The advantage in buying direct mutual funds is that the expenses are lower compared to a regular MF and therefore overall returns would be higher.
Many platforms are present for investing in direct plans of MFs. Let us compare a few here -
Existing MF schemes can be mapped to the account on MF Utility. There is no fees for their services. It also offers SIP, SWP and STP transactions.
On the other hand, the user interface is not the most easy or user friendly one.
Bharosa Club – It is a third party utility that allows for investment in direct MF plans. You need to register online using your CAN. If you do not have a CAN, you have to use the offline option. The fees is 0.25% per annum with a maximum limit of Rs. 10000. It uses MF Utility to manage transactions. It offers portfolio evaluation.
Kuvera – Investors can sign up with their KYC in place and transact in direct plans of Mutual funds. Kuvera charges neither commission nor fees. They also provide services such as fund recommendations, risk profiling, goal planning and portfolio monitoring. An investor can also move existing MF investments to Kuvera by switching to Direct Plans. It provides services such as multiple accounts (of a family) under one login, STP, SIP and SWP facilities.
Invezta – It is a third party application for management of direct MF plans. CAN is not required for opening an account. Investments up to Rs. 50,000 is free. Beyond that, Invezta charges Rs. 79 per month for a basic plan and Rs.109 for a premium plan. Users of the premium plan get access to features such as goal tracking, alerts for portfolio rebalancing and other checks and suggestions on asset allocation. The User Interface is good and easy to use. It offers facility for SWP and STP transactions.
It does not allow for integration with existing MF investments and is working on a process for the same. It does not have all AMCs listed to invest in.
Zerodha – Zerodha has a platform called Zerodha Coin for direct MF investments. Investments up to Rs. 25,000 are allowed free of charge. Beyond that there is a flat fee of Rs. 50 per month irrespective of the investment value. It offers mobile and desktop applications.
All schemes are not available for investment. It has account opening charges. There is no option for SWP and STP transactions.
Clearfunds - Investors can buy and sell on this platform free of charge. Clearfunds provides a service of smart portfolios where a customised portfolio is provided to the investor. This costs Rs.999 per year. The portfolio is managed, tracked and rebalanced as required. It provides for flexible SIPs and Auto pay options. It also has a mobile app.
They do not offer SWP and STP options.
It is a good idea to switch to direct plan options in Mutual Funds. Understand the features of different MF platforms including features such as privacy and security of data and robustness of the application and choose the most appropriate one for your MF transactions.