List of worst equity mutual funds (Jan 2013 to Jan 2023)

Published: January 8, 2023 at 6:00 am

This is a list of the worst-performing equity mutual funds over every possible five, four, and three periods between 1st Jan 2013 (introduction date of direct plans) to Jan 5th 2023.

Some caveats before we begin:  (1) The definition of a “worst mutual fund” is as arbitrary as the definition of a “best mutual fund”. We hope that it is a reasonable definition, considering the high fees demanded by the MF industry.  This is one of the highest in the world, according to a Morningstar study. (2) We choose a representative category benchmark and compare the fund’s returns with the benchmark over the above-mentioned periods. The choice of the benchmark is also arbitrary but reasonably representative. (3) SEBI mutual fund categorization rules were fully in place by May-June 2018. Some funds (particularly those from smaller AMCs) may have changed significantly changed in style after that. An exhaustive filtration taking these changes into account is beyond the capabilities of this study.

(4) A fund labelled as “worst” means a careful, deeper investigation of its past performance is necessary, particularly if you invest in it or consider future investments in it. (5) Sectoral funds/ thematic funds are compared with Nifty 100 TRI. As a data analyst, this choice is incorrect. However, as an investor, it makes sense, and that is more important! We are not trying to submit a thesis here! If a thematic fund fails against a large cap index, it is an avoidable fund for most investors.

How a worst mutual fund is defined

Say there are 800 five-year return periods possible; 1025 four-year return periods; 1300 three-year return periods. We shall define a fund as “worst” if it has beaten the benchmark for less than 50% of the 5Y and 4Y and 3Y return periods.

Let us take, for example, Sundaram Focused Fund (Formerly Known as Principal Focused Multicap Fund)- Direct Plan – Growth Option. We compare it with Nifty Largemidcap 250 TRI.


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  • No of rolling return entries (3 Years) 1469
  • No of times the fund has outperformed the index (3 years) 517
  • rolling return outperformance Consistency Score (3 years) 35%
  • No of rolling return entries (4 Years) 1224
  • No of times the fund has outperformed the index (4 years) 534
  • rolling return outperformance Consistency Score (4 years) 41%
  • No of rolling return entries (5 Years) 976
  • No of times the fund has outperformed the index (5 years) 226
  • rolling return outperformance Consistency Score (5 years) 23%

Using our monthly Equity Mutual Fund Screener, we filer out all funds with a rolling return outperformance consistency of less than 50% over five years and four years and three years. This will be our definition of a “worst fund”. We make no claim of superiority over this definition. We just feel this is reasonable while appreciating that not all readers will agree with the methodology used.

NOTE: Investors holding these funds need not exit them in a hurry. Please use this as a sign to dig deeper and re-evaluate these funds. A fund absent from this list does not mean it is a “good fund” or an outperformer!

The filtration process

A total of 391 equity mutual funds were studied from these categories and against these benchmarks.

CategoryBenchmark
Aggressive Hybrid FundCrisil6535
Dividend Yield FundNifty 100 TRI
ELSSN200TRI
Focussed FundNifty Largemidcap 250 TRI
Large & Mid Cap FundNifty Largemidcap 250 TRI
Large Cap FundNifty 100 TRI
Mid Cap FundNiftyMidcap150TRI
Multi Cap FundNifty500 Multicap 50:25:25 TRI
Flexi Cap FundNifty Largemidcap 250 TRI
Sectoral/ ThematicNifty 100 TRI
Sectoral/ Thematic (international)Nifty 100 TRI
Small Cap FundNiftyMidcap150TRI
Value FundNifty 100 TRI

We are left with 132 funds after applying the above filter.

Aggressive Hybrid Funds

JM Equity Hybrid Fund (Direct) – Growth Option
Franklin India Equity Hybrid Fund – Direct – Growth
Tata Hybrid Equity Fund -Direct Plan- Growth Option
UTI – Hybrid Equity Fund -Direct Plan – Growth
Aditya Birla Sun Life Equity Hybrid’95 Fund – Direct Plan-Growth
Nippon India Equity Hybrid Fund- Direct Plan Growth Plan
LIC MF Equity Hybrid Fund-Direct Plan-Growth
L&T Hybrid Equity Fund – Direct Plan-Growth
Baroda BNP Paribas Aggressive Hybrid Fund- DIRECT PLAN – GROWTH OPTION
Shriram Hybrid Equity Fund- Direct Growth
PGIM India Hybrid Equity Fund – Direct Plan – Growth
IDBI Hybrid Equity Fund Growth Direct
IDFC Hybrid Equity Fund-Direct Plan Growth

 Dividend Yield Funds

UTI-Dividend Yield Fund.-Growth-Direct
Aditya Birla Sun Life Dividend Yield Fund – Growth – Direct Plan
ICICI Prudential Dividend Yield Equity Fund Direct Plan Growth Option

 ELSS Funds

Franklin India TAXSHIELD – Direct – Growth
HDFC Taxsaver – Growth Option – Direct Plan
HSBC Tax Saver Equity Fund – Growth Direct
Nippon India Tax Saver Fund – Direct Plan Growth Plan – Growth Option
SBI LONG TERM EQUITY FUND – DIRECT PLAN -GROWTH
LIC MF Tax Plan-Direct Plan-Growth
Edelweiss Long Term Equity Fund (Tax Savings) – Direct Plan-Growth Option
L&TTax Advantage Fund-Direct Plan-Growth
IDBI Equity Advantage Fund – Growth Direct
Shriram Long Term Equity Fund – Direct Growth
Sundaram Tax Savings Fund(G)-Direct Plan
UTI – Long Term Equity Fund (Tax Saving) – Direct Plan – Growth Option
Principal Personal Tax Saver Fund – Direct Plan
Tata India Tax Savings Fund-Growth-Direct Plan
Union Long Term Equity Fund – Direct Plan – Growth Option
Navi ELSS Tax Saver Fund- Direct Plan- Growth Option
Mahindra Manulife ELSS Kar Bachat Yojana – Direct Plan -Growth
Indiabulls Tax Savings Fund- Direct Plan- Growth Option

 Focussed Funds

Franklin India Focused Equity Fund – Direct – Growth
HDFC Focused 30 Fund – Growth Option – Direct Plan
DSP Focus Fund – Direct Plan – Growth
IDFC Focused Equity Fund-Direct Plan-Growth
Aditya Birla Sun Life Focused Equity Fund – Growth – Direct Plan
ICICI Prudential Focused Equity Fund – Direct Plan – Growth
Motilal Oswal Focused 25 Fund (MOF25)- Direct Plan Growth Option
Sundaram Multi Cap Fund (Formerly Known as Principal Multi Cap Growth Fund)-Direct Plan – Growth Option
Sundaram Focused Fund (Formerly Known as Principal Focused Multicap Fund)- Direct Plan – Growth Option
IDBI FOCUSED 30 EQUITY FUND – Growth Direct

 Large & Midcap Funds

Franklin India Equity Advantage Fund – Direct – Growth
BOI AXA Large & Mid Cap Equity Fund Direct Plan-Growth
ICICI Prudential Large & Mid Cap Fund – Direct Plan – Growth
IDFC Core Equity Fund-Direct Plan-Growth
Nippon India Vision Fund – Direct Plan Growth Plan – Growth Option
Tata Large & MId Cap Fund -Direct Plan- Growth Option
UTI – Core Equity Fund – Direct Plan – Growth Option
Aditya Birla Sun Life Equity Advantage Fund – Growth – Direct Plan
L&T Large and Midcap Fund-Direct Plan-Growth
HDFC Large and Mid Cap Fund – Growth Option – Direct Plan

  Large cap funds

Franklin India Bluechip Fund- Direct – Growth
HDFC Top 100 Fund – Growth Option – Direct Plan
DSP Top 100 Equity Fund – Direct Plan – Growth
HSBC Large Cap Equity Fund – Growth Direct
IDFC Large Cap Fund-Direct Plan-Growth
Tata Large Cap Fund -Direct Plan Growth Option
Aditya Birla Sun Life Frontline Equity Fund – Growth – Direct Plan
JM Large Cap Fund (Direct) – Growth Option
Taurus Largecap Equity Fund – Direct Plan – Growth
LIC MF Large Cap Fund-Direct Plan-Growth
L&T India Large Cap Fund – Direct Plan – Growth
Navi Large Cap Equity Fund-Direct Plan-Growth Option
PGIM India Large Cap Fund – Direct Plan – Growth
Union Largecap Fund – Direct Plan – Growth Option

Midcap funds

Franklin India Prima Fund – Direct – Growth
HDFC Mid-Cap Opportunities Fund – Growth Option – Direct Plan
ICICI Prudential MidCap Fund – Direct Plan -Growth
Nippon India Growth Fund – Direct Plan Growth Plan – Growth Option
SBI Magnum MIDCAP FUND – DIRECT PLAN – GROWTH
Taurus Discovery (Midcap) Fund – Direct Plan – Growth
Sundaram Mid Cap Fund Direct Plan – Growth
Aditya Birla Sun Life Midcap Fund – Growth – Direct Plan
quant Mid Cap Fund – Growth Option – Direct Plan
BARODA BNP PARIBAS Mid Cap Fund – Direct Plan – Growth Option
Motilal Oswal Midcap 30 Fund (MOF30)-Direct Plan-Growth Option
BOI AXA MID & SMALL CAP EQUITY & DEBT FUND – DIRECT PLAN GROWTH
IDBI Midcap Fund Growth Direct

 Multicap funds

IDFC MULTI CAP FUND – GROWTH – DIRECT PLAN
Nippon India Multi Cap Fund – Direct Plan Growth Plan – Growth Option
Baroda BNP Paribas MULTI CAP FUND – Direct Plan – Growth Option

Flexicap Funds

Franklin India Flexi Cap Fund – Direct – Growth
HDFC Flexi Cap Fund – Growth Option – Direct Plan
HSBC Flexi Cap Fund – Growth Direct
Taurus Flexi Cap Fund – Direct Plan – Growth
Union Flexi Cap Fund – Direct Plan – Growth Option
LIC MF Flexi Cap Fund-Direct Plan-Growth
L&T Flexicap Fund-Direct Plan-Growth
IDBI FLEXI CAP FUND Growth Direct
Motilal Oswal Flexi cap Fund Direct Plan-Growth Option

 Sectoral or Thematic funds

Franklin India Opportunities Fund – Direct – Growth
HDFC Infrastructure Fund – Growth Option – Direct Plan
ICICI Prudential Infrastructure Fund – Direct Plan -Growth
IDFC Infrastructure Fund-Direct Plan-Growth
Invesco India PSU Equity Fund – Direct Plan – Growth
Nippon India Banking & Financial Services Fund – Direct Plan Growth Plan – Growth Option
Nippon India Power & Infra Fund – Direct Plan Growth Plan – Growth Option
Nippon India Quant Fund – Direct Plan Growth Plan – Growth Option
UTI – MNC Fund – Growth Option – Direct
UTI India Consumer Fund – Direct Plan – Growth Option
UTI Infrastructure Fund-Growth Option- Direct
UTI-Transpotation and LogisticsFund-Growth Option- Direct
Aditya Birla Sun Life Infrastructure Fund – Growth – Direct Plan
Aditya Birla Sun Life MNC Fund – Growth – Direct Plan
Baroda BNP Paribas Banking and Financial Services Fund – Direct – Growth Option
SBI PSU Fund – DIRECT PLAN – GROWTH
LIC MF Infrastructure Fund-Direct Plan-Growth
HSBC Infrastructure Equity Fund – Growth Direct
Sundaram Infrastructure Advantage Fund Direct Plan – Growth
L&T Business Cycles Fund – Direct Plan – Growth
Kotak Infrastructure & Economic Reform Fund- Direct Plan- Growth Option
Aditya Birla Sun Life Manufacturing Equity Fund – Direct Plan – Growth
LIC MF Banking and Financial Services Fund-Direct Plan-Growth
HDFC Housing Opportunities Fund- Growth Option – Direct Plan

 Sectoral/ Thematic (international)

Franklin Asian Equity Fund – Direct – Growth
Aditya Birla Sun Life Commodity Equities Fund – Global Agri Plan – Growth – Direct Plan
Aditya Birla Sun Life International Equity Fund – Plan A – Growth – Direct Plan
Aditya Birla Sun Life International Equity Fund – Plan B – Growth – Direct Plan
Nippon India Japan Equity Fund- Direct Plan- Growth Plan- Growth Option

 Small Cap Funds

Franklin India Smaller Companies Fund – Direct – Growth
Sundaram Small Cap Fund – Direct Plan – Growth Option
Aditya Birla Sun Life Small Cap Fund – Growth – Direct Plan
HSBC Small Cap Equity Fund – Growth Direct
ICICI Prudential Smallcap Fund – Direct Plan – Growth
Union Small Cap Fund – Direct Plan – Growth Option

 Value funds

Aditya Birla Sun Life Pure Value Fund – Growth – Direct Plan
UTI Value Opportunities Fund- Direct Plan – Growth Option
Indiabulls Value Fund – Direct Plan – Growth Option

 

To reiterate: Investors holding these funds need not exit them in a hurry. Please use this as a sign to dig deeper and re-evaluate these funds. A fund absent from this list does not mean it is a “good fund” or an outperformer!

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