ICICI Prudential Multicap Fund Review: Can it be the only equity fund in our portfolio

Published: May 12, 2019 at 10:07 am

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If you explore the list of multicap mutual funds, something strange might catch your eye.  ICICI Prudential Multicap Fund started in October 1994 has only an AUM of about 3600 Crores. Let us find out how this fund has performed keeping in mind its evolution over time.

ICICI Prudential Multicap Fund: History

Some mutual funds are like IPL teams that can never quite get the combination right. Even CSK, perhaps for the first time had this trouble this year. One can learn a lot by studying mutual fund factsheets. ICICI Prudential Multicap Fund has had multiple avatars in the past. It started out as Pru Power Fund that can invest in “core sector and associated feeder industries”

It has. for the most part of its existence, remained a large and midcap (~ 10%) fund, sometimes promoted as a fund that could invest in  “a concentrated multi-sector portfolio”. By April 2011, ICICI Prudential Power became ICIC Prudential Top 200 fund. It still had nifty as a benchmark and classified as a large and midcap fund.

By October 2015, ICIC Top 200 Fund became ICICI Prudential Multicap Fund and still a large and midcap fund.  Its product label was:  A growth-oriented equity fund that invests in equity and equity-related securities of core sectors and associated feeder industries

ICICI Prudential Multicap Fund Review: Can it be the only equity fund in our portfolio?

It was only in early 2017, the benchmark was changed to BSE 200 (although there is not much of a difference in returns). All this while the benchmark was only Nifty while the fund was a large and midcap fund. Until April 2018, it remained a full invested large and midcap fund. That is, it’s bond allocation was only 5% (max).

Since then it has become a multicap fund with some small-cap exposure and the freedom to invest up to 35% in fixed income and the benchmark was changed from BSE 200 to BSE 500. The fund has seen 7 fund managers from 2006 with ICIC’s Dhoni adding himself as co-fund manager from Oct 2018.

The since inception performance in comparison to its present benchmark is not a pleasant sight, but we will have to dig deeper.ICICI Prudential Multicap Fund since inception performanceICICI Prudential Multicap Fund since inception performance. Courtesy Value Research


The fund has been a large and midcap fund for most of its existence. Although the above graph does not portray the fund in good light, it does have a reasonable record of downside protection. That is, whenever the index fell (over a month), the fund typically fell less. The fund has only captured 89% of benchmark losses over the last 10 years, 78% over the last 5 years and 83% over the last 3 years. It is reasonable to expect the same kind of performance in its new avatar.

ICICI Prudential Multicap Fund vs Nifty

The fund has managed to consistently beat the Nifty over 10Y and since late 2013 over 5Y at a lower risk.

ICICI Prudential Multicap Fund vs Nifty 3 and 5 year rolling returns

ICICI Prudential Multicap Fund vs Nifty 10 year rolling returns and risk


ICICI Prudential Multicap Fund vs Peers

A comparison with Franklin India Equity Fund (Prima Plus), ABSL Equity and Kotak Standard Multicap shows that the ICICI fund is neither an outperformer or an underperformer. The Franklin fund has had lower volatility and a bit more return.

CICI Prudential Multicap Fund vs Peers: 5Y returns

CICI Prudential Multicap Fund vs Peers: 5Y risk

Can ICICI Multicap be the only equity fund in our portfolio?

First of all, a multicap fund in a portfolio makes sense only if it is the only fund. Second of all, even though the term multicap brings about an idea of equal exposure to large,mid and small cap stocks, for most investors a large cap core and mid and small cap satellite portfolio will be the best suited. Third of all, large AUM multicap funds tend to become large and midcap or large capish funds.

Considering the above, and the performance of ICICI Multicap fund, if you are looking for a “quiet”, relatively unpopular fund, then yes, this fund can work as the only fund in an equity portfolio. However, if you start diluting its role by adding on more funds, then its utility will quickly vanish.

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