Weighing the Options: A Close Look at Mutual Funds vs Portfolio Management Services

Investing is a journey that requires careful planning, informed decision-making, and a clear understanding of the various investment options available. Two such options that often stand out in the investment landscape are Mutual Funds and Portfolio Management Services (PMS). Both offer unique advantages and cater to different types of investors, each with its own set of features, benefits, and potential risks. This blog post aims to provide an in-depth comparison of these two investment avenues. We will explore their distinct characteristics, delve into their advantages and disadvantages, and provide insights to help you make an informed decision that aligns with your financial goals, risk tolerance, and investment horizon. Let’s embark on this insightful journey to better understand Mutual Funds and Portfolio Management Services, and how they can fit into your investment strategy.


Mutual funds and PMS are both professionally managed investment services where qualified fund managers take charge of investors’ money by investing in securities like stocks and bonds. However, the main difference lies in their investment strategy, which is based on risk parameters and return expectations.

  1. Mutual Funds

Mutual Fund

Mutual funds are a popular investment vehicle that pools money from multiple investors to invest in a diversified portfolio of stocks, bonds, or other assets. These funds are managed by professional fund managers who make investment decisions on behalf of the investors. Mutual funds offer individual investors the opportunity to access professionally managed portfolios with relatively small investments. They provide diversification, liquidity, and professional expertise, making them suitable for both new and experienced investors.

A key advantage of mutual funds is their low entry point. A Mutual Fund Systematic Investment Plan (SIP) can start from as low as Rs. 100, making it accessible to a broad range of investors. However, mutual funds must adhere to diversification rules, valuation guidelines, and redemption related regulations, which can limit their flexibility in responding to market conditions.

 2.  Portfolio Management Services

Portfolio Management

Portfolio management services (PMS) are professional, fee-based investment services that aim to maximize returns for clients by building and managing a customized portfolio of securities. PMS providers typically have a team of experienced and knowledgeable investment professionals who construct portfolios based on the client’s financial goals, risk profile, and investment horizon. They offer personalized investment strategies and actively manage the portfolio, making adjustments based on the market conditions and investment opportunities.

PMS has a higher minimum investment requirement compared to mutual funds, with a minimum investment requirement of Rs. 50 Lakhs, catering to high-net-worth individuals and institutional investors. PMS offers a higher degree of customization and flexibility compared to mutual funds. An equity Mutual Fund has to invest a minimum 65% in equity irrespective of the market condition whereas PMS is flexible with its investments and can increase or decrease the allocation to equity based on market scenarios and investor requirements.

3.  Performance


Performance is a key criterion that most investors look for before selecting an investment avenue. While past performance may not guarantee future returns, it gives a good perspective. A PMS can focus on performance and can make investment decisions such that the absolute returns are maximized. It can focus more on returns as compared to a Mutual Fund which has to take care of diversification rules, valuation guidelines and redemption related regulations.

4.  Transparency


Transparency is another important factor to consider when choosing between mutual funds and PMS. Mutual funds are required to provide regular reports and disclose their holdings, allowing investors to monitor their investments more easily. On the other hand, a PMS is required to make timely disclosures to the client. But these are not freely available to the public. Moreover, it is not easy to assess and compare the performance of different PMS products.

5.  Fees


Both mutual funds and PMS have associated fees. Mutual funds typically have expense ratios, sales charges, and management fees. On the other hand, a PMS charges an entry load, management fees, and either a fixed fee or a performance fee. There arePMS providers that charge on the basis of profit made, which is a good way to ensure the fund manager delivers the required returns. A typical example of fees in a PMS consists of 3 options:


a) Fixed fee: 2.5% AMC Per annum + zero performance fee

b) Hybrid Fee – 1% per annum fixed fee + performance fees of 15% share above a hurdle of 12% no catch up

c) Performance-based fee – Zero fixed fees + 20% performance fee above 8% hurdle


 6.  Taxation


Taxation is another crucial factor to consider. Long-term capital gains in equity mutual funds are taxable at 10% per annum + cess & surcharge without indexation on gains above Rs 1,00,000 in a financial year. Short-term capital gains are taxable + cess & surcharge. Moreover, mutual fund scheme owners have to pay tax only on redemption.

The tax on PMS is not as efficient. You pay short-term or long-term capital gains on every transaction in Demat account holding shares. The PMS tries to compensate for this by giving higher returns.

 7.  Process and Documentation

Process and Documentation

Investing in mutual funds is easy and there are multiple channels to buy and sell schemes. The investment process for PMS is more tedious considering the higher value of transactions. There is quite a lot of documentation and time required to set up the PMS account.


In conclusion, both mutual funds and PMS have their own set of advantages and disadvantages. Mutual funds offer diversification, affordability, and ease of investment, making them suitable for a wide range of investors. On the other hand, PMS offers a higher degree of customization, flexibility, and potential for higher returns, making it a suitable choice for high-net-worth individuals and institutional investors.

The choice between mutual funds and PMS should be based on your individual investment goals, risk tolerance, investment horizon, and financial situation. It is advisable to consult with a financial advisor to determine which option aligns best with your individual circumstances and investment objectives.



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