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If you’re just starting out as an investor and building the first portfolio you’ve probably been told diversification is key. Having investments in stocks, mutual funds, and bonds can help us to keep a well-diversified and strong portfolio. But what is the difference between stocks, mutual funds, and bonds? Why is it important to know what each one is and offers before making an investment? Keep reading to learn the difference between stocks, bonds, and mutual funds; and knowing the difference can help you have a strong successful portfolio.

There are many ways to invest in equities – direct investment in stocks, through Mutual Fund (MF), through Portfolio Management Service (PMS) etc which is captured in the image below

Difference between Small case, Stocks, Mutual Funds, PMS

Difference between Small case, Stocks, Mutual Funds, PMS

What are Bonds

Think of bonds as a form of a loan. Except for the lender are you the investor. And the loan recipient is the government or a company.

It works like this; a hospital puts up bonds for sale in order to buy new equipment needed. They release the number of bonds needed to fund the project, and investors buy the bonds. The idea is that the company will pay back your investment with interest.

Bonds are safer than the stocks to buy today when it comes to the risk of loss. This is because the only way to really lose any money on bonds is if the government or company failed to meet their obligations.

It’s always a good idea to research a company before purchasing stocks and the same is true for bonds. Make sure the business doesn’t have a history or defaulting on bonds. Also, look at the terms of the bonds and make sure it is an investment you can truly support.

Having bonds in your portfolio along with stocks will help to offset any losses from the stocks should those companies suffer a drop-in share price. There are many factors that contribute to share price and even experts have a hard time predicting the changes in price. Having bonds to balance your portfolio can save you some heartache in the future.

What are Stocks

A stock is a small amount of ownership in a company. You won’t be able to buy a controlling number of shares (typically) but you will be able to vote on certain gongs on within the company itself.

Stocks are sold by the share with each share being worth a certain amount. The price of the shares rises and falls throughout the day. If the price of the shares you bought rise after you bought them, you will have made money on your investment. If they fall below though then you’ve lost money on your investment.

What makes stocks risky is that they rely on the success of the company. If the company tanks or goes under your shares will likely be worthless and you will have lost your investment. Likewise, if the company succeeds and grows, then share prices will rise and so will your investment.

The more shares you have the more you stand to be rewarded when the company does well and the more money you stand to make. However, similarly the more shares you buy the greater risk of a great loss. Do your research into the stocks to buy today to make sure you choose the best stocks for your portfolio.

 if one invests directly in stocks one needs to have knowledge, expertise, experience, interest and time to monitor the markets, study the performance of companies and economic situations to decide in which company to invest, when to buy and when to sell the stocks.

What are Mutual Funds

Mutual funds are a collection of stocks and bonds that you can purchase shares of. Your investment is then disbursed across several stocks and bonds by the fund manager.

Mutual funds have a few categories to include aggressive with high risk, and non-aggressive with low risk. Before deciding, do your research into the fund and read their prospectus. Pay particular attention to the fund’s investment objective, risks, fees, and expenses.

Mutual funds offer more security than stocks due to your investment being spread across dozens if not hundreds of securities. This gives you the best chance of not losing your investment and increasing your chance of reward.

Mutual Funds are popular because

  • An investor may start investing as low as Rs 100.
  • one can invest small amounts and get a portfolio of stocks made by a professional team.
  • There is a wide choice of funds and one may choose funds as per their financial goals and risk appetite.

What is Small Case

A small case is a basket of stocks that reflects an idea. Investing in multiple stocks protects you against volatility in a specific stock. For Example, a Dividend aristocrat’s small case is a collection of stocks that are focused on stocks with good dividends.  There are different stocks in different weightage to make a portfolio.

These small cases or baskets are created by SEBI registered experts of company SmallCase, some by experts(bloggers, YouTubers), or you can create the baskets or small cases yourself too.

The different small cases including asset allocation, smart beta, model-based and sectoral strategies. For example, All-Weather (offers exposure to equity, gold and fixed income via ETFs), Smart Beta (largecap stocks oriented).

One can invest in all the stocks in the selected smallcase in 1 click.

More information about SmallCase is given here.

What is PMS or Portfolio Management Service?

Portfolio management services (PMS) is a customized solution for high net-worth individuals (HNIs), where professional fund managers make a portfolio of stocks. The minimum investment amount is Rs 50 lakh for PMS. Though handled by fund managers, Unlike mutual funds, the investors’ assets here are not pooled. Usually, Portfolio Management Service (PMS) uses a separate Demat account for each client called Discretionary PMS.

Stocks are bought and sold in your name, with the help of a power of attorney. But the way PMS is structured, it allows fund managers to take concentrated calls on their high-conviction stocks without too many regulatory and operational constraints prevalent in a mutual fund portfolio. Some PMSs offer different models of portfolios for the investors which the investors can choose as per their financial goals and requirements. They can even customize them if they want some additional or want little adjustment.

There are various charges which are included by the PMS house such as entry load charges, management fees, and profit-sharing charges.

  • Mostly, the portfolio management service has an entry load charges of approximately 3%
  • management charge of 1% to 3%
  • Some of the portfolio management services schemes come with profit sharing that means the broking house will ask for a definite value of your profit over the return on investment.

As a PMS investor, you may also hold direct interactions with fund managers, should you feel the need.

PMS is registered by the SEBI market regulator. PMS services are availed by banks, brokers, independent investment managers, or AMC

Some of exmaples of PMS are

  • 1 Motilal Oswal PMS
  • 2 Ask PMS
  • 3 Kotak PMS
  • 4 ICICI Prudential PMS
  • 5 Birla Sunlife PMS
  • 6 Alchemy PMS
  • Invesco PMS
  • Unifi Capital PMS
  • NJ Advisory PMS
  •  Forefront PMS

Investing Today

When you’re just starting out in investing you want to have as diverse a portfolio as possible. But you also want to know what the different types of securities are. This way you can effectively balance your portfolio.

For example, if you want to invest in a risky stock you might want to buy a few more bonds in case the stock drops. Your portfolio worth as a whole won’t take that big of a hit if you lose some of your initial investment on the risky stock.

InfoGraphic on Bond

The image below shows the basic information about Bond, Terms associated with Bonds such as Face Value, Coupon, Maturity, Bond Yield, Types of Bonds such as Zero Coupon Bonds, Treasury Bills.

What is Bond?

What is Bond?

Always do your research before making any investment so you stand the best chance of earning a reward on your investment rather than losing it all.


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