TLDR: A complete list of all direct mutual fund sites in India as of Jan 2020. And some FAQs on what they are. Click here to jump to the list.
What are Direct mutual funds anyway?
Simply put, they’re a no-broker way to invest in mutual funds. You invest directly with the company running the mutual fund. These companies are called AMCs – short for Asset Management Companies.
Why should I care?
Well, since no brokers or middlemen are involved, your mutual fund earns you more. Middlemen(distributors) get both upfront and trailing commissions. This is money which could’ve belonged to you, but is going to a middlemen instead.
The deceptively named ‘Regular’ funds have middlemen involved. Direct funds don’t.
How much am I losing by not investing in Direct funds?
Far more than you can ever imagine. Middlemen often don’t disclose the fact that they receive commissions. When they do, they try to make it seem inconsequential. You can know exactly how much you’re losing, by reading this post here.
What are Direct Fund mutual fund sites(or platforms)?
They allow you to, or specifically provide access to only Direct plans of mutual funds. They also act as aggregator sites – which means they allow you to invest in mutual funds from multiple providers(AMCs). This is unlike platforms of AMC’s themselves, where an investor is only provided access to that specific AMC’s mutual funds.
Why do most such Direct mutual fund sites charge a fee?
Because they need to stay in business. Most free websites allow you to invest for free because they’re dipping into your wealth, by getting commissions. Most direct mutual fund sites charge a fixed annual fee of sorts because most often, it’s their only source of revenue.
What’s a good enough fee to pay for such sites?
There was an entire column in the table below which listed pricing for each of these sites. But I chose to delete it. Why?
Because being honest, whatever you pay for any of these would be far lesser than what you’d lose by not investing in direct mutual funds. Again, read this to see how much you lose by investing in ‘regular’ funds and by falling for those ads which allow you to invest for free.
Is there a possible downside of using them?
Truth be told, yes. Since often, their primary source of revenue is from annual fees, and most folks in India preferring free over fair, the chances of these sites running out of operational capital are rather high. They can of course compensate the lack of income from direct mutual funds, by selling some commission-based products like Gold coins and such. But there is always a risk that they could go belly up.
Please don’t fall for free. A fee is fair. Because as someone said, when you get a product for free, it’s only because YOU are the product. When you don’t pay a fee, such profit-based companies make money off you in ways are convoluted.
The one direct mutual fund site which will perhaps always be free, and for good reason, is MF Utilities. It’s run by a consortium of mutual funds in India.
List of Direct Mutual Fund Sites
Disclaimer: There were quite a few more sites operating last year, but they seem to have gone belly up. I’ve only listed the ones which are operational as of Jan 2020. If you come across a site which is missing, do write in so it can be included.
|Site Name||Authority Rank||Link|
|Coin by Zerodha||1||Zerodha|
|Mobikwik Money||2||MobiKwik Money|
|Paytm Money||6||Paytm Money|
|Karvy||7||Karvy Mutual Funds|
|Oro Wealth||13||Oro Wealth|
|Mymoneysage||14||My Money Sage|
|MF Utilities||15||MF Utilities/MFU Online|
|My Way Wealth||NA||Mywaywealth|
What does ‘Authority Rank’ indicate?
The ‘Authority rank’ is based on the site’s Alexa Web Rank in the country. It’s a reasonable indicator a site’s overall authority. All ranking is based on data from Jan 2020.
Alexa Rank is an estimate of how popular a site is relative to all other sites. The Alexa Rank answers the question: Compared to all other sites, how is this site doing? Note that since rank is a relative measure, one site’s rank is not only dependent on that site’s traffic, but also on changes to traffic on other sites.https://blog.alexa.com/improving-your-alexa-rank/
What to keep in mind while selecting a direct mutual fund site?
Ease of use
Platforms like MFUtilities, CAMS and Karvy, are led by entities from within the industry. But they have very poorly designed user interfaces. To first time users, this can seem not just be off-putting, but overwhelming.
You’d need/want to to re-balance your portfolio every couple of years. So having a good portfolio analysis section, is rather useful.
You can switch platforms with ease
Nothing stops you from switching across platforms or evaluating several of them simultaneously. Your investments are tied to you, and not your platform. So if you’d like to experiment before finally picking one, you can.
Which direct mutual fund sites are recommended?
My order of recommendation is as follows:
- AMC’s native platform
Among privately run platforms, I’d suggest sticking to a site which is in the top 10. Since an Alexa web rank, is a measure of the overall site’s effort’s and authority, the chances of the one’s in the top 10 staying around in the market are rather high. These top sites may also have other sources of revenue, which could ensure that a commission-free product platform stays afloat. In the worst case, if a direct mutual fund site does go belly-up, you can always fallback on AMC’s native platforms or consortium led platforms like MFUOnline.
Which site do I personally use?
I prefer to use the AMC’s native platforms for investing.
For one, I know that they’ll always be around and will always be free. Two, I encountered an issue with MFutilities once, because it listed a fund which it wasn’t servicing. It was a liquid fund in which I was planning to park a large sum of money. Money was deducted from the bank, but units weren’t allotted for several days. When I finally got in touch with their support, they simply apologized and returned the capital. And I did lose interest for a week.
I do have logins in a few other platforms, because I like to evaluate their portfolio tools. I’m still to find something which fully addresses all needs. Value research’s Beta interface (before the rollbacks) showed quite a lot of promise.
Understand finances better
The Moneyplanting Program teaches everything that every adult needs to know about investing. It is conducted as a corporate training program. Check with your HR regarding upcoming sessions.