Multicap Vs Flexicap Funds: Know Differences and Which Is Better

Evaluate the differences between Flexicap and Multicap mutual funds before picking an investment.
Flexicap vs. Multicap funds
4 mins
01 February 2024

Mutual funds are one of the most popular investment options in India, as they offer a variety of benefits such as diversification, professional management, liquidity, and tax efficiency. However, not all mutual funds are the same, and there are different categories of funds based on their investment objectives, risk profiles, and asset allocation.
Two such categories are flexicap and multicap funds, which are both types of equity funds that invest in stocks of companies with different market capitalizations. But what are the differences between them, and which one is better suited for your investment goals? Let us find out.

What are Flexicap funds?

Flexicap funds are equity funds that have the flexibility to invest in any market cap segment, i.e., large-cap, mid-cap, or small-cap stocks, without any restriction. This means that the fund manager can change the allocation of the fund based on the market conditions, opportunities, and valuations. For example, the fund manager can increase the exposure to large-cap stocks when the market is volatile or uncertain, or shift to mid-cap and small-cap stocks when the market is bullish or offers attractive growth prospects. Flexicap funds have to invest at least 65% of their total assets in equity and equity-related instruments, as per the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) norms.

Who should invest in flexicap funds?

Flexicap mutual funds offer a suitable option for investors with a moderate to high-risk tolerance who aim to diversify their portfolios across various sectors and market capitalisations. It is crucial for these investors to have an investment horizon of at least five years.

Investing in small-cap companies can be riskier due to their higher volatility compared to large-cap funds. However, flexicap funds also allocate investments to large companies, which helps mitigate some volatility and provides investors with the stability they seek.

These funds are ideal for investors looking to achieve long-term goals such as children's education, marriage or retirement planning. If you are an aggressive investor seeking to capitalise on companies across different market capitalisations over a long period, flexicap funds could be the right choice for you.

What are multicap funds?

Multicap funds are equity funds that invest in a diversified portfolio of large-cap, mid-cap, and small-cap stocks, as the name implies. However, unlike flexicap funds, multicap funds have to follow a specific allocation rule, as per the SEBI guidelines. Multicap funds have to invest at least 25% of their total assets in each of the three market cap segments, i.e., large-cap, mid-cap, and small-cap stocks. This means that the fund manager has to maintain a balanced exposure to all the segments, regardless of the market situation or outlook. Multicap funds also have to invest at least 75% of their total assets in equity and equity-related instruments.

Who should invest in multicap funds?

Multicap funds are suitable for a wide range of investors who seek diversified exposure to various market segments and are comfortable with moderate to high-risk investments. Here is a breakdown of who should consider investing in multicap funds:

  • Diversification seekers: Investors who prefer diversification across different market capitalisations, including large cap, mid cap, and small cap stocks, can benefit from multicap funds. These funds offer exposure to a broad spectrum of companies, which can help spread risk across different sectors and market segments.
  • Moderate to high-risk tolerance: Multicap funds typically invest across the market spectrum, which may include riskier mid cap and small cap stocks alongside more stable large cap stocks. Investors with a moderate to high risk tolerance who are comfortable with the potential volatility associated with mid cap and small cap investments may find multicap funds suitable for their investment objectives.
  • Long-term investors: Multicap funds are well-suited for investors with a long-term investment horizon. Since these funds invest across market segments and have the flexibility to adapt to changing market conditions, they can potentially deliver superior returns over the long term. Investors who are patient and willing to stay invested for several years may benefit from the growth potential of multicap funds.
  • Active management enthusiasts: Multicap funds are actively managed by fund managers who have the flexibility to allocate investments based on market conditions and opportunities. Investors who believe in the expertise of fund managers and prefer an actively managed approach to investing may find multicap funds attractive.
  • Goal-oriented investors: Investors with specific financial goals, such as retirement planning, education expenses, or wealth accumulation, can consider multicap funds as part of their investment strategy. These funds offer the potential for capital appreciation over the long term, making them suitable for investors with various financial objectives.

What are the advantages and disadvantages of flexicap and multicap funds?

Both flexicap and multicap funds have their own pros and cons, depending on various factors such as risk, return, performance, and suitability. Here are some of the main advantages and disadvantages of each category of mutual funds:

Advantages of flexicap funds

  • Flexicap funds offer the fund manager the freedom to adjust the portfolio according to the market dynamics and opportunities, which can enhance the returns.
  • Flexicap funds can capture the best of both worlds, i.e., the stability and safety of large-cap stocks, and the growth and potential of mid-cap and small-cap stocks, depending on the fund manager’s strategy and skill.
  • Flexicap funds can benefit from the changing trends and themes in the market, as the fund manager can switch to the sectors or segments that are performing well or have a positive outlook.

Disadvantages of flexicap funds

  • Flexicap funds can also expose the investors to the fund manager’s bias , as the fund manager has the discretion to change the portfolio composition at any time, which may not always work in favor of the fund or the investors.
  • Flexicap funds can also have higher volatility and risk, as the fund manager may take aggressive bets on certain segments or stocks, which may not pan out as expected or may face adverse market conditions.
  • Flexicap funds can also have higher expenses and turnover ratio, as the fund manager may frequently trade or rebalance the portfolio, which can increase the transaction costs and tax implications for the fund and the investors.

Advantages of multicap funds

  • Multicap funds offer the investors a diversified and balanced portfolio of stocks across the market cap spectrum, which can reduce the overall risk and volatility of the fund.
  • Multicap funds may also provide consistent returns, as the fund manager has to follow a predefined allocation rule, which can prevent the fund from deviating too much from the benchmark or the market performance.
  • Multicap funds can also suit the investors who do not have a specific preference or view on any market cap segment, and who want to invest in a simple and straightforward equity fund that covers the entire market.

Disadvantages of multicap funds

  • Multicap funds can also limit the fund manager’s ability to exploit the market opportunities or avoid the market risks, as the fund manager has to adhere to the allocation rule, which can restrict the fund’s performance and potential.
  • Multicap funds can also miss out on the higher returns or growth prospects of certain segments or stocks, as the fund manager has to maintain a minimum exposure to each segment, which can dilute the fund’s returns or impact.
  • Multicap funds can also face the challenge of finding quality and suitable stocks in each segment, especially in the mid-cap and small-cap segments, which can have lower liquidity, higher volatility, and higher risk.

Major Differences Between Multi-Cap Funds & Flexi-Cap Funds

Criteria

Flexi-Cap Funds

Multi-Cap Funds

Meaning

Dynamic allocation across market caps based on market conditions and fund manager discretion.

Invest across market caps without a fixed allocation, often managed actively.

Equity Exposure

Primarily equity-oriented with varying allocations to large, mid, and small-cap stocks.

Predominantly equity-focused with flexibility in choosing stocks across market segments.

Market Cap Allocation

Varies dynamically based on market opportunities and fund manager strategy.

Allocation can be diversified across large, mid, and small-cap stocks.

Fund Manager Discretion

High discretion to shift allocations based on changing market conditions.

Discretion in choosing stocks but often with a pre-defined mandate regarding market caps.

Risks

Market risks associated with equity investments, influenced by market cap exposures.

Exposure to market risks, influenced by the fund's diversification across market caps.

Tax Implications

Taxed based on the holding period and capital gains taxation norms.

Taxation follows applicable norms based on the holding period and types of capital gains.

Who Should Invest?

Investors seeking dynamic allocation and flexibility based on changing market conditions.

Suitable for investors looking for a diversified equity portfolio across market segments.

Benefits

Offers flexibility, potential for higher returns, and the ability to adapt to market dynamics.

Provides diversification benefits and the potential for returns across different market caps.


Which is better flexicap or largecap?

The choice between flexicap and multicap funds depends on your investment objective, risk appetite, time horizon, and personal preference. Both categories of funds can help you achieve long-term capital appreciation, but they have different risk-return profiles and performance patterns. Therefore, you should consider the following factors before choosing between them:

  • Your risk appetite: If you are willing to take higher risk for higher returns, and you trust the fund manager’s expertise and judgment, you may opt for flexicap funds. If you prefer lower risk and stable returns, and you want to follow the market performance, you may opt for multicap funds.
  • Your time horizon: If you have a longer time horizon, and you can withstand the market fluctuations and volatility, you may opt for flexicap funds. If you have a shorter time horizon, and you want to reduce the market impact and uncertainty, you may opt for multicap funds.
  • Your personal preference: If you have a specific view or opinion on any market cap segment, and you want to align your portfolio accordingly, you may opt for flexicap funds. If you do not have any preference or bias on any market cap segment, and you want to invest in a diversified and balanced portfolio, you may opt for multicap funds.

Conclusion

Flexicap and multicap funds are both viable options for equity investors, but they have different characteristics and implications. Understand the differences between them, and choose the one that matches your investment needs and expectations. Additionally, monitor and review your investments regularly, and make changes if required.

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Frequently asked questions

Can I invest in a Flexicap Fund for the long term?

Yes, Flexicap funds are well-suited for long-term investment objectives, offering flexibility to allocate assets across market capitalisations based on market conditions and fund manager discretion.

How does a Flexicap Funds function?

Flexicap funds operate with the flexibility to invest across various market segments, such as large-cap, mid-cap, and small-cap stocks. Fund managers dynamically adjust allocations to capitalise on market opportunities.

Which Flexicap Funds are 5-star rated?

Star ratings are subject to change based on market performance and ratings agencies. It's advisable to check current ratings from reliable sources like mutual fund rating platforms or financial institutions.

Which Multicap Funds are top-rated?

The top-rated Multicap funds may vary based on recent performance and rating agencies. For the latest information, refer to trustworthy sources that regularly update fund ratings and performance metrics.

How can I decide which fund type is right for me?

Consider your investment goals, risk tolerance, and time horizon to match fund types like equity, debt, or hybrid funds with your financial objectives and preferences.

Which fund type typically has lower expense ratios?

Index funds and ETFs (Exchange-Traded Funds) typically have lower expense ratios compared to actively managed funds due to their passive investment approach.

Do flexicap funds come with a lock-in period?

No, flexi cap funds do not come with a lock-in period, providing investors with the flexibility to enter and exit the fund at any time without any restrictions.

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