Why Value Research is wrong to offer one star to Principal Nifty 100 Equal Weight Fund

Published: December 1, 2018 at 11:51 am

Last Updated on

Principal Nifty 100 Equal Weight Fund has a one-star rating by Value Research (as on 1st Dec 2018 8:44 am). This is completely wrong and yet again shows how flawed mutual fund star ratings are. Allow me to explain. It is all very well to use math, statistics graphs and analysis and offer ratings to mutual funds but it crucial to understand when to use math and when not to. In the case of this,  Principal Nifty 100 Equal Weight Fund it is a case of “not to”.

Principal Nifty 100 Equal Weight Fund is one of two index funds following the Nifty 100 Equal Weight Index (N100EW). Sundaram has another. Value Research does not bother to list each fund as its peer! Now, I have sung the praise of N100EW more than once:

So readers/viewers (of freefincal @youtube), who for reasons best known to them still take star ratings seriously, have asked me? “Why does Principal Nifty 100 Equal Weight Fund have a one-star rating at VR?”, Why does this fund have a huge tracking error?”, “How can you still recommend this index, when the performance is so poor?” Well, this is what happens when people are lazy and their idea of “research” is to click on the first link that Google coughs up and assume it is right and comment like an expert on social media.

Never forget the history of a fund before taking its returns and star ratings seriously

Principal Nifty 100 Equal Weight Fund: History

When Principal was Principal PNB, they had a Principal Index Fund – Nifty, tracking the Nifty 50 since July 27 1999. They had another index fund, Principal Index Fund – Midcap, started on May 2014 and tracking the (then) Nifty Free Floate Midcap 100 index. Source: AMC factsheet April 2017

On June 9 2017, the Midcap index fund was closed and the AUM was merged with the Nifty Index fund. From an analysts point of view, this event is not an issue. The Nifty fund could still be rated the same way as nothing has changed except for a small AUM increase. Source: AMC factsheet May 2017

Now, on April 6th 2018, the AMC announced a change in a fundamental attribute of its Nifty index fund. This means that the scheme has changed significantly and as per SEBI rules unitholders will have an exit load free period to withdraw from the fund. With this announcement, Principal Index Fund – Nifty became Principal Nifty 100 Equal Weight Fund.

This is where Value Research goofed up. A fund tracking 50 stocks of a cap-weighted index became a 100 stock equal weight index fund overnight. Therefore, it is no longer eligible for star rating! They should have given it an “unrated status” right then!

They did not and the fund carried and continues to carry a wrong star rating for almost 8 months! They assume that this change in nature was simply a name change! Unfortunately, the goofs do not end there.

If you look at the June 2018 AMC factsheet it clearly says:

Since Benchmark of the Fund change from Nifty 50 to Nifty 100 Equal Weight (w.e.f 10-May-2018), Tracking Error is Calculated as below–
• Nifty 50 TRI is considered from ( 01-June-2015 to 09-May-2018) &
• Nifty 100 EqualWeightTRI is considered for (10-May-2018 to 31-may-2018)

Unfortunately, look at the way VR shows the NAV growth of the fund vs benchmark

snapshot of Principal Nifty 100 Equal Weight Fund page at value research

It evaluates the fund wrt N100EW TRI index from inception! So for someone who looks at this graph, they would go, “no wonder this has a one-star rating, look at the huge tracking error!”. The actual tracking error since June 2015 is 0.33% which is reasonable. Both the Principal and Sundaram N100EW funds are too young to be rated.

According to VR star rating methodology,

Value Research does not rate an equity or hybrid fund with less than 3-year performance and a debt fund with less than 18-month performance track record.

This fund has only a few months history of tracking N100EW and should not be rated!!

This is the correct tracking error graph (normalized) and with both indices accounted for from the right dates

Principal Nifty 100 Equal Weight Fund tracking error chart with normalized nav and index price movement

So that is quite reasonable. For the same dataset, these are the rolling returns over 3 years

Principal Nifty 100 Equal Weight Fund rolling returns 3 years

If you are a fan of Value Research star ratings, ask them to correct this. There is nothing wrong with Principal Nifty 100 Equal Weight Fund! It just started tracking N100EW.   If I have to choose between these two AMCs, I would choose Sundaram as it started from day one as an N100EW weight fund. Somehow I find that more appealing.

For God’s sake stop taking star ratings seriously! Do your own research!

Do share if you found this useful

About the Author M Pattabiraman author of freefincal.comM. Pattabiraman(PhD) is the author and owner of freefincal.com.  He is an associate professor at the Indian Institute of Technology, Madras since Aug 2006. Pattu” as he is popularly known, 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. Pattu publishes unbiased, promotion-free research, analysis and holistic money management advice. Freefincal serves more than one million readers a year (2.5 million page views) with numbers based analysis on topical issues and has more than a 100 free calculators on different aspects of insurance and investment analysis. He conducts free money management sessions for corporates  and associations(see details below). Previous engagements include World Bank, RBI, BHEL, Asian Paints, TamilNadu Investors Association etc. Contact information: freefincal {at} Gmail {dot} com (sponsored posts or paid collaborations will not be entertained)
Want to conduct a sales-free "basics of money management" session in your office?
I conduct free seminars to employees or societies. Only the very basics and getting-started steps are discussed (no scary math):For example: How to define financial goals, how to save tax with a clear goal in mind; How to use a credit card for maximum benefit; When to buy a house; How to start investing; where to invest; how to invest for and after retirement etc. depending on the audience. If you are interested, you can contact me: freefincal [at] Gmail [dot] com. I can do the talk via conferencing software, so there is no cost for your company. If you want me to travel, you need to cover my airfare (I live in Chennai)

Connect with us on social media

Content Policy

Freefincal has original unbiased, conflict-of-interest-free,  topical reports, reviews, commentary and analysis on all aspects of personal finance like mutual funds, stocks, insurance etc. All guest authors and contributors to the site also do not have any conflict of interest. If you find the content useful, please consider supporting us by (1) sharing our articles and (2) disabling ad-blockers for our site if you are using one. No promotional content We do not accept sponsored posts and link exchange requests from content writers and agencies. This is our privacy policy Our website is non-profit in nature. The revenue from the advertisement will only be used for hosting charges, domain registration charges, specific plugins necessary for traffic growth and analytics services for search engine optimisation.

Do check out my books

You Can Be Rich Too with Goal-Based Investing

You can be rich too with goal based investingMy first 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 WantGamechanger: Forget Start-ups, Join Corporate and Still Live the Rich Life you wantMy second 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

The ultimate guide to travel by Pranav Surya

Travel-Training-Kit-Cover This is a deep 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 ₹199 (instant download)

Free Apps for your Android Phone

All calculators from our book, “You can be Rich Too” are now available on Google Play!
Install Financial Freedom App! (Google Play Store)
Install Freefincal Retirement Planner App! (Google Play Store)
Find out if you have enough to say "FU" to your employer (Google Play Store)

Blog Comment Policy

Your thoughts are vital to the health of this blog and are the driving force behind the analysis and calculators that you see here. We welcome criticism and differing opinions. I will do my very best to respond to all comments asap. 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. Professor, Sundaram fund has given 1.1% less returns than the benchmark since inception and in the document it says that tracking error shall be maximum of 2% per annum but may vary substantially due to several factors (and mentioned a list of factors).

    While Principal fund’s tracking error is 0.34%. Nifty 50 TRI is considered from ( 03-Aug-2015 to 09-May-2018) & Nifty 100 Equal Weight TRI is considered for (10-May-2018 to 31-Oct-2018).

  2. Will low AUM of Principal nifty equal weight fund and Sundaram nifty equal weight fund have any impact ? Actually due to this I am confused , should I start SIP in these funds or better go with UTI Nifty Next 50 Direct ?

    Currently I am already investing 10K via SIP into UTI NIfty Next 50 & want to increase the investment, so should I go with UTI Nifty Next 50 or with any of the nifty 100 equal weight fund ?

Leave a Reply

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