Difference between Mutual Funds vs. Equities: A comprehensive comparison

Know the deference between Mutual Funds and Equities in this detailed article.
Mutual Funds vs. Equities
3 min

Investing in financial markets is a crucial step towards building wealth and securing your financial future. Two popular investment options that often come into the spotlight are mutual funds and equities (also known as stocks). In this detailed blog, we will delve into the differences between these two investment options, explore their pros and cons, and provide insights to help you make informed decisions.

Understanding mutual funds vs equities

1. Mutual funds

  • Definition: Mutual funds are investment vehicles managed by professional fund managers. They pool money from various investors and invest in a diversified portfolio of assets, including stocks, bonds, and other securities.
  • Risk and return: Mutual funds typically offer moderate returns with lower risk exposure due to diversification. The risk is spread across all participants.
  • Diversification: Mutual funds provide broad and instant diversification, reducing the impact of poor-performing assets.
  • Management: Fund managers handle mutual fund investments, backed by a team of market researchers.
  • Research: Investors rely on the expertise of fund managers rather than conducting individual research.
  • Control: Investors have less control over specific investments within the fund.
  • Transaction costs: Mutual funds involve an expense ratio and exit loads.
  • Liquidity: Mutual funds are usually liquid, but liquidity may vary based on the fund type.

2. Equities (Stocks)

  • Definition: Equity investment involves purchasing shares of specific companies directly from the stock market. It signifies partial ownership in the company.
  • Risk and return: Stocks can offer high returns but come with higher risk. Investors in the stock market are more aggressive.
  • Diversification: Investing in equities means buying stocks of individual companies. Diversification is limited.
  • Management: Individual investors manage their equity portfolios.
  • Research: Stock investors need to perform extensive research on market trends and individual stock performance.
  • Control: Stock investors have more control over where they invest.
  • Transaction costs: Buying and selling stocks may incur fees.
  • Liquidity: Stocks are highly liquid.

Comparing mutual funds vs Equities: Key differences


Mutual funds

Equities (Stocks)


Pooled investment spread across various securities.

Direct ownership of shares in specific companies.


Comparatively Low risk due to diversification.

Higher risk, especially for aggressive investors.

Return Potential

Moderate returns with lower risk exposure.

Potential for high returns but with increased risk.


Broad and instant diversification.

Limited diversification; exposure to individual company performance.


Professional fund managers handle investments.

Individual investors manage their portfolios.


Rely on fund manager expertise.

Requires extensive research on market trends and stock performance.


Less control; fund managers make investment decisions.

More control over specific investments.

Transaction Costs

Expense ratio and exit loads.

Buying/selling fees may apply.

Investment Amounts

Flexible investment amounts. There is minimum investment requirement to invest in Mutual Funds. It is important to note that the minimum investment amount is low in case of Mutual funds as compared to Stocks.

Minimum investment thresholds may apply.


Usually liquid; depends on fund type.

Highly liquid.


Equity vs. Mutual funds: Choosing the right investment for you

When deciding between investing in equities vs mutual funds, it is crucial to align your choice with your investment goals, risk tolerance, and the duration you plan to invest. The following considerations can guide you in identifying which investment might be more suitable for you.

  • Trading and liquidity: Direct equity investments are highly liquid, allowing for trading at any time. Mutual funds also offer the flexibility of trading and liquidation at any time, but it's important to be mindful of cut-off times to ensure the transaction is processed at the desired Net Asset Value (NAV). This liquidity feature extends to all mutual funds, except for Equity-Linked Savings Schemes (ELSS), which have a 3-year lock-in period.
  • Investment costs: Mutual funds come with an exit load imposed by the asset management company, which, despite being nominal, can impact your returns. On the other hand, direct equity investments may not incur an exit load, but they do attract a brokerage fee, which is a small fraction of the investment and its return.
  • Choice in stock selection: Equity investments offer the autonomy to pick individual stocks for your portfolio. Mutual funds, managed by professional fund managers, don't afford individual investors the same level of control over the specific stocks in the fund.
  • Speculation and market timing: Direct stock investments allow investors to speculate on stock performance and make decisions based on market conditions and volatility. This speculative approach is not applicable to mutual funds, especially those invested for longer durations, where performance is less about timing and more about the fund's strategy and market conditions over time.


When choosing between mutual funds vs equities, consider your investment goals, risk tolerance, and time commitment. Consulting a financial advisor is advisable to make the best decision for your financial journey. If you are looking to invest in mutual funds, you can head over to the Bajaj Finserv mutual fund platform to compare funds. With over a thousand funds to choose from, you can pick the ones that meet your specific financial needs.

Frequently asked questions

What is the main difference between mutual funds and equities?

Mutual funds are investment vehicles that pool money from many investors to purchase a diversified portfolio of stocks, bonds, or other securities. Equities, or stocks, represent direct ownership in a company, and returns depend on the company's performance in the stock market.

How does risk compare between mutual funds and equities?

Investing in equities involves higher risk due to the potential volatility of individual stock prices. Mutual funds offer diversification, which can spread out risk and potentially provide more stable returns over the long term.

What are the management differences between mutual funds and equities?

Mutual funds are managed by professional fund managers who make investment decisions based on research and market analysis. In contrast, equity investors need to conduct their own research or rely on brokerage advice to make individual stock selections.

Can you explain the liquidity differences between mutual funds and equities?

Equities traded on stock exchanges are highly liquid, allowing investors to buy or sell shares quickly during market hours. Mutual funds are usually liquid as well, but the liquidity can depend on the type of fund.

Which investment is better for long-term growth, mutual funds or equities?

While equities can offer the potential for higher returns, they come with higher risk and volatility. Mutual funds generally provide good returns over the long term, especially after 5 years, due to their diversified nature and professional management.

Show More Show Less