have all your eggs in one basket. This proves to be beneficial when an underlying security of a given mutual fund scheme experiences market headwinds. With diversification, the risk associated with one asset class is countered by the others. Even if one investment in the portfolio decreases in value, other investments may not be impacted and may even increase in value. In other words, you don’t lose out on the entire value of your investment if a particular component of your portfolio goes through a turbulent period. Thus, risk diversification is one of the most prominent advantages of investing in mutual funds.
3. Affordability & Convenience (Invest Small Amounts) — For many investors, it could be more costly to directly purchase all of the individual securities held by a single mutual fund. By contrast, the minimum initial investments for most mutual funds are more affordable.
4. Liquidity — You can easily redeem (liquidate) units of open ended mutual fund schemes to meet your financial needs on any business day (when the stock markets and/or banks are open), so you have easy access to your money. Upon redemption, the redemption amount is credited in your bank account within one day to 3-4 days, depending upon the type of scheme e.g., in respect of Liquid Funds and Overnight Funds, the redemption amount is paid out the next business day.
However, please note that units of close-ended mutual fund schemes can be redeemed only on maturity. Likewise, units of ELSS have a 3-year lock-in period and can be liquidated only thereafter.
5. Low Cost — An important advantage of mutual funds is their low cost. Due to huge economies of scale, mutual funds schemes have a low expense ratio. Expense ratio represents the annual fund operating expenses of a scheme, expressed as a percentage of the fund’s daily net assets. Operating expenses of a scheme are administration, management, advertising related expenses, etc. The limits of expense ratio for various types of schemes has been specified under Regulation 52 of SEBI Mutual Fund Regulations, 1996.
6. Well-Regulated — Mutual Funds are regulated by the capital markets regulator, Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) under SEBI (Mutual Funds) Regulations, 1996. SEBI has laid down stringent rules and regulations keeping investor protection, transparency with appropriate risk mitigation framework and fair valuation principles.
7. Tax Benefits —Investment in ELSS upto ₹1,50,000 qualifies for tax benefit under section 80C of the Income Tax Act, 1961. Mutual Fund investments when held for a longer term are tax efficient.