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Does a high or low NAV indicate future performance of a Fund?
November 16, 2010

We highlight that current NAV of a scheme whether high or low should not be a determining factor for purchasing a fund.

Author : Nikhil Kothari

Untitled Document

Novice investors are often confused with the term Net Asset Value (NAV) as it may become difficult to judge whether they should be buying a fund with higher or lower NAV. Then, what should one be checking?

NAV simplified

Basically, NAV is the price at which investor buys or sells units of Mutual Fund. It is derived by dividing the total assets (sum of total value of all securities and cash) of the fund by the number of units issued to investors. The value of your investment is driven not only by NAV but, it is a product of NAV and number of units.

We explain why comparing the fund NAV is actually a futile effort for the investor.

Myth busting

Myth I: An investor has a misconception that a fund with higher NAV will give fewer units. Though this is true, it is not the correct criteria to select a fund.

Let us understand this with an example: Suppose, Fund A has a NAV of INR 100 and there is another fund B with NAV of INR 20. An investor puts INR 1,00,000 in both the funds so accordingly, he will receive INR 1000 units of Fund A and 5000 units of Fund B ( Investment value / NAV = Number of Units). Now, assume that return generated by both the funds is 20% in a year’s time. Therefore, NAV of Fund A and Fund B after a year would be INR 120 and INR 24.

If we calculate the value of the portfolio for both the funds, the value of Fund A after an years time will be INR 1,20,000 (INR 120 * 1000) and Value of Fund B will be INR 1,20,000 (INR 24 * 5000).

It is clearly evident that it is not the NAV but the expected return generated in future should be a determining factor to choose the fund.

Myth II: Again, many investors have the misconception that higher NAV has already appreciated as compared to a fund with lower NAV and thus, the fund with lower NAV is cheaply valued.

Here, we consider NAV of three funds and then compare the performance of those funds after a certain period. Suppose after one year, the NAV of three mid-cap funds i.e., Sundaram Select Midcap Fund, Kotak Midcap Fund and JPMorgan India Smaller Companies Fund as at 30 October 2009 was INR 117.52, INR 19.17 and INR 5.91 respectively. The return generated after one year is 43.09%, 50.89% and 43.22% respectively (as at 30 October 2010). If lower NAV funds were cheaply valued then JP Morgan India Smaller Companies fund should have given highest return but, Kotak Midcap fund has given maximum return out of the three funds even though, it’s NAV was higher than JP Morgan India Smaller Companies Fund. In addition, albeit there was huge difference between the NAVs of Sundaram Select Midcap Fund and JP Morgan India Smaller Companies fund, the one year return generated by both funds has been similar. Hence, it is not the NAV but the way the fund is managed determines the future prospect of the fund.

Myth III: New Fund Offers (NFO) are attractive as they are available at INR 10

Many investors are also of view that s/he should invest in an NFO as the same is available at INR 10 whereas the existing fund with the same objective is at a higher NAV. Plus, some investors even prefer to sell the old fund and buy the new fund.

Say, the Fund A was launched in the year 2000, and the current NAV of the fund is INR 100.

Now new fund i.e. Fund B is launched which has same mandate as Fund A. As Fund B is an NFO, the NAV of fund is INR 10.

Assume that both the portfolios are invested in same 5 stocks and have 20% weightage in each stock as at 30 October 2010.


30 October 2010
30 October 2011
Scrip Name Price Number of Shares Value of Portfolio Price Value of Portfolio
V 200 10,000 20,00,000 300 30,00,000
W 400 5,000 20,00,000 600 30,00,000
X 1,000 2,000 20,00,000 900 18,00,000
Y 10 20,000 20,00,000 20 40,00,000
Z 5,000 400 20,00,000 5,100 20,40,000
Total     1,00,00,000   1,38,40,000
No of Units     10,000   10,000
NAV     100   138.40
Return (CAGR)         38.40%
Scrip Name Price Number of Shares Value of Portfolio Price Value of Portfolio
V 200 5,000 10,00,000 300 15,00,000
W 400 2,500 10,00,000 600 15,00,000
X 1,000 1,000 10,00,000 900 9,00,000
Y 10 1,00,000 10,00,000 20 20,00,000
Z 5,000 200 10,00,000 5,100 10,20,000
Total     50,00,000   69,20,000
No of Units     5,00,000   5,00,000
NAV     10   13.84
Return (CAGR)         38.40%

As shown in the illustrative table, at 38.40% CAGR in one year, the NAV of Fund A would increase from INR 100 to INR 138 and NAV of fund B would increase from INR 10 to INR 13.84. Thus, even if the investor had invested in any of the above funds, the return from the portfolio irrespective of the NAV would be at par.

So, investing in NFO instead of existing fund because of lower NAV is irrelevant and if any advertisement campaign uses this as a base to promote the fund is nothing but mis-selling.

Myth IV: Since NAV of dividend option is lower than growth option, should I select dividend option?

Generally, for the same scheme, the NAV of dividend option is lower than that of growth option and at times, investors consider this as an evaluation criterion while buying a fund.

Suppose an investor decides to invest INR 1000 in both, Dividend Re-invest and Growth option of the fund.

Now, let us check the difference in terms of portfolio value if the investor holds the fund for two years.

Particulars Dividend Option Growth Option
NAV INR 10.00 INR 20.00
No of units 100 50
Return in 1 year 20% 20%
NAV at the end of 1st year INR 12.00 INR 24.00
Dividend declared (per unit) INR 2.00 NA
Total dividend received INR 200.00 NA
NAV - post dividend INR 10.00 24
Additional units issued 20 NA
Return in 2nd year 20% 20%
NAV at the end of 2nd year INR 12.00 INR 28.80
Dividend declared (per unit) INR 2.00 NA
Total dividend received INR 240.00 NA
NAV - post dividend INR 10.00 INR 28.80
Additional units issued 24 NA
Total units 144 50
Portfolio value INR 1,440.00 INR 1,440.00
Source:iFAST Compilation

As we have seen in the above table, although the NAV of growth option was higher than dividend option, after two years the portfolio value remains the same.

NAV of dividend option remains at INR 10 because in dividend option the investor gets cash dividend from the scheme and accordingly, the NAV of the scheme falls by same amount. As a result, NAV of dividend option is lower than growth option which is true for most mutual fund schemes.

Hence, NAV of dividend and growth option should not be a determining factor.

While selecting a fund, if investor has a long-term horizon with capital appreciation as objective, he should opt for growth option, but if investor is looking to get some return from his investment on a regular basis, he can select dividend payout option.


The article aims to highlight that the current NAV of a fund should not be a determining factor for purchasing any fund. Investments in a lower NAV fund as compared to a higher NAV fund does not imply better performance in future.  Hence, investors should look at other indicators, such as mandate of the fund, the fund's past performance, how long the fund is in existence, size of the fund, the fund manager’s experience and history in managing the fund etc., before making final decision to buy a fund.

Disclaimer: iFAST and/or its content and research team’s licensed representatives may own or have positions in the mutual funds of any of the Asset Management Company mentioned or referred to in the article, and may from time to time add or dispose of, or be materially interested in any such. This article is not to be construed as an offer or solicitation for the subscription, purchase or sale of any mutual fund. No investment decision should be taken without first viewing a mutual fund's scheme information document including statement of additional information. Any advice herein is made on a general basis and does not take into account the specific investment objectives of the specific person or group of persons. Investors should seek for professional investment, tax, and legal advice before making an investment or any other decision. Past performance and any forecast is not necessarily indicative of the future or likely performance of the mutual fund. The value of mutual funds and the income from them may fall as well as rise. Opinions expressed herein are subject to change without notice. Please read our disclaimer on the website.Please read our disclaimer in the website.

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