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2 mins Read | 5 Months Ago

Does High or Low NAV Matter in Mutual Funds?

High dividend-paying stocks & Mutual Fund schemes


While considering Mutual Fund investments, one common query that often confuses first-time investors is the relevance of the Net Asset Value (NAV) of a Mutual Fund scheme. Many wonder whether it is wiser to opt for a fund with a higher or lower NAV. This question arises from a fundamental misunderstanding of what NAV represents and how it impacts an investor's portfolio.

Understanding NAV

NAV is the per unit market value of a Mutual Fund's assets. It is calculated by deducting the liabilities from the total value of all assets in the fund, divided by the total number of units issued. In short, NAV is what one unit of a fund is worth at the end of any trading day.

A common misconception among investors is the belief that a Mutual Fund with a lower NAV is cheaper and therefore, a better investment. This assumption is similar to preferring a stock based solely on its lower price without considering its intrinsic value or the company's fundamentals.

NAV and fund performance: An inverse relationship?

The notion that a Mutual Fund's performance is inversely related to its NAV is a misconception. NAV is simply the per unit value of the fund and it does not reflect its quality or potential. For example, a fund with an NAV of Rs 22 is not necessarily superior or inferior to one with an NAV of Rs 85.

The true indicators of a Mutual Fund's performance are the quality of its portfolio, the effectiveness of its management and its alignment with the investor's objectives. High or low NAV does not dictate success; it is the fund's asset composition and managerial capabilities that are the real determinants of its performance.

NAV in Mutual Fund investments

The irrelevance of NAV in returns

When evaluating returns, what matters is the percentage change in NAV, not the absolute value. Whether a fund's NAV grows from Rs 10 to Rs 14 or from Rs 100 to Rs 140, the return is 40%. The focus should be on the fund's Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) over time.

Direct Plans vs Regular Plans:

NAV differences Investors often notice that Direct Plans of Mutual Funds have higher NAVs as compared to Regular Plans. This difference is due to the lower expense ratios in direct plans, not an indication of better value or performance.

The dividend myth

The misconception that a higher dividend percentage on a fund with a higher NAV results in more value is another area of confusion. Dividends are paid out from a fund's assets, reducing the NAV correspondingly. Therefore, a 20% dividend on a fund with an NAV of Rs 100 and one with an NAV of Rs 10 both will result in a proportional reduction in the fund's value.

Key takeaways for the investors

Look beyond NAV:

The Net Asset Value (NAV) of a Mutual Fund represents its per unit market value but it should not be the sole deciding factor in your investment decision. More important considerations include the fund's historical performance that provides insight into how it has managed market fluctuations and its portfolio composition, which should align with your investment objectives and risk tolerance. A fund's NAV does not tell you about its potential; hence, focusing solely on this aspect can be misleading.

Understand the role of NAV:

NAV is an indicator of a fund's value at a given time, offering a benchmark for measuring the fund's current worth. However, it does not reflect the future performance. An investor must understand that NAV fluctuates daily based on the fund’s underlying assets and market conditions. Therefore, a fund's future success or failure cannot be predicted based on its current NAV.

Focus on portfolio quality and management:

The key to a Mutual Fund's success lies in the quality of its portfolio and the expertise of its fund manager. The fund manager's decisions on asset allocation, stock selection and timing of buy/sell actions play a critical role in determining the fund's returns. Therefore, assessing the fund manager's track record and the fund's asset quality is crucial for long-term investment success.

Systematic Investment Plans (SIPs):

SIPs offer a disciplined approach to investing, allowing investors to buy units of a Mutual Fund at regular intervals regardless of the NAV. This strategy helps in averaging the cost of investment over time (rupee cost averaging) and mitigates the risks associated with market volatility. SIPs enable investors to build a substantial corpus over the long term while reducing the impact of short-term market fluctuations.


The NAV of a Mutual Fund is an important tool for understanding the current value of your investment. However, it should not be the deciding factor of your investment strategy. The focus should be on the fund's performance history, the expertise of the fund manager and how well the fund's investment philosophy aligns with your financial goals. Successful investing in Mutual Funds is about understanding the broader picture and not just focusing on a single metric.

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