Investing in Mutual Funds - Active vs Passive Strategies

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  • 05 Mar 2024
Investing in Mutual Funds - Active vs Passive Strategies

Prudent investment in mutual funds can help you grow wealth. That said, there are primarily two types of mutual fund investing strategy that you can opt for - active and passive. Each of these strategies differs from each other and has its pros and cons. So, what are these, and which one should you opt for? Let’s find out.

An active mutual fund strategy involves investing in actively managed mutual funds. These funds are overseen by a team of professional fund managers who actively make decisions regarding buying, selling, or holding securities. The primary objective of active funds is to generate alpha and beat the fund's benchmark index.

Adopting an active strategy brings the following advantages to the table:

1. Professional Expertise

Experienced professionals manage active funds. They conduct in-depth research and analysis, and investors benefit from the fund manager's expertise. With skilled fund managers aiming to identify opportunities that could lead to higher returns, investing in actively managed funds can significantly boost your wealth in the long run.

2. Dynamic Portfolio Management

In active funds, fund managers can adjust the fund's portfolio in response to changing market conditions. This adaptability helps capitalize on emerging opportunities and mitigate risks. Fund managers can actively manage risk by adjusting the fund's portfolio composition. They may reduce exposure in certain securities or sectors if they perceive higher risks, potentially protecting your wealth from dipping due to significant downturns.

There are certain disadvantages to an active mutual fund strategy. These include:

1. Higher Costs

Active mutual funds have higher fees compared to passive funds. The fees cover the cost of research and analysis, and expertise of the fund manager. A high cost can erode your returns over time.

2. No Guarantee of Outperformance

While active funds primarily aim to outperform the index they are tracking, there’s no guarantee that they will do so. In many cases, economic factors and market conditions impact a fund's performance. Also, some funds may underperform their benchmark indices, especially considering the cumulative impact of fees.

3. Subject to Managerial Risk

An active fund's success depends heavily on the skills and decisions of the fund manager. In case there's a change in the management team, it can affect the fund's performance.

A passive mutual fund strategy involves investing in a fund that tracks a particular index, such as the Nifty 50 or the BSE Sensex. Passive mutual funds aim to mimic the index they are tracking and hold securities in the same proportion as the index they are tracking.

Some of the benefits of passive strategy include:

1. Lower costs

Passive funds typically have lower fees as they don't require constant management from fund managers. This lower cost can translate into high returns.

2. Simplicity

Passive mutual fund strategy is straightforward. This makes it a great option for investors who want a hands-off approach to their investment.

Like active funds, passive funds also have certain disadvantages. These include:

1. Limited Outperformance Potential

Passive mutual fund strategies have limited potential for outperformance as they are designed to track an index and not outperform it. Because of it, they may not generate high alpha compared to active funds in certain market conditions.

2. Lack of Flexibility

The structure of passive funds is such that they don't adapt to changing market conditions and capitalize on investment opportunities. This limits their potential to mitigate risk and capture gains.

Choosing between active and passive mutual fund strategies is based on your risk appetite and financial goals. If you are seeking high returns and have a higher risk tolerance, you can opt for active funds. On the other hand, if you are looking for a low-cost, low-risk investment strategy, you can choose passive funds.

In Conclusion

Combining active and passive funds can help you create a diversified portfolio to help you navigate market conditions and meet your financial goals. Before investing, conduct an extensive research and consult with your financial advisor.


People invest in active mutual funds to earn higher returns. This is because the primary objective of an active mutual fund is to beat its benchmark index.

It’s the fund manager who manages funds in active investing. The fund manager takes calls based on the fund’s objectives and prevailing market conditions.

Passive mutual funds don’t aim to outperform an index. They aim to replicate its performance by holding securities in the same proportion as that of the index it’s tracking.

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