Zerodha into Mutual Funds: A Game-Changer in the Making?

Zerodha into Mutual Funds
Zerodha into Mutual Funds: A Game-Changer in the Making?

by Tanushree Jaiswal Last Updated: Sep 12, 2023 - 10:46 am 321 Views

What is Happening?

In 2021, Zerodha, a prominent player in India's online brokerage industry, announced its intention to enter the mutual fund arena. The intriguing aspect of their plan was a clear focus on passively managed funds, specifically index funds. 
Unlike actively managed funds, index funds do not rely on fund managers to select and manage individual stocks. Instead, they aim to replicate the performance of a predefined index, such as the Nifty Large Midcap 250 index, by buying and holding the constituent stocks in the same proportion as the index dictates.

Zerodha's debut into the mutual fund landscape is marked by the launch of two index funds, including an Equity Linked Savings Scheme (ELSS) qualifying for tax savings under Section 80C. Both these funds are designed to track the Nifty Large Midcap 250 index, thereby offering investors exposure to the 100 largest and 150 mid-sized companies in India, split evenly. This strategic choice merits a closer look.

Who Has Taken the Step?

Zerodha has joined forces with smallcase, a technology platform enabling investors to assemble portfolios of stocks. This collaboration underscores their shared objective to introduce low-cost, passive investment options to the Indian market. Zerodha's track record in offering competitive brokerage fees and its direct-to-consumer distribution model provide a solid foundation for venturing into mutual funds. Unlike traditional mutual fund companies, Zerodha's operation leans heavily on technology, reducing the need for a massive team of fund managers.

Agenda Behind the Step

Zerodha's focus on index funds, particularly the Nifty Large Midcap 250 index, reflects a strategic decision to disrupt the mutual fund industry. This decision is motivated by several factors:

1. Performance Consistency: Actively managed funds in both large-cap and ELSS categories have struggled to consistently outperform their benchmarks over the years. Zerodha aims to address this issue by providing investors with passive options that replicate index performance with minimal human intervention.

2. Diversification: The Nifty LargeMid 250 Index offers exposure to 87% of the equity universe listed on the NSE, making it an attractive choice for investors seeking broad market coverage. Despite concerns about over-diversification, historical data suggests that this index has delivered competitive returns.

3. Market Gap: While index funds tracking large-cap companies already exist, the mid-cap segment remains relatively untapped in the passive fund space. Zerodha is strategically positioning itself as an early entrant into this market segment.

4. Fee Pressure: Regulatory measures by SEBI to limit the fees charged by mutual funds, combined with investor awareness of fees' impact on returns, have made passive funds more appealing due to their low-cost structure.

Effect on Mutual Fund Distributors and Investors

Zerodha's foray into index funds has the potential to reshape the mutual fund industry and influence both distributors and investors in significant ways:

A. Impact on Distributors:

1. Fee Compression: The rise of low-cost index funds can intensify fee compression across the industry, challenging traditional mutual fund distributors to demonstrate their value proposition.

2. Shift in Revenue Model: Distributors may need to adapt to alternative revenue models, focusing on advisory services or value-added offerings, as the fees from mutual fund sales decline.

B. Impact on Investors:

1. Cost Savings: Investors stand to benefit from lower expense ratios associated with index funds, potentially enhancing their overall returns.

2. Transparency: Passive funds provide greater transparency in portfolio holdings, allowing investors to make more informed decisions.

3. Simplicity: Index funds are easier to understand for novice investors, potentially attracting a broader pool of participants to the mutual fund market.


Zerodha's entry into the mutual fund industry with a focus on index funds marks a strategic move to disrupt the status quo. Their partnership with smallcase, reliance on technology, and emphasis on low-cost, passive investment options position them as a formidable player in the evolving landscape. 

The impact of this move on traditional mutual fund distributors and investors will depend on how well Zerodha can leverage its existing distribution network and how receptive Indian investors are to the appeal of index funds. 
In a market that has historically favored active management, Zerodha's innovative approach may pave the way for a new era of passive investing in India. Only time will reveal whether this ambitious venture bears fruit and reshapes the mutual fund industry as we know it.


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About the Author

Tanushree is a seasoned professional with 6 years of experience in the Fintech and Edtech industry.


Investment/Trading in securities Market is subject to market risk, past performance is not a guarantee of future performance. The risk of loss in trading and investment in Securities markets including Equites and Derivatives can be substantial.
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