Comparison of Direct Mutual Fund Transaction Portals

Published: March 9, 2016 at 9:01 am

This year, direct mutual fund plans have taken off in a big way. This is exciting news not just because there is a single window to invest in direct mutual fund. In order to grow these portals must advertise*. Meaning commission-free investing will be the USP. Meaning more and more people will understand that their current online mutual fund investment platform is not free!

* with the exception of MF Utility which had to send out an reassuring note to sacred mutual fund distributors that it will not advertise. It will not, but hey, there is enough advertisement for it here and at Facebook group Asan Ideas For Wealth!

For example, Anish Mohan was kind enough to write a detailed guide: How to buy and sell direct mutual funds using MF Utility Portal

I had earlier announced the start of two such portals:

Direct Mutual Fund Investment/advisory Portal Invezta is now live!

ORO Wealth: Yet another Direct mutual fund investment portal! This had a partial comparison of direct mutual fund investment portals.

Now with Smart.Unovest.Co also live, it is time to a bit more detailed comparison, thanks to the efforts of Kishan Sen Laskar and Anish Mohan. This comparison is with the information available up to now and is likely to be modified as these portal evolve (and more come up!).

Background: In order to understand how these portals operate and their limitations, some background is necessary.

MF Utility is run by 25 AMCs. It is free and only offers transaction facility in direct plans.

Other portals are privately run and are either standalone (Invezta) or are dependent on MF Utility for Transaction.

All private portal will have a RIA no. That is, registered investment adviser no. This is like the mutual fund distributors ARN no which allows them to claim commissions on their clients transactions.

The RIA no is for direct plans alone and does not entail any commission.

They will be able to obtain feeds, that is the transaction statement to update portfolios only if a folio contains their RIA no.

So if you make a new transaction in a new folio via their portal, the RIA no will be automatically associated with it.

A new transaction in an existing folio can be made via the private portals only if 

  • existing regular funds are switched to direct funds with RIA no or
  • existing direct funds (which will not have ARN or RIA) have to be switched to direct funds with RIA code.

What about updating existing direct fund holdings which do not have the RIA code? The portals are trying to work out an arrangement with MF Utility to get the feeds with the permission of the account holder.

In the meantime, Unovest using an interface powered by a company called Accord Finitech has allowed users to upload all existing holdings using the consolidated account statement from CAMS.

Invezta is working on ways to do the same. Between me, Kishan and Anish, we have tried out,

Between me, Kishan and Anish, we have tried out,

Please note that all three of us are no associated with any portal. The only purpose of this post is the dissemination of information with a pinch of insight. Before taking a call on using such portals, be sure to read and understand all features.

Comparison of Direct Mutual Fund Transaction Portals

The image below is a comparison based on our current experience and details found at their site and is liable to be changed. If you are associated with any of the portals (owner/member), please do point out discrepancies if any and I will correct them.

Comparison-of-direct-mutual-fund-plan-portals-3
Please click on the image to enlarge

My recommendation

If you a regular plan investor, switch to direct!

If you have only a few funds and do not mind logging into individual AMCs, then look no further.

If you are a new/old investor looking for a plain vanilla transaction portal, choose MF Utility.

If you want goal tracking features and/or fund recommendations and don’t mind robo-advisory, my vote would be Invezta. For new investors, there is no issue joining Invezta. Existing mutual fund investors will have to wait for Invezta to roll out their consolidation features.

The reason is, Invezta for the kind of goal tracking and portfolio insights it offers, comes at a pretty attractive price. The goal tracking at Unovest is a little too simple for my taste (at least for the moment). There are free online mutual fund screeners available at

If one has to pay for Unovest mutual fund screening (not yet live) then it better be better than these options (at the first two, forget freefincal).

I have not explored Bharosa Club and Oro Wealth and hence cannot comment on them.

If you prefer interacting with a fee-only SEBI registered advisor, stick to MF Utility. As robo advisor recommendations may conflict with that of the advisor.

I request users of these portals to provide feedback here so that it can help the community.

Credits: Kishan Sen Laskar and Anish Mohan for promptly responding to all questions and editing the above table. Thank you guys. Such posts will not be possible without your support.

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About the Author Pattabiraman editor freefincalM. Pattabiraman(PhD) is the founder, managing editor and primary author of freefincal. He is an associate professor at the Indian Institute of Technology, Madras. since Aug 2006. Connect with him via Twitter or Linkedin Pattabiraman has co-authored two print-books, You can be rich too with goal-based investing (CNBC TV18) and Gamechanger and seven other free e-books on various topics of money management. He is a patron and co-founder of “Fee-only India” an organisation to promote unbiased, commission-free investment advice. He conducts free money management sessions for corporates and associations on the basis of money management. Previous engagements include World Bank, RBI, BHEL, Asian Paints, Cognizant, Madras Atomic Power Station, Honeywell, Tamil Nadu Investors Association. For speaking engagements write to pattu [at] freefincal [dot] com
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