PMS Vs Mutual Funds Investment: Where Should We Invest

by Alina Khan

Published On March 27, 2024

In this article

Investing in the Indian market presents a multitude of options, among which Portfolio Management Services (PMS) and mutual funds stand prominent. Individuals often find themselves weighing PMS vs mutual fund investments, seeking to discern the most advantageous avenue for their capital. To navigate this choice, understanding the fundamental difference between PMS and mutual funds is crucial. PMS offers tailored investment strategies managed by professional portfolio managers who make specific investment decisions tailored to meet individual client objectives. This service usually caters to high-net-worth individuals given the higher minimum investment requirements, often starting from ₹50 lakh. In contrast, mutual funds pool money from multiple investors to invest in a diversified portfolio of stocks, bonds, or other securities. This structure allows investors to enter the market with a much lower minimum investment, some funds accepting as little as ₹500, making it accessible to a broader audience.

The decision between PMS and mutual funds often hinges on factors such as investment amounts, risk tolerance, desired level of customization, and the investor’s involvement in the decision-making process. PMS can offer a more personalized investment experience with potentially higher returns, but it also comes with greater risks and higher fees. On the other hand, mutual funds provide diversification, professional management, and lower cost, but with less flexibility in portfolio customization. As investors seek to optimize their returns while managing risks, understanding these key distinctions is essential in making an informed investment choice.

What is PMS? (Portfolio Management Services)

Portfolio Management Services (PMS) is a sophisticated investment vehicle designed predominantly for affluent investors seeking a higher level of service, customization, and potential returns compared to traditional mutual funds. Unlike mutual funds where the investment decisions are uniform for all investors, PMS offers a bespoke investment approach. A dedicated portfolio manager or a management team makes investment decisions on behalf of the client, based on a thorough understanding of the client’s financial goals, risk tolerance, and investment horizon.

One significant aspect in the debate of PMS vs mutual funds is the individualized nature of PMS. In contrast to mutual funds, where assets are pooled with those of other investors, a PMS strategy involves managing individual client funds separately. This allows for tailored investment strategies that can be aligned more closely with specific investor needs and preferences, providing a clear distinction from mutual funds in terms of operational approach and personalization.

Moreover, when discussing PMS vs MF (mutual fund), it's important to highlight the investment thresholds. PMS generally requires a larger financial commitment, typically starting at ₹50 lakh, which sets it apart from mutual funds that are accessible at much lower entry points. This high entry barrier reflects the exclusivity and customized strategy execution in PMS, aligning it with the needs of investors who can commit a substantial amount of capital.

In terms of the difference between PMS and mutual fund investments, the PMS structure allows for direct ownership of securities, whereas mutual fund investors own units of the fund and not the underlying securities directly. This can lead to greater transparency and control in PMS, offering an advantage for those who prefer direct oversight over their investment choices. However, with this increased control and potential for higher returns in PMS mutual fund comparisons, comes a higher risk and cost profile, underscoring the importance of careful consideration when comparing PMS vs mutual funds.

What Are Mutual Funds?

Mutual Funds are a popular investment option that pools money from multiple investors to purchase a diversified portfolio of stocks, bonds, or other securities. Managed by professional fund managers, mutual funds aim to generate attractive returns for their investors by leveraging the expertise and strategic insight of the management team. This collective investment scheme offers accessibility, diversification, and professional management, making it an appealing option for both novice and experienced investors.

The contrast between PMS vs mutual funds lies primarily in the structure and management style. While PMS offers individualized management, mutual funds operate on a collective basis where each investor owns shares in the fund and benefits proportionally from its gains or losses. This is a key difference between PMS and mutual fund investments, as mutual funds are designed to cater to a broader audience with varying investment sizes and risk appetites.

Further exploring the PMS vs MF debate, mutual funds are generally more regulated than PMS, offering a higher level of security for investors through stringent compliance with regulatory standards. Additionally, the entry point into mutual funds is significantly lower than that of PMS, making mutual funds a more accessible option for the general public. For instance, one can start investing in mutual funds with as little as ₹500, which is not possible with PMS.

In terms of fees, mutual funds typically charge a management fee and, depending on the fund structure, a performance fee. These fees are often less than those charged by PMS, reflecting the mutual fund's scale of operations and the broader, less personalized service. The mutual fund vs PMS comparison further reveals that mutual funds provide less control over investment choices compared to PMS, where investors can influence or direct investment decisions.

Overall, when comparing PMS mutual fund options, mutual funds offer a less risky and more cost-effective choice for individuals who seek diversity in their investments and are content with standardized investment strategies, rather than the customized approach and direct involvement available through PMS.

Key Differences Between PMS and Mutual Funds

Here are the key differences between PMS and Mutual Funds :


PMS (Portfolio Management Services)

Mutual Funds

Investment Customization

High customization according to client preferences

Standardized portfolios based on fund objective

Investment Threshold

High minimum investment, usually starts at ₹50 lakh

Low entry point, options starting as low as ₹500


Direct ownership of individual securities

Ownership of units in the collective pool

Regulatory Oversight

Less intensive compared to mutual funds

Highly regulated by SEBI

Fee Structure

Typically higher fees, including performance fees

Lower fees generally, often no performance fees

Risk and Return

Potentially higher risk and returns, dependent on individual management

Diversified risk, potentially lower returns but more stability


Direct involvement by portfolio manager or team specific to an investor's account

Fund manager handles multiple investors' pooled funds with

Why Should You Invest in PMS?

Investing in Portfolio Management Services (PMS) can offer significant advantages for certain investors. Below are some key reasons why one might choose PMS over mutual funds:

  • Tailored Investment Strategies: PMS provides strategies that are specifically tailored to meet the financial goals and risk preferences of individual investors. This personalized attention can potentially lead to optimized returns.

  • Active Management: With PMS, your portfolio is actively managed by experienced professionals who can make quick decisions in response to market changes, aiming to capitalize on opportunities and mitigate risks.

  • Direct Investment: PMS allows for direct ownership of stocks or bonds, which enables greater transparency and control over your investments.

  • Exclusive Opportunities: PMS often has access to investments and strategies not available to the average mutual fund investor, including private deals or specialized asset classes.

  • Detailed Reporting: Investors receive detailed reports and communications, providing a clear understanding of how their investments are performing and what actions are being taken on their behalf.

  • Tax Efficiency: PMS can be more tax-efficient compared to mutual funds. Since each investor's portfolio is unique, strategies can be employed to minimize tax liabilities, such as through the timing of buy and sell decisions.

  • Higher Investment Thresholds: Though a higher minimum investment is required (typically starting at ₹50 lakh), this can be a testament to the more sophisticated and potentially higher-yielding management approach of PMS.

Upgrade to Wright PMS! With cutting edge data driven investing we earned 54% in 6 months.
Explore Now

Why Should You Invest in Mutual Funds?

Investing in mutual funds offers a variety of benefits, particularly for those who may not have the capital or inclination to engage with PMS. Below are compelling reasons for choosing mutual funds:

  • Accessibility: Mutual funds provide an opportunity for investment with significantly lower entry costs, starting from as little as ₹500, making it feasible for a broader range of investors.

  • Diversification: By pooling resources from numerous investors, mutual funds can invest across a wide range of securities, thus reducing risk by diversifying investment exposure.

  • Professional Management: Investors benefit from the expertise of certified and experienced fund managers who are skilled in assessing market conditions and managing investments.

  • Regulation: Mutual funds are regulated by the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI), ensuring transparency and protection for investors.

  • Liquidity: Mutual funds offer high liquidity compared to many other investment forms. Investors can typically redeem their shares at any time without significant penalties.

  • Systematic Investment Plans (SIPs): Mutual funds allow investors to contribute small, regular amounts through SIPs, enabling disciplined saving and benefiting from rupee cost averaging.

  • Automatic Reinvestment: Dividends and interest earnings from mutual funds can be automatically reinvested to buy more shares, compounding the investor’s returns over time.

  • Range of Options: There are numerous types of mutual funds available, including equity, debt, hybrid, and sector-specific funds, allowing investors to pick ones that match their risk appetite and financial goals.

PMS vs Mutual Funds: What Are its Types?

When comparing PMS vs mutual funds, it's important to understand the types available within each category, which cater to different investor needs and preferences. Here’s a breakdown of the types for both PMS and mutual funds:

Types of Portfolio Management Services (PMS):

  • Discretionary PMS: The portfolio manager has full discretion to manage the investor's funds without the need for prior approval for every transaction.

  • Non-Discretionary PMS: The portfolio manager suggests investment ideas, but the final decision rests with the investor.

  • Advisory PMS: Similar to non-discretionary, but the advisor provides more comprehensive financial advice, potentially involving other aspects of the client's financial life.

To get a better understanding of the Difference Between Discretionary PMS, Non-Discretionary PMS, and Advisory PMS in India

Types of Mutual Funds:

  • Equity Funds: Invest primarily in stocks and aim for high returns with a corresponding higher risk. Sub-types include sector funds, large-cap funds, mid-cap funds, and small-cap funds.

  • Debt Funds: Focus on investments in bonds, debentures, government securities, and other fixed-income assets. These are generally lower risk compared to equity funds.

  • Hybrid Funds: Combine both equity and debt investments to balance risk and returns. Includes varieties such as balanced funds and monthly income plans.

  • Index Funds: Aim to replicate the performance of a specific index like the S&P BSE Sensex or NSE Nifty by investing in the same stocks in the same proportions.

  • Liquid Funds: Invest in very short-term market instruments like treasury bills and certificates of deposit, providing high liquidity and low risk.

Comparison Highlights:

  • Risk and Return Profiles: PMS can be tailored for higher risk and potentially higher returns, while mutual funds generally offer pre-defined risk profiles based on the fund type.

  • Management Style: Discretionary PMS provides a hands-off approach for the investor, while mutual funds are always managed by the fund managers without direct investor intervention.

  • Investment Minimums: PMS typically requires a substantial initial investment, whereas mutual funds are accessible with much lower starting capital.

Factors to Consider When Investing in PMS

When considering an investment in Portfolio Management Services (PMS), several crucial factors must be evaluated to ensure it aligns with your financial goals and risk profile. Here are key considerations to keep in mind:

  • Minimum Investment Requirement: Ensure you meet the high minimum investment criteria, which typically starts from ₹50 lakh . This threshold is significantly higher than that of mutual funds.

  • Manager's Track Record: Evaluate the performance history of the portfolio manager or management team, focusing on how they have handled investments in various market conditions.

  • Fee Structure: Understand the fee arrangement, which can include a fixed management fee plus a performance fee based on the gains exceeding a benchmark. This is often higher compared to mutual fund fees.

  • Investment Strategy: Consider whether the investment strategies employed by the PMS align with your financial objectives and risk tolerance. Strategies can range from conservative to aggressive.

  • Liquidity: Assess the liquidity terms, as PMS investments may not be as liquid as mutual funds, with some having lock-in periods or penalties for early withdrawal.

  • Regulatory Oversight: While both PMS and mutual funds are regulated, the degree and nature of oversight can differ. Understanding these nuances is vital in PMS vs mutual fund comparisons.

  • Customization: One of the primary benefits of PMS is the ability to customize your portfolio. Ensure that this customization aligns with your specific needs and investment philosophy.

  • Risk Exposure: PMS often involves higher risks due to potentially aggressive investment strategies and concentrated holdings. Ensure you are comfortable with the risk level before investing.

  • Tax Considerations: Understand the tax implications of investing in PMS, especially how capital gains are treated compared to mutual funds.

  • Reporting and Transparency: Ensure that the PMS provides detailed and transparent reporting on investment performance and operational aspects.

Factors to Consider When Investing in Mutual Funds

Investing in mutual funds involves several important factors that should be considered to align your financial goals with the characteristics of various fund options. Here is a list of considerations for prospective mutual fund investors:

  • Fund Performance: Analyze the historical performance of the fund over various market cycles, comparing it against benchmarks and similar funds.

  • Expense Ratio: Review the total percentage of fund assets used for administrative, management, advertising, and all other expenses. Lower expense ratios can significantly impact net returns.

  • Fund Manager’s Experience: Evaluate the experience and track record of the fund manager in managing funds, especially during volatile market conditions.

  • Investment Objective: Ensure that the fund’s investment objective matches your financial goals, whether it's capital appreciation, income, or preservation of capital.

  • Asset Allocation: Understand the types of assets included in the fund’s portfolio (such as stocks, bonds, etc.) and ensure it complements your risk tolerance and investment timeline.

  • Risk Level: Assess the level of risk associated with the mutual fund. Typically, equity funds carry higher risks compared to debt funds.

  • Entry and Exit Loads: Some funds charge fees when you buy or sell shares. Be aware of these charges as they can affect your investment returns.

  • Diversification: Check how well diversified the fund is. A well-diversified fund can reduce risk by spreading investments across various sectors and assets.

  • SIP Facilities: If planning to invest regularly, check if the fund offers Systematic Investment Plan (SIP) options, which allow investors to contribute small amounts periodically.

  • Tax Implications: Understand the tax treatment of returns from mutual funds, including the taxation on dividends and capital gains , to gauge the post-tax returns of your investments.

Want to learn more about PMS? Here are some interesting articles related to Portfolio Management Services in India:

  1. What is Portfolio Management Service - Types and Benefits

  2. What is the Minimum Investment Ticket Size for Portfolio Management Services (PMS)?

  3. Complete Guide to Factor Investing & the Wright Factor Fund PMS

  4. Fee Structure for the Wright Portfolio Management Service
  5. Path to Wealth Creation: Timeline To Initiate a PMS Account in India
  6. Understanding the PMS Process: Fund Pooling and Fund Accounting
  7. How to Open a PMS Account as an Investor in India?
  8. Understanding Portfolio Rebalancing in PMS: A Crucial Strategy for Wealth Management
  9. Risks of Investing in Portfolio Management Services (PMS): A Comprehensive Analysis

Upgrade to Wright PMS! With cutting edge data driven investing we earned 54% in 6 months.
Explore Now

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. Who should invest in PMS and who should opt for mutual funds?

PMS is suitable for high-net-worth individuals who seek personalized investment strategies and can invest at least ₹50 lakh. Mutual funds are ideal for a broad range of investors, including beginners, who seek diversification and have a smaller amount to invest.

  1. Can I switch easily between different investments in PMS and mutual funds?

PMS: Switching between investments can be flexible but depends on the agreement with the portfolio manager and may involve higher transaction costs.

Mutual Funds: Yes, switching between different mutual funds or plans within the same fund house is typically easier and may be done with lower fees, especially in no-load funds.

  1. What kind of returns can I expect from PMS and mutual funds?

PMS may offer potentially higher returns due to personalized, aggressive strategies but with higher risks. Mutual funds generally offer moderate returns, with the performance depending on the fund type (equity, debt, hybrid) and market conditions.

  1. How are PMS and mutual funds taxed?

PMS: capital gains are taxed based on individual securities held within the portfolio—short-term or long-term depending on the holding period.

Mutual Funds: Equity funds are taxed at 15% for short-term gains and 10% for long-term gains over ₹1 lakh. Debt funds are taxed at the individual's income tax rate for short-term gains and 20% with indexation for long-term gains.

  1. What are the fees and charges associated with PMS and mutual funds?

PMS: Typically involves a management fee and a performance fee, which can be higher than mutual fund fees.

Mutual Funds: Charges include management fees (expense ratio) and sometimes entry or exit loads, generally lower than PMS fees.

  1. How does risk management differ between PMS and mutual funds?

PMS: Often involves more direct and aggressive strategies tailored to individual risk profiles, with specific risk management tactics applied to each portfolio.

Mutual Funds: Utilize diversification across a wide array of securities to manage risk, along with systematic risk assessment and adjustment strategies managed by the fund manager.

Our Investment Philosophy

Learn how we choose the right asset mix for your risk profile across all market conditions.

Subscribe to our Newsletter

Get weekly market insights and facts right in your inbox