Active fund vs Passive fund

Which should you select between active and passive funds?

Mutual funds have been a major topic of debate among the general public. People’s general interest in mutual funds has grown, especially since the ‘Mutual Fund sahi Hai’ campaign went live a few years ago. Mutual funds come in a variety of shapes and sizes, and they can be divided into several categories. Active and passive mutual funds are two types of mutual funds.

Active Mutual Funds

The most prevalent type of mutual fund is actively managed funds. The fund manager of an actively managed fund is in charge of stock selection based on the scheme’s objectives. His goal is to outperform the fund’s benchmark. This brings us to the benchmark notion. Every fund follows a certain standard to assess its performance. Broad market indexes such as the Nifty 50 TRI or the BSE 200 TRI are commonly used as benchmarks. The fund’s benchmark is determined by the fund’s categorization. For example, if the fund is a small cap equities fund, the Nifty 500 TRI is more likely to be the benchmark than the Nifty 50 TRI.

Passive Investments

The benchmark is mirrored in passive funds. This means the fund will invest in stocks that correspond to the index. The objective of a passive fund is to match the index’s returns rather than beat it. The Tracking Error is the percentage of the fund that does not track the index. In passive investment, tracking error is a critical determining element. The percentage divergence from the index is known as tracking error. For example, if the index has gained 5% in a month and the index fund’s returns are 4.5 percent, the fund’s tracking error is 0.5

percent. If the index fund has returned 5.5 percent in the second case, the tracking error of the fund is still 0.5 percent.

Tracking inaccuracy in index funds is caused by two factors.

The index’s members and proportions of different companies are constantly changing. If there is a large change in the index, such as the addition or removal of stocks, the fund will have a higher tracking error until the fund management can align the portfolio to the new changes. Another cause of the tracking mistake is large-scale investor redemption pressure. If redemption demands outnumber inflows, the fund manager will have to sell shares to meet redemption requests. Because the fund will not be in sync with the index, there will be a higher tracking error.

Difference between active and passive fund

Active FundsPassive Funds
Aims to beat the benchmarkAims to mirror the benchmark
Fund manager plays an active role in stock pickingThe fund manager does not play a role in stock selection
Has shown to give higher returnsGives returns as per the index
Has a higher expense ratioHas lower expense [PC1]


The active funds’ mission is to outperform the benchmark. The larger the fund’s outperformance, the better. Passive funds, on the other hand, aim to provide index returns. The fund is better if its deviation from the underlying index is modest.


Active funds have the potential to deliver significant returns since they are managed by professional fund managers. Active funds tend to fall further than the broader market when markets are dropping.

Fund Manager Role:

The role of the fund manager in active funds is to actively participate in stock selection. In passive funds, however, the fund manager has no role. According to the underlying index, the fund manager must increase or decrease allocation to a given stock.


Active funds have a higher expense ratio than passive funds since the fund managers are involved in stock selection, whereas passive funds are not.

Which is the best option for you?

In India, passive investment is still in its infancy. Many elite fund managers have consistently outperformed the benchmark. Because the Indian market is still growing, fund managers have plenty of opportunities to uncover growth equities and outperform the benchmark with their outstanding research teams. As a result, active funds tend to generate larger returns for investors.

The Indian market is characterised by volatility, since geo-economic issues such as trade disputes, as well as internal elements like as elections and politics, have a big impact. As a result, if you go the active path, you may rest guaranteed that the fund will outperform or fall less than the market.

The higher charges are one of the active funds’ downsides that has been a hot topic of conversation. The market regulator, however, has addressed this issue by lowering the fee ratio of equity funds to 2.25 percent from 2.5 percent and debt funds to 2% of daily net assets. To summarise, investors may be better suited investing in active funds in the current environment because they have the potential to achieve larger returns.