List of worst equity mutual funds (Jan 2013 to Mar 2021)

Published: March 28, 2021 at 10:03 am

Last Updated on August 9, 2021

This is a list of the worst-performing equity mutual funds over every possible five, four, three and two year period between 1st Jan 2013 (introduction date of direct plans) to March 8th 2021.

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. Some funds that we could recollect from memory have been removed. An exhaustive filtration 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; we are trying to make some money! 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; 1500 two 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 and 2Y return periods.


Let us take, for example, Principal Focused Multicap Fund- Direct Plan. We compare it with Nifty Largemidcap 250 TRI.

  • No of rolling return entries (2 Years) 1519
  • No of times fund has outperformed the index (2 years) 474
  • rolling return outperformance Consistency Score (2 years) 31%(474/1519)
  • No of rolling return entries (3 Years) 1272
  • No of times fund has outperformed the index (3 years) 352
  • rolling return outperformance Consistency Score (3 years) 28%
  • No of rolling return entries (4 Years) 1025
  • No of times fund has outperformed the index (4 years) 303
  • rolling return outperformance Consistency Score (4 years) 30%
  • No of rolling return entries (5 Years) 780
  • No of times fund has outperformed the index (5 years) 199
  • rolling return outperformance Consistency Score (5 years) 26%

Using the March 2021 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 and two years. This will be our definition of a “worst fund”. We make no claim of superiority over this definition. We just this it is reasonable.

The filtration process

A total of 368 equity mutual funds were studied from these categories and against these benchmarks.

CategoryBenchmark
Aggressive Hybrid FundCRISIL 65:35 Aggressive Hybrid Index
Contra FundNifty 100 TRI
Dividend Yield FundNifty 100 TRI
Large Cap FundNifty 100 TRI
ELSSNifty 100 TRI
Focussed FundNifty Largemidcap 250 TRI
Large & Mid Cap FundNifty Largemidcap 250 TRI
Multi-Cap FundNifty Largemidcap 250 TRI
Sectoral/ ThematicNifty Largemidcap 250 TRI
Value FundNifty Largemidcap 250 TRI
Mid Cap FundNiftyMidcap150TRI
Small Cap FundNiftyMidcap150TRI

We are left with 95 funds after applying the above filter.

Aggressive Hybrid Funds

  1. BARODA HYBRID EQUITY FUND – Plan B (Direct) – Growth Option
  2. JM Equity Hybrid Fund (Direct) – Growth Option
  3. Kotak Equity Hybrid – Growth – Direct
  4. LIC MF Equity Hybrid Fund-Direct Plan-Growth
  5. Shriram Hybrid Equity Fund- Direct-Growth

Contra Fund

  1. SBI CONTRA FUND – DIRECT PLAN – GROWTH

Dividend Yield Funds

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

ELSS Funds

  1. Baroda ELSS 96 Plan B(Direct) -Growth Option
  2. Essel Long Term Advantage Fund- Direct Plan-Growth Option
  3. HDFC TaxSaver -Direct Plan-Growth Option
  4. Principal Personal Tax Saver Fund – Direct Plan
  5. Nippon India Tax Saver Fund – Direct Plan-Growth Plan – Growth Option
  6. SBI MAGNUM TAX GAIN SCHEME 1993 – DIRECT PLAN -GROWTH
  7. Union Tax Saver Scheme – Direct Plan-Growth Option

Focussed Funds

  1. Aditya Birla Sun Life Focused Equity Fund – Growth – Direct Plan
  2. HDFC Focused 30 Fund -Direct Plan-Growth Option
  3. ICICI Prudential Focused Equity Fund – Direct Plan-Growth
  4. IDFC Focused Equity Fund-Direct Plan-Growth
  5. Principal Focused Multicap Fund- Direct Plan-Growth Option
  6. Sundaram Select Focus – Direct Plan-Growth Option

Large & Midcap Funds

  1. BOI AXA Large & Mid Cap Equity Fund Direct Plan-Growth
  2. Essel Large & Midcap Fund- Direct Plan-Growth Option
  3. Franklin India Equity Advantage Fund – Direct-Growth
  4. HDFC Growth Opportunities Fund – Direct-Growth Plan
  5. ICICI Prudential Large & Mid Cap Fund – Direct Plan-Growth
  6. IDFC Core Equity Fund-Direct Plan-Growth
  7. L&T Large and Midcap Fund-Direct Plan-Growth
  8. Nippon India Vision Fund – Direct Plan-Growth Plan – Growth Option
  9. UTI – Core Equity Fund – Direct Plan-Growth Option

Largecap funds

  1. Baroda Large cap Fund – Plan B (Direct) – Growth Option
  2. DSP Top 100 Equity Fund – Direct Plan-Growth
  3. Franklin India Bluechip Fund- Direct-Growth
  4. IDFC Large Cap Fund-Direct Plan-Growth
  5. JM Large Cap Fund (Direct) – Growth Option
  6. L&T India Large Cap Fund – Direct Plan-Growth
  7. Tata Large Cap Fund -Direct Plan-Growth
  8. Taurus Largecap Equity Fund-Direct Plan-Growth Option

Midcap funds

  1. Aditya Birla Sun Life Midcap Fund – Growth – Direct Plan
  2. Baroda Mid-cap Fund- Plan B (Direct) – Growth Option
  3. DHFL Pramerica Midcap Opportunities Fund – Direct Plan-Growth Option
  4. Motilal Oswal Midcap 30 Fund (MOF30)-Direct Plan-Growth Option
  5. Nippon India Growth Fund – Direct Plan-Growth Plan – Growth Option
  6. SBI Magnum MIDCAP FUND – DIRECT PLAN – GROWTH
  7. Sundaram Mid Cap Fund- Direct Plan-Growth Option
  8. UTI Mid Cap Fund-Growth Option- Direct

Multicap funds

  1. BARODA MULTI CAP FUND – Plan B (Direct) – Growth Option
  2. Canara Robeco Equity Diversified Fund-Direct Plan -Growth Option
  3. Franklin India Equity Fund – Direct-Growth
  4. HDFC Equity Fund -Direct Plan-Growth Option
  5. HSBC Multi-Cap Equity Fund – Growth Direct
  6. IDBI DIVERSIFIED EQUITY FUND Growth Direct
  7. IDFC Multi Cap Fund-Direct Plan-Growth
  8. L&T Equity Fund-Direct Plan-Growth
  9. LIC MF Multicap Fund-Direct Plan-Growth
  10. Nippon India Multi Cap Fund – Direct Plan-Growth Plan – Growth Option
  11. SBI Magnum Multicap Fund – DIRECT PLAN – Growth Option
  12. Sundaram Multi-Asset Fund Direct-Growth
  13. Taurus Star share (Multi Cap) Fund -Direct Plan-Growth Option
  14. Union Multi-Cap Fund – Direct Plan-Growth Option
  15. UTI – Equity Fund-Growth Option – Direct

Sectoral or Thematic funds

  1. Aditya Birla Sun Life Commodity Equities Fund – Global Agri Plan-Growth – Direct Plan
  2. Aditya Birla Sun Life International Equity Fund – Plan A – Growth – Direct Plan
  3. Aditya Birla Sun Life International Equity Fund – Plan B – Growth – Direct Plan
  4. Aditya Birla Sun Life Manufacturing Equity Fund – Direct Plan-Growth
  5. Franklin Asian Equity Fund – Direct-Growth
  6. HDFC Infrastructure Fund -Direct Plan-Growth Option
  7. HSBC Infrastructure Equity Fund – Growth Direct
  8. ICICI Prudential Infrastructure Fund – Direct Plan-Growth
  9. Kotak Infrastructure & Economic Reform Fund- Direct Plan-Growth Option
  10. L&T Business Cycles Fund – Direct Plan-Growth
  11. LIC MF Banking and Financial Services Fund-Direct Plan-Growth
  12. LIC MF Infrastructure Fund-Direct Plan-Growth
  13. Nippon India Consumption Fund – Direct Plan-Growth Plan – Growth Option
  14. Nippon India Japan Equity Fund- Direct Plan-Growth Plan- Growth Option
  15. Nippon India Power & Infra Fund – Direct Plan-Growth Plan – Growth Option
  16. Nippon India Quant Fund – Direct Plan-Growth Plan – Growth Option
  17. SBI CONSUMPTION OPPORTUNITIES FUND – DIRECT PLAN – GROWTH
  18. Sundaram Infrastructure Advantage Fund (Erstwhile Sundaram Capex Opportunities) Direct Plan-Growth
  19. UTI Healthcare Fund – Direct Plan-Growth Option
  20. UTI India Consumer Fund – Direct Plan-Growth Option
  21. UTI Infrastructure Fund-Growth Option- Direct

Small cap funds

  1. HSBC Small Cap Equity Fund – Growth Direct
  2. ICICI Prudential Smallcap Fund – Direct Plan-Growth
  3. Sundaram Small Cap Fund – Direct Plan-Growth Option
  4. Union Small Cap Fund – Direct Plan-Growth Option

Value funds

  1. Indiabulls Value Discovery Fund – Direct Plan-Growth Option
  2. UTI Value Opportunities Fund- Direct Plan-Growth Option

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!


Check out our new debt mutual fund screener for selection, tracking and learning (March 2021)


Do share if you found this useful

Use our Robo-advisory Excel Template for a start-to-finish financial plan! Now with a new demo video!  More than 640 investors and advisors use this!
Our flagship course! Learn to manage your portfolio like a pro to achieve your goals regardless of market conditions! More than 2525 investors and advisors are part of our exclusive Facebook Group! Get clarity on how to plan for your goals and achieve the necessary corpus no matter what the market condition is!! Watch the first lecture for free!  One-time payment! No recurring fees! Life-long access to videos in an exclusive Facebook Group! Reduce fear, uncertainty and doubt while investing! Learn how to plan for your goals before and after retirement with confidence.
Our new course!  Increase your income by getting people to pay for your skills! More than 585 salaried employees, entrepreneurs and financial advisors are part of our exclusive Facebook Group! Learn how to get people to pay for your skills! Whether you are a professional or small business owner who wants more clients via online visibility or a salaried person wanting a side income or passive income, we will show you how to achieve this by showcasing your skills and building a community that trusts you and pays you! (watch 1st lecture for free). One-time payment! No recurring fees! Life-long access to videos in an exclusive Facebook Group!   
My new book for kids: “Chinchu gets a superpower!” is now available!
Both boy and girl version covers of Chinchu gets a superpower
Both boy and girl version covers of Chinchu gets a superpower.
Most investor problems can be traced to a lack of informed decision making. We have all made bad decisions and money mistakes when we started earning and spent years undoing these mistakes. Why should our children go through the same pain? What is this book about? As parents, if we had to groom one ability in our children that is key not only to money management and investing but for any aspect of life, what would it be? My answer: Sound Decision Making. So in this book, we meet Chinchu, who is about to turn 10. What he wants for his birthday and how his parent’s plan for it and teach him several key ideas of decision making and money management is the narrative. What readers say!
Feedback from a young reader after reading Chinchu gets a Superpower (small version)
Feedback from a young reader after reading Chinchu gets a Superpower!
Must-read book even for adults! This is something that every parent should teach their kids right from their young age. The importance of money management and decision making based on their wants and needs. Very nicely written in simple terms. - Arun.
Buy the book: Chinchu gets a superpower for your child!
How to profit from content writing: Our new ebook for those interested in getting side income via content writing. It is available at a 50% discount for Rs. 500 only!
Did you know? We have more than 1000+ videos on YouTube to explore! Join our YouTube Community!

Want to check if the market is overvalued or undervalued? Use our market valuation tool (will work with any index!), or you buy the new Tactical Buy/Sell timing tool!
We publish mutual fund screeners and momentum, low volatility stock screeners .every month.
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 three print books, You can be rich too with goal-based investing (CNBC TV18), Gamechanger, Chinchu Gets a Superpower! and seven other free e-books on various money management topics. 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 based on money management. Previous engagements include World Bank, RBI, BHEL, Asian Paints, Cognizant, Madras Atomic Power Station, Honeywell, Tamil Nadu Investors Association, IIST Alumni Association. For speaking engagements, write to pattu [at] freefincal [dot] com
About freefincal & its content policy Freefincal is a News Media Organization dedicated to providing original analysis, reports, reviews and insights on developments in mutual funds, stocks, investing, retirement and personal finance. We do so without conflict of interest and bias. Follow us on Google News. Freefincal serves more than three million readers a year (5 million page views) with articles based only on factual information and detailed analysis by its authors. All statements made will be verified from credible and knowledgeable sources before publication. Freefincal does not publish any paid articles, promotions, PR, satire or opinions without data. All opinions presented will only be inferences backed by verifiable, reproducible evidence/data. Contact information: letters {at} freefincal {dot} com (sponsored posts or paid collaborations will not be entertained)
Connect with us on social media
Our publications

You Can Be Rich Too with Goal-Based Investing

You can be rich too with goal based investingPublished by CNBC TV18, this book is meant to help you ask the right questions, seek the correct answers, and since it comes with nine online calculators, you can also create custom solutions for your lifestyle! Get it now. It is also available in Kindle format.
Gamechanger: Forget Startups, Join Corporate & Still Live the Rich Life You Want Gamechanger: Forget Start-ups, Join Corporate and Still Live the Rich Life you wantThis book is meant for young earners to get their basics right from day one! It will also help you travel to exotic places at a low cost! Get it or gift it to a young earner.

Your Ultimate Guide to Travel

Travel-Training-Kit-Cover-new This is an in-depth dive analysis into vacation planning, finding cheap flights, budget accommodation, what to do when travelling, how travelling slowly is better financially and psychologically with links to the web pages and hand-holding at every step. Get the pdf for Rs 199 (instant download)
Free android apps