These are the most popular direct plan mutual funds

Published: January 29, 2021 at 11:45 am

The AUM (asset under management) of mutual funds reported in most online portals is the total value. AUM of the regular plan (commissions removed before NAV declaration) plus AUM of the direct plan (no commissions). In this article, we list the most popular direct plan mutual funds – that is the ones with the largest AUM. There are a few surprises!

Each quarter, the association of mutual funds in India (AMF) reports the average AUM per quarter. Domestic fund of funds AUM is reported separately to avoid double counting of assets. In this report, AUM of the direct plan and regular plan mutual funds are reported separately. Also, under each plan, one can find out the AUM in dividend option and growth option. NB: Plans and options have distinct meanings for mutual funds and should not be used interchangeably!

Typically institutions prefer direct plans to reduce overheads, and the top seven popular direct plan funds are liquid. So it is important to consider liquid fund and overnight fund direct plan AUM separately.

Let us now slice the AUM step by step. The data corresponds to Average Assets under Management (AAUM) for the quarter of October – December 2020 (Rs in Lakhs).

  • Grand Total: Rs. 297143522.77 Lakhs (excluding domestic FoFs)
  • ETF: Rs. 22209213.6 Lakhs (these have no direct plan or regular plan or growth or dividend options!). Aum share of ETFs: 7.47%
  • Almost 3% of the total AUM is held in SBI-ETF Nifty 50.
  • Regular Plan: Rs. 154343130.6 Lakhs. Aum share of regular plan MFs: 51.94%
  • Direct Plan: Rs. 120591178.6 Lakhs. Aum share of direct plan MFs: 40.58%

Thus the total direct plan share of the AUM is a healthy 40.58%. One might expect much of this to be in liquid funds and overnight funds (institutional and HNI AUM). However, the direct plan liquid fund and overnight fund AUM share is only 11.82%.


The remaining 28.76% (that is 40.58% minus 11.82%) is in other direct plans! However, if you look at the top 30 funds in this non-liquid, non-overnight direct plan list, it is clear that “big money” has shifted to corporate bond funds, floating-rate funds and other types of short-term bonds funds with better credit quality.

This is most likely because of falling interest rates (that would affect money market funds the most) and credit quality issues associated with the Franklin debacle. The top 30 such funds are listed below.

List of Most Popular direct plans (except liquid and money market; top 30)

Scheme NAV NameAverage Assets under Management (AAUM) for the quarter of October – December 2020 (Rs in Lakhs)
ICICI Prudential Savings Fund – Direct Plan-Growth1917821
HDFC Corporate Bond Fund -Direct Plan-Growth Option1771974
IDFC CBF_Direct Plan_Growth1634395
Aditya Birla Sun Life Corporate Bond Fund – Growth – Direct Plan1555632
Nippon India Floating Rate Fund- Direct Plan-Growth Plan – Growth Option1372665
HDFC Low Duration Fund-Direct Plan-Growth1290452
HDFC Floating Rate Debt Fund – Direct Plan-Growth Option1258922
Aditya Birla Sun Life Savings Fund – Growth – Direct Plan1202357
ICICI Prudential Corporate Bond Fund – Direct Plan-Growth1194926
IDFC Banking & PSU Debt Fund-Direct Plan- Growth Option1168803
SBI SHORT TERM DEBT FUND – DIRECT PLAN -GROWTH1091644
Aditya Birla Sun Life Banking & PSU Debt Fund- Direct Plan-Growth1090112
HDFC Short Term Debt Fund – Growth Option – Direct Plan1061076
SBI MAGNUM ULTRA SHORT DURATION FUND – DIRECT PLAN – GROWTH1059884
SBI Corporate Bond Fund – Direct Plan-Growth1058564
Axis Banking & PSU Debt Fund – Direct Plan-Growth Option1035785
Kotak Bond Short Term Plan-(Growth) – Direct1009111
Kotak Savings Fund-Growth – Direct969566.4
HDFC Ultra Short Term Fund-Direct Plan-Growth Option965522.8
SBISAVINGS FUND – DIRECT PLAN – GROWTH950512.5
Aditya Birla Sun Life Money Manager Fund – Growth – Direct Plan945292.7
HDFC Money Market Fund – Direct Plan-Growth Option911928.3
ICICI Prudential Money Market Fund Option – Direct Plan-Growth911346.8
SBI MAGNUM LOW DURATION FUND – DIRECT PLAN – GROWTH874751.6
Kotak Money Market Scheme – (Growth) – Direct850547.3
Axis Short Term Fund – Direct Plan-Growth Option846458.4
Aditya Birla Sun Life Low Duration Fund – Growth – Direct Plan831658.3
IDFC Cash Fund -Direct Plan-Growth821114.2
ICICI Prudential Short Term Fund – Direct Plan-Growth Option798771.9
Kotak Standard Multicap Fund – Growth – Direct794044.3

List of Most Popular Equity-oriented direct plans (among top 100)

There are only 28 equity-oriented funds in the top 100 list (excluding liquid and overnight categories), but this includes five arbitrage funds (= “big money”). The total AUM of the funds listed below is only 3.7% of the total AUM (all funds)

Scheme NAV NameAverage Assets under Management (AAUM) for the quarter of October – December 2020 (Rs in Lakhs)
Kotak Equity Arbitrage Fund – Growth – Direct736270.9
Mirae Asset Large Cap Fund – Direct Plan-Growth664823.4
ICICI Prudential Bluechip Fund – Direct Plan-Growth664040.7
HDFC Equity Fund -Direct Plan-Growth Option604974.1
SBI BLUE CHIP FUND-DIRECT PLAN -GROWTH584881
Axis Bluechip Fund – Direct Plan-Growth567155.4
ICICI Prudential Equity Arbitrage Fund – Direct Plan-Growth517189.4
Motilal Oswal Multicap 35 Fund (MOF35)-Direct Plan-Growth Option474058.2
Axis Long Term Equity Fund – Direct Plan-Growth Option417544.1
ICICI Prudential Value Discovery Fund – Direct Plan-Growth408099.8
Parag Parikh Flexi Cap Fund – Direct Plan-Growth383467.9
IDFCArbitrage Fund-Direct Plan-Growth381896.4
Mirae Asset Emerging Bluechip Fund – Direct Plan-Growth368228.7
HDFC Mid Cap Opportunities Fund -Direct Plan-Growth Option360690.2
HDFC Arbitrage Fund Wholesale Plan-Growth Option Direct Plan349835.1
Nippon India Arbitrage Fund – Direct Plan-Growth Plan – Growth Option346480.6
Aditya Birla Sun Life Frontline Equity Fund – Growth – Direct Plan342181.9
ICICI Prudential Balanced Advantage Fund – Direct Plan-Growth321189.8
Axis Focused 25 Fund – Direct Plan-Growth Option298164.1
HDFC Small Cap Fund – Direct-Growth Plan292597.3
HDFC Top 100 Fund -Direct Plan-Growth Option292466.9
Aditya Birla Sun Life Equity Fund – Growth – Direct Plan250715.6
UTI – NIFTY Index Fund-Growth Option- Direct230502.6
Axis Midcap Fund – Direct Plan-Growth216531.4
HDFC Balanced Advantage Fund -Direct Plan-Growth Option200252.5
SBI Magnum Multicap Fund – DIRECT PLAN – Growth Option197458.8
Aditya Birla Sun Life Tax Relief ’96 – Growth – Direct Plan196974.3
SBI Small Cap Fund – Direct Plan-Growth184540.4

UTI Nifty index fund is the only one of its kind in the above list. The index fund direct plan AUM is only 0.75% of total direct plan AUM and about 3% of non-liquid; non- overnight direct plans. These are the top ten index funds.

List of most popular index fund direct plans (top 10)

Scheme NAV NameAverage Assets under Management (AAUM) for the quarter of October – December 2020 (Rs in Lakhs)
UTI – NIFTY Index Fund-Growth Option- Direct230502.6
HDFC Index Fund-Nifty 50 Plan-Direct Plan145346.7
HDFC Index Fund Sensex Plan-Direct Plan116011.3
ICICI Prudential Nifty Index Fund – Direct Plan Cumulative Option73645.53
SBI NIFTY INDEX FUND – DIRECT PLAN – GROWTH69084.04
ICICI Prudential Nifty Next 50 Index Fund – Direct Plan-Growth55518.14
UTI Nifty Next 50 Index Fund – Direct Plan-Growth Option45113.31
Motilal Oswal S&P 500 Index Fund – Direct Plan-Growth35304.37
Aditya Birla Sun Life Index Fund – Growth – Direct Plan12771.35
Nippon India Index Fund – Nifty Plan – Direct Plan-Growth Plan – Growth Option12459.38

List of most popular ETFs (top 10)

Scheme NAV NameAverage Assets under Management (AAUM) for the quarter of October – December 2020 (Rs in Lakhs)
SBI-ETF Nifty 508071041.11
SBI-ETF SENSEX3407723.31
Bharat Bond ETF – April 20301104118.41
CPSE ETF1100688.68
UTI SENSEX Exchange Traded Fund1005182.53
BHARAT Bond ETF- April 2031741725.94
Nippon India ETF Bank BeES657920.73
BHARAT Bond ETF April 2025596883.24
Kotak Banking ETF591725.72
BHARAT 22 ETF534779.99

In summary, 2020 has seen a significant shift of institutional AUM from money market funds (liquid; overnight) to floating rate funds and short-term and medium-term bond funds of high credit quality.  Arbitrage funds and active large cap funds dominate the equity direct plan AUM list.

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