How do I choose best mutual funds to invest for SIP?

Traditionally, Indians have preferred investments that offer a fixed return and safety of their capital. However, mutual funds have emerged as one of the popular investment avenues due to the potential capital appreciation over the long term that has the potential to exceed the returns from fixed income instruments. The Indian Mutual Fund industry has recorded Rs 31.42 lakh crore AUM, 9.79 crore folios, and 3.73 crore active SIP accounts as per AMFI data released on Mar 31, 2021. Investing in fixed deposits may not significantly grow investor’s income over the long term. For those looking to build wealth over the long term with market risk can consider investing in equity mutual funds.

Before setting out to choose the best mutual fund to invest in, Investors need to firstly determine their financial goals and their investment horizon and most importantly their risk-bearing capacity. Age, income, financial commitments all add up to your risk capacity. Based on these parameters, investors can then go on to shortlisting the best mutual funds to invest that meet their requirements.

Instead of focusing on the last one-year top performers, investors need to go a bit deeper to select the best mutual funds to invest in 2021. Last year’s best mutual funds may not continue their performance this year or the future. A good yardstick to measure the best mutual fund to invest is to evaluate their performance across market cycles. Assess the mutual fund performance across 1 year, 3 years and 5 year periods. Other criteria to assess a mutual fund performance can be:

What is the mutual fund expense ratio?
What is the portfolio churn rate?
What is the portfolio composition and their underlying concentration levels?
Qualitative Factors can include:

Investment processes and systems
Fund manager experience
Funds managed by the fund manager
As regards starting out an SIP investment. There is no one best mutual fund to invest which is suited for SIP mutual fund. An SIP can be started with any ticket size and does not burn a hole in one’s pocket. Anyone can start with as low as Rs. 500 per month. There are different types and varieties of mutual funds to choose from.

All mutual funds have the option of investing by lumpsum or by SIP mode. However, if you are ready to take market risk and looking for long term risk adjusted returns then one of the best mutual fund for SIP investment could be equity mutual fund which is a volatile asset class. SIPs average out the cost of investments over the long term. Equity mutual fund is generally considered as the best mutual fund to invest in for the long term. However, in case of returns, an SIP does not guarantee a better performance over lumpsum. This is because returns in equity mutual funds may not be linear. In short, if investors do not have a duration of 5-7 years, then they should not consider equity mutual funds.

Similarly, there is no one best mutual fund to invest in for lumpsum investment. However, lumpsum investments are by far suitable for investors who want to time the market.

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