Sifting Through Small Cap: A Guide to Choosing the Best Small Cap Mutual Funds in 2023

Investing in small cap mutual funds can be an exciting and rewarding way to grow your wealth over the long term. Small cap stocks represent companies with a market capitalization typically ranging from a few hundred crores to a few thousand crores, and they have the potential for substantial growth. However, investing in small cap mutual funds can be riskier compared to large-cap or mid-cap stocks, so choosing the right small cap mutual fund is crucial. In this blog, we’ll guide you through the process of selecting the best small cap mutual funds to suit your investment goals.

Evaluate Your Investment Goals and Risk Tolerance

Before diving into the world of small cap mutual funds, it’s essential to have a clear understanding of your investment objectives and risk tolerance. Consider the following questions:

  • What are your financial goals? (e.g., wealth creation, retirement planning, buying a house)
  • What is your investment horizon? (e.g., short-term, medium-term, long-term)
  • How comfortable are you with taking risks in your investment portfolio?

Once you have a clear picture of your goals and risk tolerance, you can proceed with selecting the right small cap mutual funds. Follow these steps to ensure that you have all your bases covered before investing in small cap mutual funds:

Step 1: Research and Selection Criteria

  • Consistent Performance: Look for funds with a consistent track record of delivering good returns over the long term, ideally beating their benchmark indices.
  • Fund Manager Expertise: The fund manager’s experience and track record play a significant role in the fund’s performance. Research the fund manager’s past performance and investment style.
  • Expense Ratio: Lower expense ratios are preferable as they reduce the drag on your returns. Compare expense ratios among different funds.
  • AUM (Assets Under Management): A fund with a substantial AUM can be an indicator of investor trust. However, very large AUMs can sometimes lead to performance issues due to limitations in deploying capital in small cap stocks.
  • Risk Metrics: Assess the fund’s risk profile by looking at parameters like standard deviation and beta. A good small cap fund should have a slightly higher risk, but it should be within your risk tolerance.

Step 2: Diversification and Portfolio Composition

Small cap mutual funds should provide diversification across various small cap stocks to reduce risk. Check the fund’s portfolio holdings to ensure it has exposure to different sectors and industries. A well-diversified fund can mitigate the risk associated with individual small cap stocks.

Step 3: Review Historical Performance

While past performance doesn’t guarantee future returns, it’s still a valuable metric for evaluating small cap mutual funds. Look at the fund’s performance over various time periods, such as 1-year, 3-year, and 5-year returns, and compare it to its benchmark index. Steady and superior performance indicates a well-managed fund.

Step 4: Check for Consistency

Consistency in performance is essential. Look for funds that have consistently outperformed their benchmark index over multiple periods. Avoid funds that show erratic or highly volatile returns.

Step 5: Investment Horizon

Small cap mutual funds are best suited for long-term investors who can ride out market volatility. Ensure that your investment horizon aligns with the recommended holding period for the fund, which is typically 5 years or more.

Step 6: Consult with Financial Advisors

If you’re unsure about which small cap mutual funds to choose or need personalized advice, consider consulting a financial advisor. They can help you assess your goals, risk tolerance, and recommend funds that align with your financial plan.

The Best Small Cap Funds in India

The best mutual funds in India include many big names like Nippon and SBI, which also provide lucrative returns on small cap mutual funds. If you are confused about which small cap mutual fund you should invest in, use the following table to compare and make an informed decision:

Fund5-Year Return3-Year Return
Axis Quant Fund – Direct Plan – Growth54.95%46.87%
HDFC Small Cap Fund – Direct Plan – Growth42.89%32.98%
Nippon India Small Cap Fund – Direct Plan – Growth41.48%31.98%
Kotak Mahindra Small Cap Fund – Direct Plan – Growth41.43%31.93%
SBI Small Cap Fund – Direct Plan – Growth40.32%31.18%
DSP Small Cap Fund – Direct Plan – Growth39.87%31.12%
Franklin India Smaller Companies Fund – Direct Plan – Growth39.41%30.94%
Sundaram Small Cap Fund – Direct Plan – Growth39.39%30.93%
ICICI Prudential Small Cap Fund – Direct Plan – Growth39.35%30.90%
L&T Emerging Businesses Fund – Direct Plan – Growth39.33%30.89%


Investing in small cap mutual funds can be a lucrative strategy for those seeking high growth potential in their investment portfolios. However, it’s essential to conduct thorough research, assess your risk tolerance, and choose funds that align with your financial goals. By following these guidelines and staying informed about your investments, you can increase your chances of selecting the best small cap mutual funds for your portfolio. Remember that investing always carries some level of risk, so it’s crucial to make informed decisions and monitor your investments regularly.


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Amit Arora

I am a seasoned retail banker with over 21 years of global experience across business, risk and digital. In my last assignment as Global Head Digital Capabilities, I drove the largest change initiative in the bank to deliver the end-to-end digital program with over US$1 billion in planned investment. Prior to that, as COO for Group Retail Products & Digital, I implemented a risk management framework for retail banking across the group.
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