The two-headed Goliath—Mutual Funds and their distributors

Exorbitant annual fees and commissions to distributors are hurting Indian mutual fund investors. There is a solution, but don’t expect your local distributor to tell you about it

Published on The Ken on 10th January 2019; In this article, I am recommending zero-commission plans / Direct Plans and index funds / ETFs; The article is behind a paywall, but free registration at The Ken provides access to a 200-word summary of all their articles; Hence, this is an excerpt from the article:

"Unnecessarily high fees of [Mutual Fund] AMCs and unnecessarily high commissions of distributors force investors to pay fees of an estimated 2% per annum as opposed to a more reasonable 1%. This 1% of excess fees eats up 1% of an investor’s investment each year. While the exact amount is debatable, the long-term impact is clear from simple arithmetic. If an investor surrenders 1% of her investment each year, then cumulated over 30 years, she has lost 26% of her investment."

You can mitigate domestic risks by investing abroad, here's how

Open a low-cost international broking account and invest in low-cost international exchange-traded funds

Published in Business Standard in September 2018; Note: The correct date of publication of the academic paper referred to in this article is June 1999; 

Update: After this article was written, a feasible option that came up is Motilal Oswal Nasdaq 100 Fund of Funds - Direct Plan, with total fees of in the ballpark of 60 bps p.a. (including the fees of the underlying Motilal Oswal Nasdaq 100 ETF) plus some bearable invisible costs at the time of entry and exit

Three Financial Risks to Plan for Before Retiring

Some risks can’t be mitigated by products as such products almost don’t exist in India

Published in Mint in September 2018; Original Title: Satisficing around financial products that do not existCached copy of the print version of the article which will download in PDF format

Turn no-free-lunch from an opponent to an ally

Don’t waste your energy fighting the law of no-free-lunch. Instead use it as a tool for thinking, to avoid mistakes and also minimize costs through index funds.

Published on in September 2018;

Update: After this article was written, I was able to get verbal clarification from Parag Parikh MF about the redemption timeline for their Liquid Fund. Hence the Parag Parikh Liquid Fund is somewhat similar to the Quantum Liquid Fund.

Quoted in:

Note: Brief quotes may not cover various nuances or the language may not be precise so please take them with a pinch of salt


"...[New SEBI norms] will prevent the launch of passive funds that take concentrated exposure to illiquid counters"

Published in Business Standard in January 2019; In this article, I am recommending against exotic index funds / ETFs; This article is behind a pay-wall


"...Even if some (say, 37 per cent) of funds outperform, it is difficult to pick in advance which ones will outperform over the next 10 years...”

Published in Business Standard in January 2019; In this article, I am recommending index funds; This article is behind a pay-wall


“In active funds, try to limit the expense ratio you pay because that is the only variable you can control”

Published in Business Standard in November 2018; In this article I am not recommending active funds but I am responding to a specific question about active funds; This article is behind a pay-wall

Mentioned in:

Mentioned in an article by Swapnil Kendhe, Fee-Only Financial Planner & SEBI RIA,

Published on in January 2019; The article mentions us collaborating on learning from each other's best practices; An additional quote by the editor of the article, Professor Pattabiraman M, IIT Madras: "Avinash Luthria from Bangalore is also a super competent advisor, part of my fee-only list. You can consider working with him too. "


Professor Pattabiraman M, IIT Madras: "There is however a long way to go to ensure investors understand what they are paying for. As long as [mutual fund Asset Management Companies] AMCs depend on sales guys [i.e. mutual fund distributors] for profit (as Avinash explains), that will never happen suddenly"

Published on in January 2019

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