NPS Tier 1 Equity Scheme Performance vs Nifty 50 and Nifty 100

NPS Tier 1 Equity Scheme Returns Performance Report 2019

Published: September 7, 2019 at 11:42 am

Last Updated on

Here is how the NPS Tier 1 Equity Schemes (“E”) have performed since inception. Many mistakenly assume NPS equity schemes are index mutual funds tracking Nifty 50. A look at the scheme portfolios would immediately dispel that myth. The NPS E schemes hold close to 100 stocks.

Getting the historical NAV history of the NPS schemes is an exercise in of itself and I shall detail how painful this with missing links and unhelpful web formats in a video.  Kindly note that the following data/analysis is presented only for information. Regular readers may be aware that I am strongly opposed to the NPS. See: Do Not Invest Rs. 50,000 in NPS for additional tax saving benefit in 2019! Also: NPS has EEE (tax-free) Status! Here is why you should still not invest (ps. it is not exactly EEE, but that is how they like to portray it). If anything, these results will add one more reason for you to stay away from NPS!

NPS Tier 1 Equity Scheme Details

Date Source: NPS Trust Date: July 31st 2019

Pension Fund (PF)Assets (Crores)Inception Date
SBI PF2,506.0315-May-09
LIC PF572.5523-Jul-13
UTI PF386.5421-May-09
Reliance PF97.8721-May-09
Kotak PF284.9715-May-09
HDFC PF2,333.4601-Aug-13
Birla PF47.8309-May-17

Notice that LIC, HDFC and Birla pension funds (PF) are quite new. The AUM here corresponds only to that of individual NPS subscribers. Govt, corporate and NPS lite AUM is held in separate funds.

NPS Tier 1 Equity Scheme Returns (as on 31 July 2019)

NPS Tier 1 Equity Scheme Returns as on 31 July 2019The benchmark used by NPS Trust seems to be only the NIfty 50 price index (not including dividends) but even that some NPS E schemes are trouble beating. The difference is a lot more than the expense ratio (which is advertised as lower than normal mutual funds!).

It is high time PFRDA makes NPS mutual fund schemes as plain index schemes!


Five year rolling return performance of NPS Tier 1 E Schemes

Let us now compare every possible five, seven and ten-year returns of these schemes with both Nifty 50 TRI and Nifty 100 TRI.

LIC Pension Fund Tier 1 Scheme E (5Y)

NPS LIC Tier 1 E scheme five year performance

Kotak Pension Fund Tier 1 Scheme E (5Y)

NPS Kotak Tier 1 E scheme five year performance

SBI Pension Fund Tier 1 Scheme E (5Y)

NPS SBI Tier 1 E scheme five year performance

Want to know how to reduce fear, doubt and uncertainty while investing for financial goals? Sign up for our lectures on goal-based portfolio management and join our exclusive Facebook Community

UTI Pension Fund Tier 1 Scheme E (5Y)

NPS UTI Tier 1 E scheme five year performance

Seven year rolling return performance of NPS Tier 1 E Schemes

UTI Pension Fund Tier 1 Scheme E (7Y)

NPS UTI Tier 1 E scheme seven year performance

SBI Pension Fund Tier 1 Scheme E (7Y)

NPS SBI Tier 1 E scheme seven year performance

Kotak Pension Fund Tier 1 Scheme E (7Y)

NPS Kotak Tier 1 E scheme seven year performanceThe performance is neither consistent nor inspiring confidence.

Ten year rolling return performance of NPS Tier 1 E Schemes

NPS Tier 1 E all schemes ten year performanceAlthough we have only 116 10-year data points (meaning we are looking at a short investment window), it is not exactly promising. The underperformance is more than that due to expenses. Is it because NPS pension fund managers are not as motivated (incentivised) as AMC fund managers?


You have seen the 5,7 and 10-year performance of NPS Tier 1 E schemes. Would you invest in such normal mutual funds? Would you lock in your money into such mutual funds just because the pension plan has an equity option and just because you get some extra tax benefit? Even if you want tax benefits, even if you have no choice regarding NPS at the very least choose a mix of G (govt bonds) and C (corporate bonds) and invest in equity elsewhere.

This is the reason, I will never change my NPS Central Government asset allocation of primary gilts with 15% equity. I am more than happy with my 9.69% annualized return since 8th March 2010. Yesterday, I have discussed creating the “ideal” retirement plan with income flooring! My aim is to ensure income flooring with the mandatory 40% annuity that I have to buy.

If the NPS E schemes were plain index funds tracking Nifty 50, there is cause to complain. They clearly are not such index funds. If PFRDA wants them to be active funds then they better use total return benchmarks, monitor performance and pull out fund managers who underperform. It would be better for everyone’s peace of mind if they were simple index funds.


Do share if you found this useful
Hate ads but would like to support the site? Subscribe to our ad-free newsletter and get beautifully formatted full articles delivered to your inbox!

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

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. We operate in a non-profit manner. All revenue is used only for expenses and for the future growth of the site. Follow us on Google News
Freefincal serves more than one million readers a year (2.5 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 kind of paid articles, promotions or 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 investingThis book is meant to help you ask the right questions, seek the right 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 low cost! Get it or gift it to a young earner

Your Ultimate Guide to Travel


This is a deep dive analysis into vacation planning, finding cheap flights, budget accommodation, what to do when traveling, how traveling 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 Apps for your Android Phone

Comment Policy

Your thoughts are the driving force behind our work. We welcome criticism and differing opinions.Please do not include hyperlinks or email ids in the comment body. Such comments will be moderated and I reserve the right to delete the entire comment or remove the links before approving them.


  1. Hi, nps investments have a tax advantage in the year of subscription – would be great if you did an analysis by tax slab (including the newly introduced surcharge impacts for incomes greater than 2 & 5 Crores).

  2. Which PFM is performing best to the investors aspirations as a whole?I am a new entrant in NPS and my goal is long term say about 35 years.Please suggest if possible.Also suggest for another case where the goal is of 10 years only,which PFM would be suitable?

  3. It will be better if above calculations are done agter considering additional tax rebate available inNPS under section 80ccd1(b).

  4. NPS currently does have some disadvantages vs. mutual funds. But I foresee that 20 years down the line, all equity related products might have the same treatment during withdrawal. Even PF’s might be taxed. So no point bothering about withdrawals when your term is over 20 years.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *