Mutual Funds vs. ELSS – Which is better?

When trying to increase their exposure to the stock market, investors often choose to invest in different types of mutual funds in India. While mutual funds and exchange-traded funds (ETFs) have certain similarities, there are also important distinctions between the two that investors should be aware of in order to choose the investment option that best suits their requirements as well as financial objectives. The primary differences between mutual funds and exchange-traded funds (ETFs) will be compared and discussed in this article along with some important considerations to make when choosing between the two.

  1. Expense Ratios

The fee ratios of mutual funds as well as ETFs are among their primary distinctions. The yearly fees that a fund charges to cover running expenses such as marketing, administration, and management fees are referred to as expense ratios. Because active managers must conduct more research as well as analysis than passive managers of index funds, actively managed mutual funds often have higher expense ratios. Conversely, ETFs are typically far less expensive than mutual funds.

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    Tax Efficiency

Tax efficiency is another important distinction. Mutual fund managers may experience capital gains that are distributed to shareholders as a result of their purchases as well as sales of securities inside the fund. Those who invest in mutual funds are subject to annual capital gains taxes even if they do not sell their shares. However, because most ETF transactions happen in-kind on the secondary market instead of via the fund itself, ETFs are more tax-efficient.

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    Trading Flexibility

The option to buy or redeem shares directly from the fund company according to the net asset value (NAV) for the day after the market closes is one benefit mutual funds have over exchange-traded funds (ETFs). In contrast, exchange-traded funds (ETFs) are traded on exchanges such as stocks, as well as their price changes throughout the day in response to supply and demand.

  1. Portfolio Diversification

Investors can employ exchange-traded funds (ETFs) as well as the mutual funds to combine a single investment into a diversified portfolio. Investors can choose from a variety of stocks as well as bonds in a certain asset class or market segment by using mutual funds. ETFs provide funds that do more than just diversify; they track entire stock market indexes, including the S&P 500. You might rapidly diversify your portfolio among hundreds of companies with just one ETF purchase.

  1. Costs Over Time

Despite having lower expense ratios, research suggests that ETF trading costs might outweigh the fee gain if an investor does not hold them for an extended period of time. Mutual funds do not impose trading commissions, but they do impose redemption fees as a penalty for short-term trading. Over time, investors who opt to be passive and hold onto their investments will find that the annual savings from low ETF costs surpass any trading commissions. On the other side, regular ETF trading may lower returns.


Both mutual funds as well as best ELSS funds are excellent choices for investors looking for professional management and diversification. Nonetheless, a lot of buy-and-hold, passive investors discover that exchange-traded funds (ETFs) are a better choice due to their distinct benefits, which include lower costs, and better tax efficiency, as well as greater trading flexibility. Mutual funds are still a good choice for those who require daily liquidity or who want to move in as well as out of positions often.