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Portfolio Management Services VS Mutual Funds: A Comprehensive Guide for Investors

Updated: Apr 2

Portfolio Management Services VS Mutual Funds

Investing in the financial market can be a daunting task, especially with the plethora of options available. Two popular investment avenues that often come to mind are Portfolio Management Services (PMS) and Mutual Funds. While they may share similarities, they have distinct differences that investors should understand. In this comprehensive guide, we will explore the intricacies of PMS and Mutual Funds, their types, fees, and factors to consider before investing.

Portfolio Management Services VS Mutual Funds


Portfolio Management Services (PMS)

Mutual Funds

Management Style






Minimum Investment

High (usually in lakhs)

Low (varies, typically in thousands)




Expense Ratio

Typically higher





Tax Efficiency




Less regulated

Highly regulated




Risk Level

Higher (due to individualized approach)

Lower (diversified)

Understanding Portfolio Management Services

Portfolio Management Services (PMS) is an investment service offered by portfolio managers to cater to the specific needs and preferences of high net worth individuals (HNIs) or institutional investors. With PMS, investors have the opportunity to tailor their investment portfolios according to their financial goals and risk appetite.

Types of Portfolio Management Services

PMS can be classified into two types: non-discretionary and discretionary. In non-discretionary PMS, the portfolio manager provides investment suggestions to the investors, who then have the final say in approving the trades. On the other hand, discretionary PMS grants the portfolio manager full authority to make investment decisions on behalf of the client, including the selection and timing of securities.

Customization and Flexibility

One of the key advantages of PMS is the level of customization and flexibility it offers. Unlike mutual funds, which follow predefined investment strategies, PMS allows portfolio managers to design portfolios according to the individual needs and preferences of each investor. This customization enables investors to align their portfolios with their risk profile, investment objectives, and financial requirements.

Portfolio Size and Minimum Investment

PMS typically requires a higher minimum investment compared to mutual funds. As per SEBI guidelines, the minimum portfolio size for PMS is set at Rs. 50 lakh. However, some portfolio managers may set higher limits. This higher threshold makes PMS more suitable for HNIs with a significant investible surplus.

Fees and Charges

When investing in PMS, investors should consider the various fees and charges associated with the service. These charges vary among portfolio managers and may include entry load charges, operating expenses, brokerage charges, and exit load charges. It is essential for investors to understand and evaluate these fees before making investment decisions.

Transparency and Reporting

PMS offers a higher level of transparency compared to mutual funds. Investors in PMS have access to detailed information about the portfolio's performance, holdings, transactions, and expenses. This transparency allows investors to closely monitor their investments and make informed decisions.

Understanding Mutual Funds

Mutual funds are collective investment schemes that pool money from multiple investors to invest in a diversified portfolio of securities. These securities can include stocks, bonds, gold, and other financial instruments. Mutual funds are managed by professional fund managers who follow predefined investment objectives and strategies.

Types of Mutual Funds

Mutual funds can be categorized based on the underlying asset class and structure. Based on the asset class, common types of mutual funds include equity funds, debt funds, and hybrid funds. Equity funds predominantly invest in stocks, while debt funds focus on fixed income securities. Hybrid funds combine both equity and debt securities in varying proportions.

Based on the structure, mutual funds can be open-ended, close-ended, or interval funds. Open-ended funds allow investors to enter or exit the fund at any time, while close-ended funds have a fixed maturity period. Interval funds combine features of both open-ended and closed-ended funds.

Liquidity and Accessibility

One of the key advantages of mutual funds is their liquidity and accessibility. Investors can buy or sell mutual fund units at any time at the prevailing Net Asset Value (NAV). Additionally, mutual funds have a lower minimum investment requirement, with some schemes allowing investments for as low as Rs. 500. This accessibility makes mutual funds suitable for a wide range of investors, including retail investors.

Professional Management and Diversification

Mutual funds are managed by professional fund managers who have expertise in selecting and managing investment portfolios. These managers conduct extensive research and analysis to make informed investment decisions on behalf of the investors. Additionally, mutual funds offer diversification benefits by investing in a wide range of securities across different sectors, sizes, and styles.

Regulatory Oversight and Reporting

Mutual funds are subject to strict regulatory oversight by the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI). Fund managers are required to provide regular reports and disclosures to investors, including details of the portfolio holdings, performance, and expenses. This regulatory framework ensures transparency and accountability in the mutual fund industry.

(PMS) Portfolio Management Services vs Mutual Funds: Understanding the Differences

While both PMS and mutual funds are investment vehicles, they differ in several aspects, including portfolio size, flexibility, accounts, value calculation, and transparency.

Portfolio Size

PMS has a higher minimum investment requirement, typically set at Rs. 50 lakh or more. This higher threshold limits access to PMS for individuals with a significant investible surplus. In contrast, mutual funds have a lower entry barrier, allowing investors to start with as little as Rs. 500.


PMS offers greater flexibility compared to mutual funds. Portfolio managers can customize portfolios according to the specific needs and preferences of each investor. This flexibility enables portfolio managers to be more proactive in managing the portfolio and potentially generate higher yields. In contrast, mutual funds follow a predefined investment objective and strategy for all investors in the scheme, limiting customization options.


Mutual funds use pooled accounts to maintain securities and funds, where investors own units of the scheme rather than the underlying securities directly. In contrast, PMS provides individual accounts for each client, allowing investors to own the securities in their name. This individual ownership provides a higher level of control and transparency for PMS investors.

Value Calculation

The value calculation differs between PMS and mutual funds. Mutual funds calculate the Net Asset Value (NAV) of the scheme, which represents the market value of the fund units held by investors. PMS considers the market value of securities in a Demat account and the money in the investor's bank account. This difference in value calculation reflects the distinct structures of PMS and mutual funds.


PMS offers greater transparency to investors, providing detailed information about trades, brokerage charges, expenses, and portfolio performance. Investors can closely monitor their investments and have access to comprehensive reports. In contrast, mutual funds have periodic reporting requirements, disclosing portfolio holdings and performance to investors. However, the level of transparency may be lower compared to PMS.

What to Choose: PMS or Mutual Funds?

The choice between PMS and mutual funds depends on various factors, including portfolio size, risk appetite, investment horizon, customization needs, and transparency preferences. Here are some key considerations for investors:

PMS Considerations

Investors considering PMS should evaluate the following factors:

  • Risk Appetite: PMS involves higher risk compared to mutual funds. Investors should assess their risk tolerance and ability to withstand volatility.

  • Investment Horizon: PMS typically requires a longer investment horizon to generate returns. Investors should have a long-term perspective of at least 3-5 years.

  • Cost: PMS involves higher costs compared to mutual funds, including management fees, performance fees, and other charges. Investors should ensure they can afford these costs and evaluate the portfolio manager's ability to deliver returns.

  • Portfolio Manager's Track Record: Investors should research and analyze the portfolio manager's track record, credentials, investment philosophy, and performance. A thorough assessment of the portfolio manager's expertise and reputation is essential before investing in PMS.

Mutual Funds Considerations

Investors considering mutual funds should consider the following factors:

  • Investment Goal: Mutual funds offer various schemes tailored to different investment goals, such as wealth creation, income generation, and tax saving. Investors should align their investment goals with the appropriate mutual fund scheme.

  • Risk Profile: Mutual funds offer different risk-return profiles based on the asset class, sector, and investment style. Investors should choose mutual funds that match their risk profile and risk tolerance.

  • Performance: Evaluating a mutual fund's past performance helps investors gauge its ability to deliver consistent returns. Investors should assess factors such as returns, risk, benchmark comparisons, and peer group analysis.

  • Expense Ratio: Mutual funds charge an expense ratio, which represents the operational fees incurred by the fund. Investors should consider the expense ratio and choose funds with a reasonable cost structure.


Investing in the financial market requires careful consideration of various factors. Both PMS and mutual funds offer unique advantages and cater to different investor needs. PMS provides customization, flexibility, and higher transparency but requires a higher minimum investment. Mutual funds offer accessibility, professional management, and diversification but have predefined investment strategies.

Before making investment decisions, investors should assess their risk appetite, investment goals, and financial requirements. Consulting with a financial advisor can provide valuable insights and guidance. Whether choosing PMS or mutual funds, investors should conduct thorough research, evaluate performance, and consider the fees and charges associated with each investment option.

In conclusion, understanding the differences between PMS and mutual funds empowers investors to make informed decisions and build a successful investment portfolio.

At AssetPlus, we believe in empowering independent Mutual Fund Distributors (MFDs) to grow their client base and provide personalized investment solutions. Our fintech platform offers a range of tools and resources to help MFDs streamline their operations, analyze client portfolios, and deliver exceptional service. Join AssetPlus today and take your advisory business to new heights.

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