Mutual Funds

Best Index Funds in 2024

Created on 24 Feb 2021

Wraps up in 5 Min

Read by 8.2k people

Updated on 04 Jan 2024

Warren Buffett has rightly said, "By investing in index funds, the know-nothing investors can actually outperform most investment professionals." 

If you don't know anything about mutual funds but want to invest in them, then index funds can be the best investment option for you. These are the funds that gave the returns of over 30% since the 2020 stock market crash. Before knowing about the best index funds of 2024, let's understand what index funds actually are.

What are Index Funds and Why Prefer them over Other Mutual Funds??

An index fund is a type of mutual fund or exchange-traded fund with the portfolio constructed to match or track the components of a stock market index, like Sensex or Nifty50. It has the same stocks with the same proportion as present in the index.

You should have known about index funds if you have read this so far. Index Funds have the following advantages over other mutual funds

  • Unlike other mutual funds, these funds are managed passively. Hence, they have an Expense Ratio of 0.1% to 0.5% against 1-2% in the case of actively managed funds. This minute difference proves to be quite enormous in the long run. 
  • Nifty 50 or Sensex funds comprise the stocks with the largest market cap among all. So the portfolio is diversified. The Nifty stocks are generally the leaders of their respective sectors. E.g., Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) is the best company in the IT sector and is part of Nifty.

Why are Index Funds Always not the Right Choice?

You may think that these funds are the best as they have various advantages. But it is not so. Like a coin has two sides, index funds have their disadvantages too that are as follows. 

  • The returns provided by these funds are similar to that of the index. So they are not able to beat the market. Actively managed funds may generate relatively higher returns. 
  • The fund invests in large-cap companies only. So they have low growth potential as the companies are already at their maturity. 
  • These companies have a high P/E Ratio. So the funds trade at high valuations, which lose the opportunity of finding an undervalued company.

How to Assess Index Funds?

Why rely on Google to find the best index funds when you can do it on your own. Following factors should be taken into consideration when analysing and comparing Index Funds: 

The Benchmark Index:

All index funds have an underlying benchmark index. There is very little difference in the index funds of a specific index. But the underlying index should be chosen correctly. If you want to get high returns, you should select the Nifty Small Cap Fund. But in case you desire less risk, then Nifty 50 will be more suitable.

Investment Tenure: 

Different funds are suitable for different tenures. So it is advisable to compare the returns of the preferred tenure to get a better picture of these funds. It isn't appropriate to compare monthly returns when you want a long term investment.

Tracking Error: 

It refers to the difference between the return of the fund's benchmark index and the fund itself. If the tracking error is vast, it is best to avoid such funds as it indicates poorly executed trades by AMC or the benchmark index is very volatile.

Expense Ratio: 

It is the annual fee charged by the AMC when you hold a fund. As mentioned earlier, Index Funds have a low expense ratio, lesser than 0.5%. Although they are not very important, they can bring about a massive change in the returns.

Best Index Funds of 2024

Your original aim of opening this article was to know about the best index funds, wasn't it? So your wait is over. Presenting you the best index funds of 2024:

1. Nippon India Index Sensex

This 2 lakh crores fund managed by Mehul Dama was launched in 2013 and has an underlying benchmark of BSE Sensex. It has given above-average returns of 27.42% in the past year and a CAGR of 12.26% in 3 years, all with a low expense ratio of 0.2%.

It has an exit load of 0.25% if redeemed within a week. It is more suitable for long-term prospective (around five years).

2. Motilal Oswal Nifty Midcap 150 Index Fund

Although this fund is relatively new, it has proved to be the best index fund for the short-term (1 to 6 months). Launched in August 2019, it has an Asset Under Management(AUM) of ₹39,185 crore.

The Latest NAV as of 29 December 2023 is ₹30.66. Although the expense ratio and exit loads are 0.38% and 1%, this fund has a massive 33.5% p.a. return in 6 months and a year. 

3. HDFC Index Fund Nifty 50 Plan

Did you know that this fund manages ₹10,614 crores of assets? This number should be big enough to make you believe that this fund is trusted by people. Although this fund has low short-term returns, it doesn't mean that it is not good.

It has shown returns of over 15% in the 3-year and 5-year period. Launched in 2013, this fund has an expense ratio of 0.2% and an exit load of 0.25%

4. Bandhan Nifty 50 Fund

You would find it hard to believe, but this fund does not have any exit load. It means you can invest in this fund and redeem it the next day without any charge! It has an AUM of ₹1,002 crore with an expense ratio of 0.1%

Anyway, this fund is managed by Nemish Sheth and has generated above-average returns in the long run with a low expense ratio of 0.09%.

5. ICICI Prudential Nifty 50 Index Fund

A large-cap index mutual fund scheme from ICICI Prudential Mutual Fund, this index fund was launched on 1 January 2023. It has ₹5,733 crore worth of Assets Under Management (AUM) as and is medium-sized fund of its category.

With an expense ratio of 0.17%, ICICI Prudential Nifty 50 Index Fund has provided a return of 13.46% since its inception. It provides a convenient way to invest in the top 50 Indian companies.

The Bottom Line

As index funds mimic the index, the returns offered by them are similar to the movement of the index. That is why these funds can generate good returns with lower risk. 

The expense ratio and tracking error are generally low. But they are not able to beat the market and trade at high valuations, besides having low growth potential.

You should consider the benchmark index, investment tenure, and expense ratio to find your ideal index fund, rather than blindly agreeing to everything the stock market experts say.

Happy Investing!

*Disclaimer: The stocks and companies discussed above aren't a recommendation from Insider by Finology and shall not be construed as a replacement for professional advice. Consult a professional or conduct the necessary research before making investment decisions.

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Kirti Pimpalgaonkar

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The celebrity Youtuber at Finology who is ‘everything at once’, be it knowing financial concepts, making videos & reels, social media marketing, content creation or whatnot. She makes anything and everything her own and delivers the best. Kirti is often called the in-house Pranjal Kamra when it comes to making videos. Finology's very own occasional Zumba teacher whom her colleagues  love & adore.

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