Direct Plan of Mutual Funds – Everything you wanted to learn about it !

A lot of buzz is going around “Direct Plan” when it comes to Mutual funds. A lot of investors still don’t understand the full impact of Direct Option and if they should invest in the same old way or with this new option. In this article – we are going to unearth all the aspects of Direct and Normal Option of investing in mutual funds.

Direct Plan in Mutual Funds

Direct Plan in Mutual Funds – What does it mean ?

SEBI few months back announced that all the AMC’s should come out with two options for each and every mutual funds scheme they have, One will be normal one (which you have been looking till date) , And Then the other option will be DIRECT PLAN, which will have a lower expense ratio compared to the Normal Option . This is because when you invest in mutual funds direct plan, there is no intermediary involved in between and a lot of costs which are associated goes away . That’s the reason direct plan will have less expense ration. So If I have to explain in one line. Direct option of mutual funds will have no agent in between , you will be directly investing with AMC . However with the NORMAL Option, you will be investing through an agent which can be any individual or a online broker.

A mutual fund scheme will have to affix “-DIRECT” word in their scheme name. So for example now there following options for investments if you want to invest in HDFC Top 200 mutual funds.

  • HDFC top 200 Growth Option
  • HDFC Top 200 Growth Option – DIRECT
  • HDFC top 200 Dividend Option
  • HDFC Top 200 Dividend Option – DIRECT

Bad News for Agents and Distributors because of less commissions

The whole distributor community (means AGENTS), is very disturbed because of this new development, because a lot of agents as well as financial planners rely on the trail commissions from their existing set of clients portfolio and now if their existing clients shift to the Direct Plans, its going to have a direct impact on their future commissions, because in Direct Plans there is no intermediary and there is no commission payout to anyone, hence lowering the expense ratio.

However its a biggest worry for those agents who are not adding any value through their advice and have HNI/big clients. Imagine an HNI investor, who has Rs 2-3 crore invested in Equity Mutual Funds, then Agent must be getting close to Rs 1 lac as trail commission each year (most of the equity funds have trail commission of around 0.5%) , which will just vanish the moment the HNI client shifts which portfolio to Direct option .

And guess what already Direct Plans are HIT among investors and a lot of investors and big corporate investors (who invest in DEBT mutual funds) have seems to have shifted to mutual funds direct plans. This is proved by the fact that in the first month of Jan – 2013 alone, 56% of the total incremental flow of 60,732 crores in mutual funds was through direct option, which is around Rs 33,830 crore, which means that out of total Rs 100 , which was invested in mutual funds, Rs 56 came in through Direct Plan and only Rs 44 came in through Standard plan, but the majority of that would be in Debt fund, but anyways – the point if that Direct Plans are already popular and investors have started taking the advantage.

Is Direct Option Superior in Terms of Returns ?

Now lets look at the returns from Direct Plans vs Standard Plans and lets see some aspects related to it.

Expense Ratio of Direct Plans vs Standard Plans

Expense ratio of a mutual fund has a deep impact on the final returns over long term. A small decrease in expense ratio can increase your long term returns by a very good margin, provided every thing else is same. Direct option of mutual funds are going to have a good enough difference when it comes to expense ratio. If you talk about equity funds, the direct plans will have anywhere from 0.40% to 0.75% less expense ratio compared to a standard plan . For example – If I have talk about HDFC Top 200 mutual fund , the standard plan has an expense ratio of 1.78% per year . Where as the Direct Plan expense ratio is only 1.19% , which is a 0.59% difference and whopping 33.15% less than standard plan , Means that you will save 33% costs when you migrate to Direct Plan of HDFC Top 200 as an example . Note that all the numbers I just quoted are as of 28th Mar 2013, and change in future. I checked few equity funds from HDFC Mutual funds and DSP Black Rock and found that that the ‘Direct’ option have lesser Expense ratio compared to their Standard Plans . Here is a snapshot for 5 funds.


Difference between Expense Ratio

expense ratio difference between standard and direct mutual fund

Difference in NAV ?

The Direct Plans took effect from Jan 1,2013 . Means that on Jan 1,2013 the NAV must be same for Direct and Standard Plan and from there, the NAV must be different for both plans. And As Direct Plan expense ratio is going to be lower, the NAV for direct plan should also be lower and the gap should widen too. To just make sure that its happening in reality. I picked up the same HDFC Top 200 and listed down the NAV for both standard as well as Direct Plan from Jan 1,2013 to Mar 26th 2013 and checked out the difference between them and I was correct . The NAV gap was growing and Nav in direct option was 0.13% higher than the standard plan NAV , thats just 3 months of difference and if you extrapolate in future, the difference might be as good as 0.5%-1.00% difference in a year. Thats a big enough amount, 0.5% on Rs 10 lacs portfolio means Rs 5,000 . Isn’t that a good ! . And if you look into very long term in your financial life , the difference will be very high, which we will see now

NAV difference between Direct Plan in mutual funds vs Standard plans

Impact on Wealth ?

Considering the same example of HDFC Top 200 and their expenses ratio of 1.72% (standard plan) and 1.29% (Direct Plan) , What happens to your wealth after 10,20,30 yrs if you consider these two options ? Will the corpus you will accumulate at the end will be huge ? Even if we assume a conservative returns of 10% on equity in long term, the difference in corpus at the end is huge because of sizable difference in the expense ratio. Below I have provided the corpus of two options and the difference between them over 10 yrs, 20 yrs and 30 yrs.

Direct Plan Mutual Funds Corpus Impact

Note that these numbers and difference might look big to you, but you will not realize the difference to be very big in a short term like few months of every 2-3 yrs. Also you might argue that one might not invest for such a long term, but we are only highlighting the impact of such costs and its impact in long run.

So, Now I hope you must be clear about the Impact of mutual funds direct plan on your wealth.

Who should invest in Direct Options

Now coming to the important question – Who should Invest in Direct option of mutual funds ? A lot of people might feel that direct plan is for each and every investor , but thats not right way of looking at it . Only those investors should go with the direct plan of mutual funds who are

  • Capable of choosing right mutual funds for themselves
  • Who are ready to review their portfolios all by themselves without anyone help
  • Those who can point to bad performing mutual funds and remove from their portfolio
  • Who are ready to invest with each AMC seperately

I guess a lot of people will fall into this category and would be ready to go the direct route for the kind of benefit they get out of it. However lets see who should not choose Direct Plan

Who should not Choose Direct Plan?

You must be wondering who should not invest in direct plan ? A lot of investors have very very good advisers , who have good capability to advice and record keeping abilities. The value of their timely advice is so much that it over weights the advantage of direct plan. So if you feel that you have an adviser who helps you pick good funds and helps you in removing bad funds over time and because of him you are able to get extra 2-3% returns on your portfolio, its worth paying commissions he deserves . Also It might happen that you are a busy person who wants a third party to handle your portfolio and inform you on time to time basis about your portfolio and whats going on where , you might want to consider not moving to direct plan.

So at the end , its about the question – “Is there any value in sticking with your adviser , platform or financial planner?” and if its adding enough value to your financial life , and do they deserve the commissions they get out of your portfolio with them. Its a question you need to ask yourself . Do not rush to convert your mutual funds into Direct plan .. Take some time to think over it and look at the long term effects of it.

How to invest in Direct Plan of mutual funds ?

The only thing you need to do is when you fill up the mutual funds investment form, there is an option called as “Direct Plan” there, all you need to do is put a tick mark there, If its ticked marked, then your investments will be into the DIRECT plan . Even if the agent/distributor puts his ARN code (the unique code which identifies a mutual fund agent) , he will not get any commissions from your investments. Also in some of the forms , that separate tick-mark option might not be available, in which case you have to mention the word “DIRECT” in the ARN column . Note that if you forget to mention that you want it to be under DIRECT plan and also the agent code is missing, by default the investment is going to be under mutual funds direct plan .

You can fill up this form directly with the AMC by going to their Office , or you can also use CAMS/Karvy for making investments , who are back-office partners for a lot of AMC’s . If you invest through CAMS/Karvy , still the investments will be into Direct plan, just make sure you do not leave the DIRECT unticked.

How to Change your Existing Mutual funds to Direct option?

Your existing investments in mutual funds will NOT switch to direct plans automatically, no matter you did it with an agent or directly with AMC (Read which AMC is better then other) . It will has the same expense ratio as of old funds.

To convert your existing holding from a standard to a direct plan, you need to submit a switch request. All you need to do is contact your AMC and ask for Switch reuest form . Which is a written request telling them that you want your existing mutual funds to be now converted into DIRECT plan . Once they get this request , they will process it , they will intimate you once its done . Your agent will not like you for this :) .

Will my existing SIP’s be considered under Direct plan by Default? ?

All the SIP’s which were made through an agent/distributor will still be under the standard plan , you will have to manually request the switch to Direct Plan . But if you had any SIP which was done directly with AMC (without involving Agent Code) , in that case your SIP’s  done after Jan 1, 2013 will automatically be considered under DIRECT plan , but all the old SIP’s which were done before Jan 1,2013 will still be there under Standard Plan and the higher expense ratio will apply there.

Can you convert your existing Tax Saving Mutual Funds (ELSS) under Direct Plan ?

If your tax saving mutual funds are still in lock in period , then you CANNOT convert them right now, only when the lock in period is over, you will be able to convert them into Direct Plan.

Will there be Exit Load applied when I move to Direct plan ?

Yes and NO !

If your existing mutual funds investments is through an agent/distributor , then there will be exit load at the time of switching them into a Direct version of mutual funds, but if your existing investments are through AMC directly, then there will not be any Exit Load while switching to Direct plan.

Important Points

  • There is no DIRECT option in ETF’s and closed ended mutual funds
  • There will be no difference between the portfolio’s of Direct Plan and Standard Plan . Every thing will be same except that the Direct plan will have a lower expense ration. Thats all !

Finally Are you going to invest into the Direct Plan of Mutual funds or going to continue with your old investments through an agent or distributor ? Please share your thoughts and inputs about it. What do you think about the Direct Plan of Mutual funds ?

233 CommentsAdd Comment

  1. hkb

    I am having 2 sips icici focused bluechip (2*5000 rs ). i have started these sips in jan 13 trough icici bank branch office. whether my mutual fund will be converted to direct plan or not.

    • Nishant Sahay

      As mentioned in the article, the switch will not be automatic. Since you went with ICICI, it is without doubt that they would have not marked your investment as “Direct Plan”. Please check your account statement and verify if the investment is in the Direct mode or not.


    Hi Manish,

    Thanks for the timely article regarding Direct Plan.

    Last month when I received the MF statement I saw the word Direct so wasn’t sure what it meant and understood going through blogs.

    All my SIP are direct plans HDFC Top200, QLTE, HDFC Midcap, RRSF. I still have one question though is it necessary or it is better to redeem the funds invested under standard plan before Jan’13? If any further increase in expense ratio will have any effect of funds invested in standard plan before Jan’13?. Unless we keep investing in standard plan the power compounding effect will be lost? Looks like all Direct plan is a fresh start i.e., only 3months old so we are losing on compounding effect.

    Please share your views.

    Bharat A

  3. Hi Manish,

    Thanks for the article, very informative!

    I have following questions;
    – To switch the existing SIPs from standard to Direct plan, do we have to stop the SIPs, request for transfer, & then re-start SIP or it can be done on active SIPs??

    – Does this also applicable to Debt funds(long term)??

    • You dont have to stop the SIP , you just have to put a switch request , it will just be converted to DIRECT option , thats all .. yes it applies to every mutual funds except ETF’s and closed ended mutual funds .

  4. Sravan

    Dear Manish:

    Nice write-up of the article, i found this very information and in a very simple language. Thanks for all your efforts. Please guide me in my investment as per your personal opinion.

    I had invested around Rs.50,000 in different equity mutual funds (either dividend reinvest or growth options) under earlier direct option (invested 3years back) without going through any broker.

    I have the strong intention to keep the said amount for a period of 15years. So, is there any benefit for me if i switch to latest DIRECT Option? Is that benefit is minor or major impact keeping in view my 50k investment. If i switch now, is there any tax deductions impact on me? All funds were invested at a time 3years back and no SIPs and no further amount added till date. Please advise. Thanks in advance.

    • Yes, the impact will be good enough 10% difference in corpus (assuming some assumptions) , so I think its totally makes sense to make it direct , anyways all it takes is just a SWTICH request :) , there is no tax implication for you now !

  5. I have few more comments/questions, and I need your thoughts on these please;

    – If you consider the agent/distributor services currently; who’re providing good online support(buying/redeeming/additional purchase), with few clicks, with full portfolio details and capital gain statements etc. etc. Does this really make sense to switch to AMCs directly, and involve in lots of paper work, for cases like, redemption, change of address/bank.
    – Does this not become like our Provident Fund(EPF)?, I’m sure most of us have very little knowledge of their own Provident Fund & Pension part(EPS), i.e how much invested(or contributed rather) and how much is the gain until now??, Most of us are going through either RTI or online(which is still not fully functional) to find out did all my contribution is in one single place? or still to move? etc. etc.

    Does the AMCs provide( or planning to provide) any such online tracking of Folio’s and provide any little supports/features provided by distributors/agents??

    • True … Online websites support and features are worth taking ,but finally its investor only who has to decide for himself , you cant always say to an investor that he should stay with online website , its his personal decision and viewpoint . I myself agree with you but :)

      I am not sure if AMC’s provide one single place where all your investments can be seen tracked !

  6. Hem

    Good article. If you had explained about the long term gain and short term gain taxes when switching from regular to direct would have been more helpful.

  7. Who should not Choose Direct Plan?

    Not so simple as you suggest.

    If an agent (for want of a better word) gives me MF advice and commissions are his only remuneration then I wouldn’t mind staying with him.

    If a financial planner (at least the ones with relevant qualification) who get commissions in addition to a planning fee for investment advisory asks a clients to ‘stay’ with him and not invest in direct plans as was recently suggested in a networkfp article, it is downright conflict of interest and unethical in my view.

    As long fee-based planners (commissions + advisory fee) exist such mis-selling will not go away. I find it hilarious when such people talk about “importance of promoting financial literacy”!

    • Yes Pattu , That makes sense .. If you are paying a financial planner a fee per year and in that mutual funds suggestions is already agreed upon from both parties, the planner should not be charging the commissions , you can go the direct way. As I said in the article, its fairly simple , you know what is direct plan and its advantages and disadvantages, if you are ready to take it, better go ahead ! :)

      • Suhas Patil

        Very good article Manish…. you have touched the very sensitive issue among the FP and so called Advisor come agents.
        I guess the financial planner can assist the investor by guiding him to fill the forms (AMC have created bible’s) and ECS mandate and giving info where and how to submit it or take it on there end as part of the service. but strictly do it as “DIRECT” MF on behalf of investor so investor will not feel that the planner has any hidden agenda in suggesting the funds.
        I had read about it but after seen your analysis I am thinking to contact my ARN’s and ask what services (other then that provided by AMCs online) they will provide additionally yearly for these fees :)

      • sudhir

        thanks for this question is-in my portfolio 4 growth funds monthly sip thr. icici bank saving ac.,is it possible to switch direct growth option ? if i take direct option my sip continue thr. icici bank or not.this direct option is done by amc or cams which is better.

  8. KUNAL

    Dear Manish,

    Thanks for the article as I had just started investing in Mutualfund – HDFC TOP 200.


  9. Jeyaram G

    Hi Manish:

    Good article. You have taken lot of pains to work out impact of Direct plans over years.

    I need a clarification –

    I have been investing thru relevant AMCs website (thru online ) for the past 2 years. Do all my investments made thru AMC website (not marking a broker name/ number etc) qualify under Direct plan ? Or Do the ones made after Jan 1, 2013 only qualify?
    b. If my earlier investments (prior to Jan 01st) is not classified as Direct plans , how do I change all my earlier investments into direct plans (thru respective online ) without incurring any charges / losses
    c. Many of those investments are under Dividend REinvestement option. I am also thinking some of those I will move to Growth . I would like to make both the movements in one go – switch over to direct plan as well as switch over to growth.

    Can you pl elaborate on these ? thanks in advance

    Jeyaram G

  10. Arun Jayant

    Regarding Exit Load:

    If your last investment (SIP or lump-sum) in Regular is more than a year old (1.5 years in case of Reliance MFs), if you switch from Regular to Direct, no Exit Load would be applied right? The only charge that comes into picture is STT – every time you redeem, you’ll have to pay STT.
    So you wait for a year (1.5 in case of Reliance MFs), and either:
    a. Redeem the Regular plan with lesser NAV and pay STT once, or
    b. Convert the Regular plan to Direct and incur STT, and also incur STT again while redeeming the newly converted Direct plan

    Correct? Am I missing something?

  11. Manoj Belgaonkar

    Nice article.

    Let us consider a scenario where in one wants to go only with few leading fund houses such as HDFC, DSP, Franklin, Reliance, UTI, etc. and for 2-3 of the family members, then we are looking at at least 12 – 15 Direct Plan accounts with MF houses. And I believe average MF portfolio size will be 3 – 5 lakh rupees per member. Now consider the administartion hassles one will go thru every time you pay-in or pay-out. What is the way to optimise the administartion work in such case?

  12. Rishi Bhatia

    Thanks for sharing this great article. This helps.
    What is the easiest way to invest in these schemes? Is there a way we can invest online in these schemes (across MF houses).

    • Syamantak

      T he only method is to get your first folio created with the fund houses offline, and then generate your online access for each of the fund houses. subsequent actions (purchase / redeem) wont require you to go out of your house, if you got a decent internet plan :-)

      to save yourself from going to 5 diff AMC houses, get all your forms to CAMS collection center at one shot. Remember CAMS are just ‘collection’ points and may not provide you forms, so get your forms downloaded->printed->filled-> signed before you reach CAMS

  13. Hi Manish,

    Another notable point which might be the answer to Mr. Sravan & Hem’s query asked above is.

    “Any conversion from regular plan to direct plan, it will entail tax consequences. As per the provisions of IT Act, tax is payable on profit made on transfer of any capital asset depending on cost and holding period of LTCG or STCG form Debt or Equity funds. Thus, any exchange is also treated as transfer so the exchange of regular plan with any direct plan may incur tax liabilities”

  14. deepak jain

    Hi Manish,

    Thanx 4 dis article,My almost all SIP’S are invested through FUNDS INDIA.In Funds India what type of method apply is it Invested through “Direct Plan” or not??????

    • Sricharan

      If you are investing through fundsindia, then you are investing through advisor only and your SIPs will be investing in the regular plans only. You have to invest directly through the AMC’s websites or AMC offices or CAMS/Karvy in order to invest in the direct plans.

    • IMO, Fundsindia is another distributor and they do not allow you any ‘Direct’ plans. You can try this yourself, by trying to buy any ‘Direct’ plans. ‘Direct’ plans need to be bought with Fund house only.
      In my experience, I would suggest if you’re frequently planning to park some money with debt funds(short/long) for shorter time(1-2years), also have got long term portfolio, stay with distributor who provides who provides good access to these funds & ease you in saving some paper work & Time. At times it eats up your lots of time in tracking your funds & calculating Capital gains. I have gone through all these pains and later moved to

      I’m okay to sacrifice some returns for the sake of quick & efficient service!

        • Syamantak

          I cant agree! what additional ease or service that someone may get through the distributors?
          Now a days, almost all AMCs have their own website for making investments (albeit after you have the first ‘folio’ generated in offline method). They give all options that your distributor may get you (purchase/switch/redeem/SIP/SWP). If you tell me that first time offline paperwork is cumbersome, so does the filling up of forms/signing contracts for your distributor.
          In my opinion irrespective of type of investor one should always go for Direct plan. Why do you want to pay someone for doing same thing that the AMC directly does for you. It doesn’t matter if you have a financial planner or you are making your own choice on investments. Your Fin Planner would actually lay off the ‘plan’ and you yourself do the execution. Now that you already paid some good amount of money for the right plan, why not save something on the otherside by investing into direct plans of those MFs outlined in your plan :-)

          The only exception I’d say is to leave it to the distributor if you hire a PMS (Portfolio Management Services), where you pay someone to ‘grow’ your portfolio and the charges are generally a share of the profit. In this case PMS does the actual investment work on your behalf and since you are paying them to do your work, you would love to spend your time in a multiplex than spending 3 hours at AMC/CAMS center.

          Manish, I’d love to know your comments. I need to change my perception towards this, if I’m wrong. :)

          • I was talking about ONLINE portals which give you a lot of benefits on a click like FundsIndia and Fundssupermart. If you have an account with then there are many things you will not get from individual AMC’s like various reports , various kind of alerts , flexible SIP’s , SIP in ETF’s , and more than that its a one place solution , if you want to buy/sell for any AMC , you can do that

            I am not saying that every investor has to do that, but see for youself, what matters more for you , the convinience and the descipline which these portals can help you with or the cost which you will save .

            I was not talking about the individual agents here :) . I agree its not worth going with them , UNLESS they are amazing advisors who by their advice are helping you with extra returns .


  15. Ramamurthy

    After introduction of Direct Plan a first time investor not having on line banking facility has to get the Application Form from the Fund House.The fund House sends you about 35 to 40 pages of info like key information etc.In these pages the Application form normally running about 2 pages are somewhere hidden.
    My question is why get 40 pages which is irrelevent to you?Why cant the Fund house send you only the Application part?If that is a statutary requirement it has to be amended.It will curtail enormous wastage of paper and expense.

    • Ashish

      Hi Srikanth,

      Is there anything in AMC rules which says trail commission cannot shared with investor? Hypothetically speaking, could you reduce the 0.5% gap in expense ratio by ploughing back part of your trail commission to investor (say a loyalty bonus or whatever marketing name you can give)? I am asking this because IF (I am assuming since I don’t know if it really is) this thing is threat to your business (as it is for every broker) then you could sweeten the deal and reduce impetus for investor to leave?

      – Guy with 3 fundsIndia account among brothers/wife

      • Ashish,

        Yes, there are very specific stipulations by SEBI against doing any kind of such sharing with investors. It is further codified in AMFI’s code of conduct for MF advisors as well.

        (Thanks for the three accounts! :-) )



    • Ashish

      Thanks Manish for very useful info. Clearly, this was not well publicized since neither the broker nor fund house had any interest in it. What I want to understand is this:

      1. Can I invest in direct plan through AMC’s website too? I know many AMC allow online investing, once you create login/generate pin/send KYC. Or does this have to be through paper mode as you mentioned by checking DIRECT option in form?

      2. My understanding is that expense ratio is annual amount levied on to assets under management. If this is correct, then say I’ve 1 lakh in mutual funds so far then 0.5% expense ratio saving is about 500/- per year additional returns/saving. I want to understand this so that I can decided whether it’s worth dealing with so many AMCs directly for 500/- an year or no.

  16. brajesh

    Hi manish,
    thanks for your informative articles.

    i had bought mutual funds through ICICI direct online after Jan 13. mutual fund sold by them will be direct or Normal plan?
    i have also checked no plan is showing direct plan, even HDFC top 200. is that means Icici direct is not providing direct plan to any mutual fund?

    thanks in advance

  17. jeetuojha

    Hi manish

    Awesome post .. thanks for lifting me one more step ahead in financial stuff :)

    Jeetu ojha

  18. bal sachin gupta

    Hi Manish ,
    Nice Article , but one more imp. issue as discussed above by Pattu , definitely if a financial planner is charging yearly for plan design and review he/she must not involve in commission on mf schemes , but right now AMFI has not allowed the data to be provided to Adviser for DIRECT plan . So for tracking and review it is still a cumbersome issue if MF Protfolio is not available to the planner
    Moreover, in my view if client could handle it and inform his/her planner time to time ,then is ok or else is a big problem . secondly if a planner is executing the standard plan with client concern, the way he/she is handling it he/she also justifies some revenue.

  19. Krishna


    Do we have to apply only through Direct AMC to avail Direct Option?. I am investing through Sharekhan, I do not see the Direct option available.


  20. MarU

    Hi Manish,

    First of all congratulations such a fabulous initiative & also on the Facebook following :)…
    Now i have a few ongoing SIPs started around October 2011 through a Distributor, then in the month of October 2012 I changed them all to Direct Mode.
    What i would like to know is, if i switch these existing investments to its corresponding Direct alternatives will there be any Switching Charges on it?



    • There is no switching charges , but there will be exit loads , because switching is nothing but selling and then buying direct, just that it will all happen in background . But thats ok .. its a small price to pay , rather than inaction !

  21. Ram

    Unfortunately, I like the FundsIndia portal which gives me the convenience of investing sitting in front of the computer. So I guess I have to stick with the non-Direct plan for now

  22. Ashish

    Thanks Manish for very useful info. Clearly, this was not well publicized since neither the broker nor fund house had any interest in it. What I want to understand is this:

    1. Can I invest in direct plan through AMC’s website too? I know many AMC allow online investing, once you create login/generate pin/send KYC. Or does this have to be through paper mode as you mentioned by checking DIRECT option in form?

    2. My understanding is that expense ratio is annual amount levied on to assets under management. If this is correct, then say I’ve 1 lakh in mutual funds so far then 0.5% expense ratio saving is about 500/- per year additional returns/saving. I want to understand this so that I can decided whether it’s worth dealing with so many AMCs directly for 500/- an year or no.

    • 1. I am not 100% clear on that, but for the first time, it has to be Manual , then after that you can do it online , once you have the login password for their portal !

      2. Yes , its like that only . but see long term , when your portfolio is worth Rs 20 lacs, then that same 0.5% saving will be 10,000 , Now its you who have to decide what you want to do !

  23. Saurabh

    Wonder full article, thank you for such an informative article.

    I had an SIP with SBI-MF, after reading this article I inquired about exit load on customer service no. They told me i can stop my existing SIP (not redeem or sell the units) & start new Direct SIP with SBI-MF in this case i dn’t have to pay exit load.

    Keep the good work of educating the investors :)

  24. Dhawal Sharma

    This expense ratio in Monetary terms is looking significant AT PRESENTS only because there are very-very few people who are investing through “direct mode” in EQUITY FUNDS..Slowly, if more and more people start investing in DIRECT mode; AMCs have to open more branches to provide service – hire more people to run those branches – and incur different overheads (electricity/software/paper) which will increase the AMC’s expenses significantly. All these things cannot be done in thin air as is presumed. Expenses will be there, cost pressure will be there; whatever be the channel – Direct or indirect..

    Right now, AMCs are not the ones who are catering to the client directly per se..Its the distributors who are doing all the running; be it for redumption/SIP stop/additional purchase etc. and hence the cost is borne by the distributor only, and not the AMC. Once when the entire cost of operations, from begaining to end, has to be carried out by the AMC – there cost will increase, and so will the expense ratio..will then be everybody switching over to some new channel??

    Ps: My personal experience as a distributor says that nothing drastic will change..Because the average age of a SIP across industry is 1 year 8 months..I have yet to see a person in real life whose SIP is running for last 6 to 8 years..So all those shouting/vouching for DIRECT plan will no where to be seen after an year or two..And serious investors – the ones who have been invested for last 6 years+ and have seen real value in their wealth through distributor did’nt mind spending 0.02% extra..

    • Thanks for your points Dhawal . A lot different things can happen in future , but at this moment, what is the best choice for customers ?

      Also this option is better for those who are long term investors , not for some people who will do SIP for few months or 2-3 yrs .

  25. sanghmitra

    Hi Manish,

    I have a confusion regarding SIP – Direct Plan which we took last year from I Pru and Sundaram. The account statement from CAMS show two different plan type under same folio as for eg.

    ICICI Prudential Focused Bluechip Equity Fund – Direct Plan – Growth 242.475
    ICICI Prudential Focused Bluechip Equity Fund – Regular Plan – Growth 344.817

    We have filled one application form and chosen one direct plan only and no ARN number.
    Still its showing Direct and Regular separately. Every month only once the SIP is deducted from account.


    • yes , if you read the article , I explained that clearly that all the SIP’s which are going after Jan 1 , 2013 will be in DIRECT PLAN if you did go through AMC directly, but all the past SIP will still be into the regular plan , so you will have to make a switch request

      • sanghmitra

        so it means that SIP’s total amount before Jan will be kept separately as lump-sum mutual fund? But if before and after Jan 2013 plans were taken directly through AMC, will the units still differ?
        What will be the impact on redemption amount if we don’t switch the previous SIPs?

        • sanghmitra

          and it seems like 4 variants of a SIP plan could be seen in portfolio:
          1) Before Jan 2013 taken directly from AMC
          2) Before Jan 2013 taken from Broker like FundsIndia, iDirect
          3) After Jan 2013 taken directly from AMC
          4) After Jan 2013 taken from Broker like FundsIndia, iDirect

          Will the expense ratio of (1) be similar to (2) or (3) now?

  26. Ashish L

    Hi Manish,

    Direct plan obviously. Thanks for the explanation, for some reason i was not aware of this.

    I am not sure if this the the right place for you to give me your advice. I plan to start a SIP for my 4 month old daughter from April 2013 and the plan is to continue for 10-15years. The funds that i have shortlisted are SBI emerging companies fund and ICICI focused bluechip fund. AMount of 1000/- per month is my foresight.

    Do you advice to invest in the above mentioned funds?

    Thank You.

  27. Paresh

    Hi Manish,

    I am doing monthly investment of Rs 5,500 in following mutual funds through SIP:
    1. Reliance Equity Opportunity (G)
    2. IDFC Premier Equity (G)
    3. DSP Black Rock Top 100 (G)
    4. HDFC Top 200 (G)

    I found that from January 2013 all SIPs are automatically converted into Direct Plan. May be because of I started above SIPs without any broker.

    My question is, should I switch existing fund amount from Regular Plan to Direct Plan. For that I need to pay 0.25% Security Transaction Tax (STT). I will switch only those units which are completed 1 year to avoid 1% Exit Load.

    My each fund value is around Rs. 2,50,000 (means total Rs. 10,00,000) so I need pay around Rs. 2,500 as STT. Is it worth to switch or keep money in regular fund?

    If possible please review my fund selection.


      • Paresh

        Hi Manish,

        Thanks for reply. I want to inform you that all my SIPs are automatically converted into Direct plan since 1st Jan 2013. But amount invested before 1st Jan 2013 is still in Regular Plan.

        For example, I have been doing investment in HDFC Top 200 since 1 Apr 2010. So all units till 1st Jan 2013 are still in HDFC Top 200 Regular plan and amount invested 1st Jan 2013 is in Direct Plan.

        Overall in my monthly mutual fund statements I can see two investments Regular (old investment) and Direct (new investment).

        Now my question is, should I switch old investment from Regular Plan to Direct Plan or not? For this switch I need to pay 0.25% STT. May be for long term it would be good to switch. Please suggest.

        Hope you got my question.


  28. vishnu cs

    I am a listener of your blogs in internet space…thank u for educating me and lot others…. :)
    I am very new to the world of mutual funds….I am planning to start a SIP of around 2000-3000 per month in two or three different ongoing well performing schemes in long term. I am not looking for liquidity so I prefer growth option…Kindly bear my ignorance….
    My confusion is that:
    1. If I go for a direct option with AMC ,say for an SIP of Rs.1000/- per month, what would be the difference in brokerage comparing with SIP doing through agents(ShareKhan)….what will be the approx amount I will be saving in a yaer(afetr 12 payments of Rs.1000/month).
    2. After searching a lot, the MF in pharma and FMCG sectors are doing well than per my concept these two sectors are insulated from any kind of economic down fall to a great extend….so can u advise me pls whether selecting these sector oriented funds would be wise or not…

    Sorry for taking your time….

  29. Pranab

    Are investing in mutual funds through Fundsindia, is like direct investing ? because they are not taking any charges, please help.

      • Pranab

        if they are(Fundsindia) not taking any charges from investor, that means i’ll get the same benefit as like direct investment.

        • No it does not mean that . The fund you will be investing in still a regular plan with higher expense ration . Read the article again , I think you still do not understand what DIRECT OPTION of mutual fund is all about

  30. Ninad

    I think we should wait till 1st June 2013 for switching from Regular Plans to Direct Plans. From 1st June, STT will be only 0.001% for equity mutual funds as per 2013 Budget.

  31. Srinath

    hi Manish,

    In one of your earlier article Understanding Different commissions on Mutual funds, there is a note that says & I quote “The trail commission is deducted out of NAV anyways , whether you invest directly or through some broker . If you invest directly the trail commission is pocketed by AMC itself”

    Given this what is your take on investment through, who claim that they are only paid the trail fees and no other charges. Would investment through them be considered investing under ‘direct’ plan? Kindly advise

    • Yes, thats true .. Actually its the expense ratio which is deducted from NAV .. And Trail commission is part of that . But with direct option , now the expense ratio will not have the commission part.

      FundsIndia or any other online broker will get their commissions , its not the DIRECT from them

  32. Namit

    Dear Manish,

    Sorry if this is not the right forum but would like to check the same with You.

    I have a investment time frame of 3 years post which I will need ALL my investments for my future plan (Could be a down payment for the house).
    What should be my investment strategy for these 3 years starting now?
    Since my risk appetite is Low or you can say next to Nil, I’m right now inclined towards investing everything in FD’s or RD’s which will mature at the end of 3 years.

    However am also thinking of allocating 25% of my investments or savings in Mutual funds like PPFAS, SBI Emerging business fund or HDFC Top 200. But am concerned about them only due to the time fram I have.

    Could you suggest me what should I do, stay away from Market since risk is low and invest in FD’s RD’s or even GOI Bonds
    OR can direct 25% of my money to Mutual funds


  33. R S

    Small point regarding ICICI Direct being broker. They also charge for lumpsum or SIP investment. If I am paying them for filling forms & all and they are just providing platform, why they should get the train comm. Thats daylight robbery.

  34. Niranjan

    Hi Manish,

    I have invested in ICICI pru Discovery fund by SIP through an agent. I can track my investments online in this fund. Now the SIP period is finished & I want to start SIP in ICICI tax saver plan-Direct. My confusion is
    Can I invest online in ICICI tax saver plan-Direct under the same folio of Discovery fund without the agent code (ARN)?


  35. Karthikeyan

    Hi Manish,

    I have been investing in mutual funds for the last 5 years, never done through a distributor / broker. I actually downloaded SIP application forms from the AMC website, filled it up, sent it through courier to AMC. I just happened to stumble upon your article and I’m blown away. How I never came across this information before is a mystery to me. Secondly, since I’ve always been a DIRECT investor, why shouldn’t the switch be done automatically?

    I have a specific question regarding the switch. Lets say I have 2000 units in HDFC Top 200 Std Plan. I place a switch request from Std to Direct. Since the NAV of Direct plan is higher, will I have fewer units?

    • Karthikeyan

      Actually in your case, the expense ratio is higher because its still not DIRECT , when you switch , then from future point of view, you will pay less charges , but your units will be same right now

  36. Karthikeyan

    Hi Manish,

    I have another question – most of these online brokers like ICICI Direct, HDFC Bank, Sharekhan, etc. already charge an annual fee for opening and maintaining an account. On top of this, they don’t allow investing in the Direct Plan variant of mutual funds. Isn’t this like double charging?

      • Karthikeyan

        I don’t expect these online brokers to make any changes, after all they want to max their profits! But SEBI should take a look at this, because they did a very good thing of introducing the direct variant with lower expense ratio for the benefit of investors. As an investor, I don’t see why I need to pay an annual maintenance fee AND pay indirect commissions through the regular variant of MFs.

  37. Parag Rodrigues

    Hi Manish,

    As usual, your article is very interesting & keep the person to read it on & on.

    As per your following final statemen (3rd point)t :-

    1) There is no DIRECT option in ETF’s and closed ended mutual funds
    2) There will be no difference between the portfolio’s of Direct Plan and Standard Plan
    3) Every thing will be same except that the Direct plan will have a lower expense ration. Thats all

    Have checked the assest value of HDFC TOp 200 & HDFC Top 200 Direct plan & there is huge difference.

    Althuogh the portfolio remains the same, wish to understand why the assest value have changed.

    Does the asset value makes difference in Non-Doirect & Direct plan.

    Appreciate your response…

      • Parag Rodrigues

        Hi Manish,

        FOr HDFC Top 200 Direct (Growth) fund , the Asset Size (Rs cr) 45.13 (Mar-30-2013)

        For HDFC tOP 200 (Growth) Fund, the Asset Size (Rs cr) 11,958.80 (Mar-30-2013)

        Is these Asset size values , makes a differnce in the investment. The former has less amount whereas latter has whopping 11,985 Cr to be utilized as per the need….

        That’s why I asked if these Asset size difference makes an impact to our investment.

  38. Karthikeyan

    Hi Manish,

    I would like some help to understand the implications of doing a switch to direct plan. I have invested in HDFC Equity through SIPs for last 5 yrs. The total investment amount is 1.5 lakhs, current value is 2.5 lakhs. Now, if I initiate a switch request to direct plan, it is equivalent to redeeming all units and investing it in the direct plan in *one shot*. Is my understanding correct?

    If yes, that means that my investment decision is dependent on the NAV value. I don’t know if its a good idea to invest the entire amount (2.5 lakhs) at a single NAV, even if I’m saving on the expense ratio over the long haul. Please advice.

          • Karthikeyan

            Let me explain. Assume that I have invested in HDFC Equity over 2 yrs in SIPs, before the direct plan was introduced. The net worth of my investment is 1 lakh. Now, I decide to switch to direct plan. Net worth will still be 1 lakh. No argument there.

            However, since my current investment of 1 lakh was done over 2 yrs, each SIP would have a different NAV. On the other hand, a switch to direct plan will be a lumpsum investment at a single NAV. Agreed?

            Then, isn’t it a high risk move to switch my current investment to direct plan? Lets say that the NAV drops down by 50 points. With the current investment, some of the SIPs might still offer a decent return, so my net worth does not fall drastically (basic advantage of SIP). But if I make the switch, then the entire investment will be affected by the NAV.

            I hope my point is clear now. My conclusion is that switching old investment to direct plan is not worth the risk. If you agree, then please update this article as it is difficult for readers to go all these comments.

            • I think there is some mis understanding on your side on how SIP units work . When you buy MF through SIP , you get units each time depending on the current NAV. Now thats only for the calculation purpose. What you keep accumulating is units like 11 units, 12.4 units, 10 units .. like this . At any given point of time , you have some X units and your total worth in mutual funds is as per current NAV . Now what was the old NAV does not matter.

              So if your worth is 1 lac, its because your Units X current NAV = 1 lac.

              Now if you continue with this scenario , your worth will move as per NAV movement . and the expense ratio you will pay will be lets say 2% .

              When you move to direct, still your worth is propertional to NAV movement only, the only change is you are paying less expense ratio

              So in both cases, every thing is going to be same, except lower expense ratio in Direct plan .

              I hope you are clear now ?

              • Karthikeyan

                Manish, the concepts of how NAV works is clear to me. My point is that moving a 1 lakh investment on a single NAV value is a risky proposition, even if you are saving a small percentage through the expense ratio.

                Quoting from your own reply:

                “So if your worth is 1 lac, its because your Units X current NAV = 1 lac. ”

                Observe, that you are talking “current NAV”. Hence, if you make the switch, you are moving ALL your units under the current NAV.

                Leave aside this topic for a moment – As an investor, if you have 1 lakh to invest, would you do a lumpsum investment or would you invest through SIPs?

                My argument is the same for switching the older investments to direct.

                • ok now I get your point .. You want to switch for sure,but systematically, then I would say its its your decision then . I would have done it on a single NAV itself, because I would have compared it with my “default” situation :) .

  39. vishal nayak

    hie manish,
    i have some disposable money purely for investments.. im confused between which mutual funds to buy as lot of them have performed decent and others bad overa 5 year term. i want to start SIP’s in atleast 3-4 funds 2 of which will be for tax savings and 2 will be for open ended funds,.. im looking at a long term horizon of atleast 5 years ti;ll 10 .. can u help me or suggest me some funds to invest in


  40. Sanjay Garg

    Hi Manish,
    Thanks for a very good article. I have Dmat account through HDFC securities and able to check the holding online. I need to fill delivery instruction slip and submit it at their branch to sell any Mutual fund/Debt fund even now. Only equity trading is possibly online through their trading window terminal as of now.
    If i want to buy debt fund- direct from AMC and want to keep it in my DMAT account through HDFC security,
    – is it possible?
    – will i be able to save excess expenses on brokerage similar to any direct plan? If yes, this will enable me to track all my investment through one Dmat account and only hassle will be at the time of buying only.

    Thank you very much.

    Sanjay Garg

    Please guide.

    • If you want it on the same Demat , then you need to buy it from their demat service which mean they will be your broker , it cant be DIRECT . If you want it to be DIRECT , then you need to go through usual process , in which case it will not be in same demat you hold, but thats fine , anyways things are demated !

  41. Jassi

    Hi Manish,
    This query is regarding shifting of my exising HDFC mutual mf to direct route.
    Query has been asked before many times and I just want to summarize the action that I plan to take.
    Please let me know if my thinking is right.
    Currently I am running my SIPs through fundsIndia.

    1> Get online pin for HDFC MF. Same folio number shall hopefully be mapped.
    2>Stop existing SIP in fundsindia.
    3> Start a new SIP via HDFC MF online. Hopefully this will start creating units in DIRECT MODE.
    4> After one year, shift exising investments (started via fundsIndia) to this Direct mode. This is via sell and buy mod.e
    Plan to do this at one go to avoid hassles.

    Do I need to take care of anything else?


  42. Rakesh

    Hey Manish,

    A small query.
    You’ve mentioned that there is no direct option for close-ended mutual funds.
    I have been going through the offer documents of NFO’son AMFI website, even the close-ended ones have a direct option under which the expense ratio is about 0.4 percentage points lesser than the one in regular plan (eg. 1.8% vs 2.2%)

    You can go through any of them here,

    Am i missing something?

  43. smarts

    I have my MF holdings with icicidirect and none of them are under direct plan. How can I switch to direct plan? I don’t see any option in icicidirect to switch to direct plan so they don’t provide this facility. Do I need to contact each AMC for that and who will hold MFs : AMC or icici?

  44. S. K. Rastogi

    Hi Manish!
    A very commendable article in deed for every investor but specially for persons like me who have no experience in investment in equities/debt funds etc. and who have started searching Internet to learn about safe investment avenues and suitable guidance in this regard. So far I had been keeping my savings into Bank FD’s. However, I want to give a try for safe & secured investments with good returns after tax, as compared to Bank FD’s. There are so many advice and comparisons available on Internet about investments in Debt Mutual Funds etc. which are quite confusing for a novice like me. What do you suggest for people like me, going for ‘Direct’ option or through some agent?

    Can you, kindly, suggest and guide me about the current safe & secured investment avenues/ MF’s with good returns which I can try for short/ mid term investments? I would be highly obliged.

    Thanks & Regards,

      • S. K. Rastogi

        Hi Mr. Manish,
        Thanks for the guidance. Can u kindly throw some light on ‘FundsIndia’ as an agent/ financial adviser? Are they good and reliable to transact with?

        Quite a long back I had opened a Demat account with ICICI but have not used it much. Do I have to now route all my investments through this Demat A/c with ICICI or do I have to open a new Demat A/c with FundsIndia or any other agent/ financial adviser? If to open a new a/c, what do I have to do with my old a/c with ICICI? Can u suggest some good agent/ financial adviser to start with? Do I require the Demat a/c to transact the MF’s with different companies under ‘Direct’ option too?


        • Fundsindia is good overall

          To transact in DIRECT option, you cant do it via any online account, because it has to be done via AMC directly. What exactly is your requirement ?


          • S. K. Rastogi

            I wanted to invest a small amount for >1 yr with some good company/ companies which can give good returns, at least better than Bank FD’s, and seek your advice about such good companies/ funds.

            I may go for DIRECT option, as advised by you above, but want to know some good companies/ funds where I should invest.


  45. hemkumar

    There is an easier alternative in case of people who cannot visit offices of each amc or CAMS/Karvy offices. Open a single trading account/fund account with icicidirect or other banks. Finish the KYC compliance(which they will only do for you), buy liquid fund with the amc you want to buy funds from. Once folios are opened and kyc compliance is confirmed its a cake walf through the websites of these amcs to have direct purchase.

  46. ankit


    can switching from regular to Direct not be done online? . So, I login to AMC website and place a switch request and in the fund to switch to I choose same fund’s direct plan. Am I wrong here?

  47. ankit

    One more question is:

    If I switch from regular to direct and after switching to direct plan, if i sell my investments within an year of the switch will there not be capital gains ?

  48. kapil_kdl2005

    Hi Manish,

    I am in UK from last 1 month and can be here for next 1.5 to 2 yrs. My salary comes in GBP. I have 10000 Rs SIP (Direct) in MF since April 2013. Can I continue these SIPs with resident account or I have to open new NRE/NRO account and link to this account.

  49. chary


    Is it right time to invest in mutual fund (SIP)? Could you please help me how to consider right time for better long term returns (say 5yrs or 10yrs)?


    • Hi Chary

      Surely it would help if you invest at the lowest point in stock market, but then you never can find out what is the right time ! . The best you can do is invest when markets have fallen a lot and you feel that it could be a potential lower point !

  50. chary

    Thank you Manish, Can you please tell me best plan for high returns for period of 5 to 10yrs? initial investment I could able do is Rs 2000/- ? How to estimate the returns from stock market performance based on the historical performance? Do you have any such estimation. Pl share it? It would help investors.

  51. Vikanand

    Hi Manish

    Many thanks the information here was indeed useful, can you advise if we can buy direct plans from the AMC site online or we have to fill up a manual form and issue a cheque every time we invest in a direct plan, as that seems to be a big show stopper to invest in direct plans, look forward to your advise

  52. Mayank Pandit

    Thanks for very informative article. Does expense ratio also applicable on Mutual funds for which SIPS duration of say 3 years are over and no further payment of SIP is made? Can this fund be transferred as DIRECT? Looking forward to your advise.

  53. subramanyam

    I liked the explanation very much,
    I have a doubt about this
    For example when i compare
    Franklin (I) Bluechip – Direct (G) with the regular one there is 4 rupee difference, and in some cases it is more (around 10 rupees also). In that case how to select the one which gives more profit?

  54. Varun

    Hi Manish,

    I am new to mutual fund investing. I want to start an SIP of Rs.3000. Can you suggest some good fund to invest in for long term?


  55. sudaa

    Hi Manish,
    Thanks for having such a great informative site and for all the trouble you take to provide clear answers; been of immense help.

    I currently invest in mutual funds through HDFC online banking. Yes, there is a charge, plus the higher expense ratio, etc., so wished to go direct even though it means multiple pins for the AMC sites. I saw a reply from Mr. Hemkumar saying that instead, one can open a trading account, invest in a regular liquid fund, then get a pin from the AMC and then it is all direct investing. How come? The trading account allows direct access to AMC sites? There will be a trading account fee too? And if one generates a folio number in a regular fund, how will subsequent investments automatically be direct? If so, how will the initial investment be treated? Saw a similar reply elsewhere on your site too, in a post by Mr. Karthik. So, for example, if I get a pin for all the funds in my HDFC online account, then under the same folio number, if I invest directly through the AMC website, it becomes a direct investment? This would include the amount already showing against the mutual fund account in my online banking portfolio? Excuse the lengthy question but this is confusing. If this is a surefire solution, am sure many investors will be interested. Please do help us understand. Thanks.

  56. Prashant Bhardwaj

    For ELSS – Beyond the lock-in period in case we switch to Direct plan does it mean it will lock-in for the next three years again?

      • Prashant Bhardwaj

        Hi Manish, Thank you very much for the clarification above.

        Read your book “16 Personal Finance Principles Every Investor Should Know”. Loved it…!!! Thanks again.

          • Prashant Bhardwaj

            Hi Manish,
            I placed a switch request for my ELSS in SBI Magnum Tax Gain Scheme which got executed and again locked for next 3 years.
            Called SBI MF customer care for clarification, they asked me to write a mail to – Today I received a response which says:
            “We would like to inform you that on completion of three years from the date of each purchase redemption or switch can be done. And if the investor submits SWITCH-OUT request from a ELSS scheme and SWITCH-IN in a ELSS scheme, then again those units will go for a lock in period of three years.”

  57. Sailesh Gupta

    Manish — This is too good !!! You have put in a lot of time for this. Its very useful. Thank you !!

    I do follow you in FB @ AIFW but now would be following you more closer :)

  58. Saby

    Thanks for a very informative article. One question, do the AMC charge exit loads in case one switches between dividend & growth options of the same scheme under same folio? Also if I have invested in an equity fund 3 years ago (which has no exit load now) and switched from growth to equity option six months ago, will there be an exit load if I want to finally redeem?

  59. Naveen

    Could you tell me how to increase the montly sip amount in direct mf plans whenever we want to

    1. If I opt for monthly top up of 500 or 1000, even if I start sip at 1000 rs per month then after 10 or 15 years, the amount will be very much which would take a hit on my monthly expenses.

    2. If I stop the current sip and start a fresh sip with the increased amount then the time I spent with the lower amount and it’s compounding is wasted.

    Do you know any other options of increasing the sip amount other than the above two?


    Dear Sir,
    I took four MF by doing a lot of research.I choose top raked given by CRISIL MF RANKING in But while buying I choose online option & buy in Direct mode.I took following MF
    1.Axis Long Term Equity Fund-Direct(G)
    2.Franklin India High Growth Companies Fund-Direct(G)
    3.Franklin India Smaller companies Fund-Direct (g)
    4.Reliance Tax Saver Growth Fund-Direct(G).

    After buying I added all these to money control portfolio & the result was shocking.
    All the MF I bought shows not ranked instead of Rank1.I got shocked by seeing that,then immediately went to the respective site to switch it through standard plan but at last moment I decided to search difference between direct & standard plan in their % growth & I found both are 99% equal.Now I am very much confused.

    Please guide me by proper explaination

  61. Murali

    Hi Manish!

    Nice article.

    I still have one questions though!

    I was investing in ICICIDirect and moving to Direct funds. While investing through ICICIDirect, I noticed that STT was charged for each transaction (SIP and lumpsum). When I invested directly with AMCs I didn’t notice any STT for the transactions. I am just wondering if STT will be charged even for Direct plans? If not how can we pay STT while investing in Direct plans (so as to gain exemption for Long Term Capital Gains from tax liability)?

    Thanks in advance for your reply.

  62. shiv pal patel

    dear manish
    what is the expense ratio of direct and standard plan of icici pru focused bluechip fund-g,uti opportunies-g.qtle-g
    thanks and regards

  63. Hemanth

    Hi Manish,

    Thanks for the nice article.

    I have invested in 3 MF through one of the agent.
    Can i convert this into Direct plan? If Yes can you suggest me the procedure.

    Thanks again.

  64. Digbijay

    Hi Manish,

    thanks for the beautiful article and the continuous guidance.

    Please share your thought on my case.

    I have researched my way to select ICICI value discovery fund and decided to invest 30000 there.

    I Opened ICICI bank saving bank a/c and asked the service desk person in the branch that, i want to invest in this fund and what is the process.

    She gave me a form ask me to give a cheque and a photo. I have filled few details in the form and submitted.

    I have not marked any choice.

    Even they took around 15 -20 days to open my follio id and after many follow ups they done it. No idea why they were delaying.

    I asked them to send me the statement . When I saw I found the plan is

    PDFG Value Discovery Fund – RP – Growth

    My Question is …

    1. As I have requested through ICICI bank directly, is it coming under by default Regular plan ?
    2. As I have not opted anything, so by default it should go as Direct plan

    3. My main question, can I initiate any legal action of cheating against my ICICI branch ???


    • 1. NO , Direct Plan only happens when you invest via AMC directly. Here you have invested via Bank, who will put their advisor code :)

      2. There is no rule like that. You need to check the DIRECT option yourself .

      3. I dont think so . This is exactly how bank channels work. Unless you cleared this yourself, you cant say that by default it should go in direct option !


  65. pradip kumar

    Thanks a lot Mr. Manish for such a wonderful article!! Mr. Manish I want to invest rs. 10000/- per month for a long period of almost 10 yrs or more. I may bear high/ moderate risk. Please advice me for the good performing funds. Someone has adviced me choose first 5 of the following(equity):
    1) ICICI Infrastructure fund
    2) reliance regular saving fund
    3) HDFC top 200
    4) IDFC premier equity
    5) Reliance equity opportunity
    6) ICICI focus blue chip
    7) UTI opportunity
    8) ICICI dynamic fund
    I have one few questions:
    1) Should I choose 10 SIP funds of 1000/ each or only 4-5 funds of rs. 2000/- each?
    2) Should I choose some debt funds also? I am 36 yr old and My wife and I will continue as govt. servant till 65 ( professor).
    3) Is there any long term benefit starting SIP in name minor or wife?
    4) Should I opt for large cap funds only for the mid cap n small cap also?
    Once again thanks in advance with the hope that you will advice me properly.

  66. nilesh

    Respected sir,
    Fabulous article with very intresting que-answers. sir, Please solve my following quaries.

    Que: I am having account with According to question no. 200 of this post Mr Murli was investing in direct funds with his account. But sir in my case i can not find any direct fund even of icicipru AMC in my idirect account. I called customer care two times. First executive was not clear about my question and second replied that i cant buy direct plans even of the icicipru AMC with my icicidirect account. I want to know that can we buy dirct plans with icicidirect? or my broker may added his code in my account opening form and i cant buy. confused….

  67. Bhaskar

    I hv invested in Reliance mutual fund ELSS TAX SAVER GROWTH option through ICICI in 2008. Can I make it DIRECT now so that I will get good returns?

  68. Vishnu Khandelwal

    Hi Manish

    Very helpful artical…. Simple and crisp.
    I am investing in SIPs basically ELSS first time. I am wondering that since the NAV is higher in Direct Option, will I receive less units every time?

  69. pawan yadav

    Hi Manish

    I have a HDFC TOP 200- Growth fund and i bought it throught he HDFC BANK in march 2013. I pay monthy 10,000 as a SIP. I have couple of questions:

    1. Do my agent/middleman change my portfolio time to time. I am asking this as i do not get any call as such. So i assume its by default they add/remove and my understanding correct?

    2. If the above understanding is correct , then if i take direct fund then i myself need to add/modify my portfolio as per the market condition? what if i just buy a SIP option through AMC and do not touch for 10 years[ i mean no add/delete in portfolio]

    lastly ,do u suggest me to move to direct ?

  70. Nitin

    Very good arrival as well que. Ans.
    My que. Is I have started sip 25/03/2015 in birala sunlife front line gr regular plan, company provide me insurance under cetury-sip promotion plan, but after investment I come to know abt MF direct plan. So now I want to change it from regular to direct how s it possible. Should I create new sip and switch amt of this existing sip into new one.

  71. Nitin

    Very good artical as well que. Ans.
    My que. Is I have started sip 25/03/2015 in birala sunlife front line gr regular plan, through adviser he said company provide me additional benefit, insurance under cetury-sip promotion plan, but after investment. I come to know abt MF direct plan. So now I want to switch it from regular to direct, how s it possible. Should I create new sip and switch amt of this existing sip into new one.

  72. Harshal

    Hi Manish,

    I am planning to open a MF account in ‘Axis Long Term Equity Fund (G)’. After reading this article, I am confused whether to go for Direct plan. One more thing, the growth fund is ranked 1 on money control unders ELSS category. But for the direct option fund is not ranked by crisil on moneycontrol. Any specific reason?

    Please suggest with which option shall i proceed?


  73. bhushan

    hi Manish,
    nice article. let me know if your company provides a service as financial adviser who can provide advice on where to invest/which MFs to buy and then I can invest in direct plans of those MFs.

    I am looking for financial adviser rather than financial broker (who will advice me to invest most of the time in MFs where he gets maximum commission).


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