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  1. All you need to know about index funds

All you need to know about index funds

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3 min read • Updated: February 24, 2024, 4:14 PM

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Index funds are a crucial component of diversification in an investing portfolio. Moreover, diversification is considered a secure way to reduce exposure to market risks. Investing in mutual funds is a proven way for investors to improve the diversification of their portfolio. Mutual funds or exchange-traded funds known as index funds replicate market indexes, such as the NSE Nifty. Because fund managers don't actively choose the businesses and industries to invest in, these mutual funds are referred to as passive options. Rather, they merely replicate the investment possibilities included in the index to be monitored, in identical ratios, without modifying the structure of the portfolio. The objective, quite simply, is to generate returns equivalent or comparable to the index being followed.

Index funds are a sound choice for individuals who prefer passive investment options.

What do index funds do?

When an individual invests in index funds, the capital is utilised in all the stocks that make up a particular index that is being tracked. In this case, portfolio managers need not invest time and effort to individually select stocks and analyse when to buy or sell them. Rather, they build a portfolio with holdings resembling those of an index.

The fund manager should ideally purchase or sell stock units when a stock's weight inside an index varies to match the stock's weightage in the portfolio.

How do index funds invest?

Traditionally, index funds have a more passive style of investing. This implies that, by avoiding frequent trading and selling of assets, the goal is to maximise returns over the long term. On the other hand, by making frequent trades, a fund that is actively managed often aims to beat the market. The aim of index funds is to match market performance.

What features do index funds have?

Investing in index funds has a number of advantages due to their unique composition -

  • Lower fees Actively managed funds require managers to analyse and make stock selections which incur a higher management cost and also risk potential underperformance. In contrast, index funds require passive management and incur a significantly lower fee, positively impacting overall profitability.

  • Increased diversification Investors can rapidly gain exposure to dozens or even hundreds of firms inside an index by investing in a single fund. By doing this, they distribute their risk over a number of different markets and sectors, lessening the effect of any one company's negative performance.

  • Performance matching Index funds possess the potential to outperform actively managed funds in the long run. Furthermore, investors are able to track the overall market growth by following a wide market index, which spares them the anxiety of constantly looking for profitable stocks.

  • Transparency An index fund's assets are readily apparent, giving investors complete visibility into the investments they've made. This enables them to comprehend the underlying assets and make informed decisions on the allocation of their portfolio.

  • Tax efficiency Compared to actively managed funds, index funds are traded less frequently, which means that taxable capital gains distributions occur less often. This could result in lower tax payments for investors and improve overall profitability. Furthermore, there are number of deductions investors are privy to, which helps reduce the tax implications on capital gains on mutual funds.

  • Low maintenance In contrast to actively managed funds, index funds need lesser overview and analysis. Investors need not trade frequently or constantly monitor each stock's performance.


Index funds are a sound choice for individuals who prefer passive investment options. They have gained much popularity in mature financial markets and offer a low-cost option for those looking to diversify their portfolio.