Focused Mutual Funds: Have they given better returns?

Published: September 21, 2020 at 11:29 am

Last Updated on September 21, 2020 at 11:29 am

Focused mutual funds are schemes that can invest in a maximum of 30 stocks in large cap or mid cap or small cap stocks or across market cap (multicap). The scheme must invest 65% of assets in equity and must mention its market cap alignment. In this article, we find out how focused mutual funds have performed since category inception and if they have managed to give better returns than other diversified equity funds.

This category was introduced by SEBI when its scheme categorization was announced in Oct 2017. Schemes that chose to become focused funds did so by May 2018. Many fund rating portals incorrectly classify focused mutual funds as multicap funds. They are two distinct categories.

There are 23 focused funds as on Sep 2020 with one more from Invesco in its NFO period. HSBC’s focused fund came out in July 2020. Tata started its version in Dec 2019; Union in Aug 2019; Kotak in July 2019; Mirae in May 2019; L&T in Nov 2018; The rest changed strategy to become focused funds in the first few months of 2018. Axis focused fund has the largest AUM in this category – Rs. 11.732 Crores but has managed to keep the number of stocks to 20 even at this level.

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You can read reviews of category members here: (1) Tata Focused Equity Fund Review: Is this any different? (2) SBI Focused Equity Fund Review: Why portfolio history is important (3) Axis Focused 25 Fund Review: Outperformance at extra risk! (4) Mirae Asset Focused Fund: Will this make a difference?

Thus the category is a little more than two years old – 28 months to be a bit more precise. Invests get excited when they hear “focused portfolio” in a funds advertisement. However, investing in a fund that only buys 20-30 stocks will be of benefit (or harm) only if that is the sole fund in the portfolio. This virtually impossible for retail investors.

Focused Mutual Funds Returns (1st June 2018 to 18 Sep 2020)

We use 1st June 2018 as the approximate date of inception for the focused fund category. This would mean exactly 28 months have elapsed until 18th Sep 2020. The annualized returns are shown below. The entries in red indicate benchmarks

Scheme Name28 Months
IIFL Focused Equity Fund13.82
ICICI Pru Focused Equity Fund6.00
Principal Focused Multicap Fund5.67
Axis Focused 25 Fund5.03
Sundaram Select Focus4.99
NIFTY 50 – TRI4.99
Motilal Oswal Focused 25 Fund4.83
SBI Focused Equity Fund4.30
NIFTY 100 – TRI4.18
S&P BSE 200 – TRI4.12
S&P BSE 250 LargeMidCap Index – TRI3.96
Aditya Birla SL Focused Equity Fund3.91
DSP Focus Fund3.44
NIFTY 200 – TRI3.40
Quant Focused Fund3.33
S&P BSE 500 – TRI3.14
NIFTY 500 – TRI2.91
IDBI Focused 30 Equity Fund1.87
IDFC Focused Equity Fund1.86
BNP Paribas Focused 25 Equity Fund1.64
Franklin India Focused Equity Fund0.41
Nippon India Focused Equity Fund0.22
JM Core 11 Fund-2.49
HDFC Focused 30 Fund-4.46

It is clear that the “focused strategy has clearly not been remarkable in any way. Of course one could argue that market-cap-weighted indices have been more focused (reliant on just the top few stocks) than these funds in this period! Kindly do not make the classic retail investor mistake of getting excited about IIFL Focused Equity Fund, investing in it only to see returns fall afterwards.

The table below shows 28 months annualised returns for 289 equity funds (incl index funds) and the seven benchmarks indicated in red above. The focused funds are marked in green. Since the table is long, let us summarise right here.

Focused mutual funds have not done anything special since their inception. Their performance ranges right amidst other diversified funds. If this is the situation for a person holding one focused fund, imagine the difference it would have made to a typical investor portfolio of “n” funds! It is best to stay away from this category.

Focused Mutual Funds vs Category Peers

CategoryScheme Name28 Months
Pharma & Health CareTata India Pharma & Healthcare Fund27.27
Pharma & Health CareNippon India Pharma Fund26.88
Pharma & Health CareUTI Healthcare Fund25.30
Pharma & Health CareSBI Healthcare Opp Fund23.55
TechnologyICICI Pru Technology Fund21.36
TechnologyFranklin India Technology Fund18.86
Thematic FundAditya Birla SL Digital India Fund18.33
GlobalNippon India US Equity Opp Fund18.17
Thematic FundTata Digital India Fund16.83
GlobalICICI Pru US Bluechip Equity Fund16.55
TechnologySBI Technology Opp Fund16.15
Focused FundIIFL Focused Equity Fund13.82
Equity Linked Savings SchemeQuant Tax Plan13.80
Multi Cap FundParag Parikh Long Term Equity Fund13.61
Multi Cap FundQuant Active Fund12.40
GlobalAditya Birla SL Intl. Equity Fund-A10.90
Small cap FundAxis Small Cap Fund10.89
Mid Cap FundAxis Midcap Fund10.66
Multi Cap FundPGIM India Diversified Equity Fund10.58
Large Cap FundCanara Rob Bluechip Equity Fund9.86
Large & Mid CapMirae Asset Emerging Bluechip9.71
Equity Linked Savings SchemeMirae Asset Tax Saver Fund9.66
ThematicTaurus Ethical Fund9.51
Equity Linked Savings SchemeCanara Rob Equity Tax Saver Fund9.29
Large Cap FundAxis Bluechip Fund8.91
Small cap FundQuant Small Cap Fund8.71
Multi Cap FundCanara Rob Equity Diver Fund8.35
Multi Cap FundAxis Multicap Fund8.18
ConsumptionQuant Consumption Fund8.16
Mid Cap FundPGIM India Midcap Opp Fund8.15
Energy & PowerTata Resources & Energy Fund7.93
GlobalFranklin Asian Equity Fund7.66
ConsumptionNippon India Consumption Fund7.47
Thematic FundCanara Rob Consumer Trends Fund7.46
Mid Cap FundInvesco India Midcap Fund7.35
Large Cap FundBNP Paribas Large Cap Fund7.02
Large Cap FundMirae Asset Large Cap Fund6.92
Multi Cap FundUTI Equity Fund6.75
Mid Cap FundQuant Mid Cap Fund6.65
GlobalNippon India Japan Equity Fund6.59
Multi Cap FundUnion Multi Cap Fund6.57
Equity Linked Savings SchemeKotak Tax Saver Fund6.45
Large & Mid CapKotak Equity Opp Fund6.39
BenchmarkS&P BSE SENSEX – TRI6.18
Multi Cap FundMahindra Manulife Multi Cap Badhat Yojana6.17
Index – SensexTata Index Fund-Sensex Plan6.07
Focused FundICICI Pru Focused Equity Fund6.00
Index – SensexICICI Pru Sensex Index Fund5.87
Thematic FundTata Ethical Fund5.85
Mid Cap FundDSP Midcap Fund5.81
Index – SensexNippon India Index Fund – Sensex Plan5.79
Equity Linked Savings SchemeBNP Paribas Long Term Equity Fund5.77
Large & Mid CapTata Large & Mid Cap Fund5.77
Mid Cap FundTata Mid Cap Growth Fund5.75
Index – SensexHDFC Index Fund-Sensex5.74
Focused FundPrincipal Focused Multicap Fund5.67
Large Cap FundIDFC Large Cap Fund5.61
ConsumptionMirae Asset Great Consumer Fund5.61
Thematic FundSBI Magnum Equity ESG Fund5.52
Equity Linked Savings SchemeInvesco India Tax Plan5.50
Index – SensexLIC MF Index Fund-Sensex Plan5.48
Large Cap FundJM Large Cap Fund5.41
Large Cap FundKotak Bluechip Fund5.35
Thematic FundAditya Birla SL India GenNext Fund5.32
Equity Linked Savings SchemeUnion Long Term Equity Fund5.25
ConsumptionSBI Magnum Comma Fund5.11
Large Cap FundInvesco India Largecap Fund5.08
Focused FundAxis Focused 25 Fund5.03
Large Cap FundEdelweiss Large Cap Fund5.02
Equity Linked Savings SchemeAxis Long Term Equity Fund5.00
Focused FundSundaram Select Focus4.99
BenchmarkNIFTY 50 – TRI4.99
Index – NiftyIDFC Nifty Fund4.95
Equity Linked Savings SchemeBOI AXA Tax Advantage Fund4.93
MNCSBI Magnum Global Fund4.89
Large & Mid CapCanara Rob Emerg Equities Fund4.88
Focused FundMotilal Oswal Focused 25 Fund4.83
Equity Linked Savings SchemeDSP Tax Saver Fund4.78
Large Cap FundLIC MF Large Cap Fund4.75
IndexQuantum Nifty ETF4.74
Index – NiftyTata Index Fund-Nifty Plan4.72
Large & Mid CapQuant Large & Mid Cap Fund4.71
Large & Mid CapEdelweiss Large & Mid Cap Fund4.69
Multi Cap FundKotak Standard Multicap Fund4.66
Index – NiftyUTI Nifty Index Fund4.65
Large Cap FundPGIM India Large Cap Fund4.64
Index – NiftyIDBI Nifty Index Fund4.63
ContraInvesco India Contra Fund4.62
Large & Mid CapInvesco India Growth Opp Fund4.60
Index – NiftyICICI Pru Nifty Index Fund4.55
Index – NiftyNippon India Index Fund – Nifty Plan4.54
Index – NiftyHDFC Index Fund-NIFTY 50 Plan4.52
Index – NiftyTaurus Nifty Index Fund4.48
Large Cap FundIDBI India Top 100 Equity Fund4.48
ContraKotak India EQ Contra Fund4.46
Large Cap FundBaroda Large Cap Fund4.42
Index – NiftyLIC MF Index Fund-Nifty Plan4.35
Index – NiftySBI Nifty Index Fund4.33
Focused FundSBI Focused Equity Fund4.30
Index – NiftyAditya Birla SL Index Fund4.23
BenchmarkNIFTY 100 – TRI4.18
Mid Cap FundTaurus Discovery (Midcap) Fund4.18
Index – NiftyFranklin India Index Fund-NSE Nifty4.16
Value FundUTI Value Opp Fund4.15
BenchmarkS&P BSE 200 – TRI4.12
Mid Cap FundNippon India Growth Fund4.01
BenchmarkS&P BSE 250 LargeMidCap Index – TRI3.96
Large Cap FundUTI Mastershare3.91
Focused FundAditya Birla SL Focused Equity Fund3.91
Large & Mid CapLIC MF Large & Midcap Fund-3.86
Multi Cap FundDSP Equity Fund3.84
Mid Cap FundMahindra Manulife Mid Cap Unnati Yojana-3.78
Mid Cap FundBNP Paribas Mid Cap Fund3.72
Multi Cap FundLIC MF Multi Cap Fund3.71
Large Cap FundL&T India Large Cap Fund3.71
Value FundICICI Pru Value Discovery Fund3.65
Dividend YieldUTI Dividend Yield Fund3.57
Mid Cap FundKotak Emerging Equity Fund3.53
Equity Linked Savings SchemeTata India Tax Savings Fund(DP)-Direct Plan3.52
Focused FundDSP Focus Fund3.44
BenchmarkNIFTY 200 – TRI3.40
Large Cap FundHSBC Large Cap Equity Fund3.36
Small cap FundSBI Small Cap Fund3.36
Large Cap FundICICI Pru Bluechip Fund3.34
Focused FundQuant Focused Fund3.33
Large Cap FundEssel Large Cap Equity Fund3.18
Equity Linked Savings SchemeUTI LT Equity Fund (Tax Saving)3.16
Dividend YieldPrincipal Dividend Yield Fund3.15
Large & Mid CapDSP Equity Opportunities Fund3.14
Equity Linked Savings SchemeJM Tax Gain Fund3.11
Equity Linked Savings SchemeICICI Pru LT Equity Fund (Tax Saving)3.05
MNCAditya Birla SL MNC Fund3.02
Equity Linked Savings SchemeTaurus Tax Shield Fund3.01
Large & Mid CapSundaram Large and Mid Cap Fund2.96
BenchmarkNIFTY 500 – TRI2.91
Large & Mid CapSBI Large & Midcap Fund2.91
Large & Mid CapEssel Large & Midcap Fund2.90
Equity Linked Savings SchemePGIM India LT Equity Fund2.88
Thematic FundNippon India Quant Fund2.81
Small cap FundKotak Small Cap Fund2.68
Multi Cap FundEdelweiss Multi-Cap Fund2.63
ConsumptionICICI Pru FMCG Fund2.54
Equity Linked Savings SchemeEssel Long Term Advantage Fund2.50
Small cap FundUnion Small Cap Fund2.43
Large Cap FundSBI BlueChip Fund2.41
InfrastructureQuant Infrastructure Fund2.39
Thematic FundInvesco India PSU Equity Fund2.37
ConsumptionTata India Consumer Fund2.25
Multi Cap FundAditya Birla SL Equity Fund2.24
Equity Linked Savings SchemeSBI Long Term Equity Fund2.14
Equity Linked Savings SchemeAditya Birla SL Tax Relief ’962.12
Equity Linked Savings SchemeHDFC Long Term Adv Fund2.12
Large Cap FundTata Large Cap Fund2.11
Mid Cap FundUTI Mid Cap Fund2.06
Large Cap FundIndiabulls Blue Chip Fund2.05
Large & Mid CapPrincipal Emerging Bluechip Fund2.04
Equity Linked Savings SchemeLIC MF Tax Plan2.00
Equity Linked Savings SchemeEdelweiss Long Term Equity Fund (Tax Savings)1.93
Multi Cap FundBNP Paribas Multi Cap Fund1.91
ConsumptionAditya Birla SL Mfg. Equity Fund1.90
Focused FundIDBI Focused 30 Equity Fund1.87
Large Cap FundUnion Largecap Fund1.87
Focused FundIDFC Focused Equity Fund1.86
Mid Cap FundEdelweiss Mid Cap Fund1.74
Service IndustryICICI Pru Exports & Services Fund1.72
Multi Cap FundIDBI Diversified Equity Fund1.71
Large Cap FundAditya Birla SL Frontline Equity Fund1.65
Focused FundBNP Paribas Focused 25 Equity Fund1.64
Multi Cap FundSBI Magnum Multicap Fund1.61
Multi Cap FundJM Multicap Fund1.61
Large Cap FundTaurus Largecap Equity Fund1.54
InfrastructureInvesco India Infrastructure Fund1.40
Thematic FundFranklin India Opportunities Fund1.37
Equity Linked Savings SchemeMahindra Manulife ELSS Kar Bachat Yojana1.32
Multi Cap FundBaroda Multi Cap Fund1.26
Multi Cap FundICICI Pru Multicap Fund1.10
Large & Mid CapHDFC Growth Opp Fund1.10
ConsumptionUTI India Consumer Fund1.09
Large Cap FundDSP Top 100 Equity Fund1.07
Large & Mid CapIDFC Core Equity Fund1.05
Large Cap FundHDFC Top 100 Fund1.03
Equity Linked Savings SchemeAditya Birla SL Tax Plan0.96
Value FundNippon India Value Fund0.83
Large & Mid CapICICI Pru Large & Mid Cap Fund0.80
Banks & Financial ServicesSBI Banking & Financial Services Fund0.78
Mid Cap FundMotilal Oswal Midcap 30 Fund0.73
Multi Cap FundInvesco India Multicap Fund0.57
Equity Linked Savings SchemeIndiabulls Tax Savings Fund0.53
Large & Mid CapAditya Birla SL Equity Advantage Fund0.42
Focused FundFranklin India Focused Equity Fund0.41
Large & Mid CapL&T Large and Midcap Fund0.37
Mid Cap FundL&T Midcap Fund0.32
Focused FundNippon India Focused Equity Fund0.22
Mid Cap FundBaroda Mid-cap Fund0.21
Multi Cap FundFranklin India Equity Fund0.20
Large Cap FundNippon India Large Cap Fund0.12
Multi Cap FundPrincipal Multi Cap Growth Fund0.10
Small cap FundNippon India Small Cap Fund0.08
Mid Cap FundSBI Magnum Midcap Fund0.07
Value FundTata Equity P/E Fund0.03
Multi Cap FundL&T Equity Fund0.00
GlobalAditya Birla SL Intl. Equity Fund-B-0.06
Value FundL&T India Value Fund-0.07
Large Cap FundFranklin India Bluechip Fund-0.07
Small cap FundICICI Pru Smallcap Fund-0.21
Small cap FundDSP Small Cap Fund-0.23
Thematic FundSundaram Rural and Consumption Fund-0.25
Multi Cap FundHSBC Multi Cap Equity Fund-0.30
Large & Mid CapNippon India Vision Fund-0.34
Dividend YieldTempleton India Equity Income Fund-0.35
Mid Cap FundHDFC Mid-Cap Opportunities Fund-0.35
Equity Linked Savings SchemeHSBC Tax Saver Equity Fund-0.36
Multi Cap FundHDFC Equity Fund-0.38
Equity Linked Savings SchemePrincipal Tax Savings Fund-Direct Plan-0.44
Dividend YieldAditya Birla SL Dividend Yield Fund-0.60
Multi Cap FundMotilal Oswal Multicap 35 Fund-0.63
Equity Linked Savings SchemePrincipal Personal Tax saver Fund-Direct Plan-0.66
Value FundJM Value Fund-0.67
Index – Nifty Next 50IDBI Nifty Junior Index Fund-0.78
InfrastructureSBI Infrastructure Fund-0.81
Mid Cap FundFranklin India Prima Fund-0.86
Index – NiftyDSP Equal Nifty 50 Fund-0.98
Index Funds – OtherSundaram Smart NIFTY 100 Eq Weight Fund-1.00
Equity Linked Savings SchemeIDFC Tax Advt(ELSS) Fund-1.01
Equity Linked Savings SchemeBaroda ELSS 96-1.01
Equity Linked Savings SchemeIDBI Equity Advantage Fund-1.09
Equity Linked Savings SchemeQuantum Tax Saving Fund-1.12
Equity Linked Savings SchemeL&T Tax Advt Fund-1.15
Large & Mid CapBOI AXA Large & Mid Cap Equity Fund-1.19
Mid Cap FundIDBI Midcap Fund-1.22
Index – Nifty Next 50ICICI Pru Nifty Next 50 Index Fund-1.23
Mid Cap FundICICI Pru Midcap Fund-1.23
Multi Cap FundIDFC Multi Cap Fund-1.27
Banks & Financial ServicesTata Banking & Financial Services Fund-1.28
Banks & Financial ServicesInvesco India Financial Services Fund-1.30
Value FundQuantum Long Term Equity Value Fund-1.32
Large & Mid CapUTI Core Equity Fund-1.35
ContraSBI Contra Fund-1.37
GlobalAditya Birla SL CEF-Global Agri-1.40
Value FundHDFC Capital Builder Value Fund-1.55
Banks & Financial ServicesTaurus Banking & Fin Serv Fund-1.70
InfrastructureTaurus Infrastructure Fund-1.72
Index Funds – OtherPrincipal Nifty 100 Equal Weight Fund-1.72
Banks & Financial ServicesSundaram Fin Serv Opp Fund-1.96
Equity Linked Savings SchemeMotilal Oswal Long Term Equity Fund-2.00
Equity Linked Savings SchemeHDFC TaxSaver-2.06
Equity Linked Savings SchemeFranklin India Taxshield-2.21
Multi Cap FundTaurus Starshare (Multi Cap) Fund-2.32
InfrastructureBOI AXA Mfg & Infra Fund-2.43
Focused FundJM Core 11 Fund-2.49
Large & Mid CapFranklin India Equity Advantage Fund-2.97
Multi Cap FundNippon India Multi Cap Fund-3.20
Banks & Financial ServicesBaroda Banking & Fin Serv Fund-3.25
Equity Linked Savings SchemeSundaram Diversified Equity-3.39
InfrastructureFranklin Build India Fund-3.78
InfrastructureLIC MF Infra Fund-3.82
Small cap FundIDBI Small Cap Fund-4.30
Focused FundHDFC Focused 30 Fund-4.46
Mid Cap FundAditya Birla SL Midcap Fund-4.47
ConsumptionSBI Consumption Opp Fund-4.51
Dividend YieldICICI Pru Dividend Yield Equity Fund-4.51
Value FundIndiabulls Value Fund-4.64
Thematic FundL&T Business Cycle Fund-4.70
InfrastructureCanara Rob Infrastructure Fund-4.89
Small cap FundHDFC Small Cap Fund-5.06
Energy & PowerDSP Natural Res & New Energy Fund-5.12
Mid Cap FundSundaram Mid Cap Fund-5.14
Banks & Financial ServicesICICI Pru Banking & Fin Serv Fund-5.27
InfrastructureTata Infrastructure Fund-5.45
Banks & Financial ServicesLIC MF Banking & Financial Services Fund-6.27
InfrastructureKotak Infra & Eco Reform Fund-6.35
InfrastructureSundaram Infra Advantage Fund-6.44
InfrastructureUTI Infrastructure Fund-6.52
Energy & PowerNippon India Power & Infra Fund-6.69
Small cap FundL&T Emerging Businesses Fund-6.90
InfrastructureICICI Pru Infrastructure Fund-7.02
Small cap FundFranklin India Smaller Cos Fund-7.09
Value FundIDFC Sterling Value Fund-7.12
Value FundTempleton India Value Fund-7.20
Small cap FundHSBC Small Cap Equity Fund-7.33
Banks & Financial ServicesAditya Birla SL Banking & Financial Services Fund-7.35
Thematic FundDSP India T.I.G.E.R Fund-7.51
Equity Linked Savings SchemeNippon India Tax Saver (ELSS) Fund-8.11
Small cap FundSundaram Small Cap Fund-8.43
InfrastructureAditya Birla SL Infrastructure Fund-9.49
InfrastructureL&T Infrastructure Fund-9.71
Value FundAditya Birla SL Pure Value Fund-9.77
Thematic FundSBI PSU Fund-9.78
Small cap FundAditya Birla SL Small Cap Fund-10.48
AutoUTI Transportation & Logistics Fund-10.49
Banks & Financial ServicesNippon India Banking Fund-10.63
Banks & Financial ServicesUTI Banking and Financial Services Fund-11.10
InfrastructureIDFC Infrastructure Fund-12.76
InfrastructureHDFC Infrastructure Fund-17.99
InfrastructureHSBC Infra Equity Fund-19.26
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