The importance of low expense ratios in liquid funds


One key factor that can significantly affect returns in investing is the expense ratio. This is especially relevant to liquid funds, which invest in short-term, low-risk debt instruments like Treasury bills, commercial papers and certificates of deposit – providing liquidity and safety to investors with short investment horizons or looking to park excess funds temporarily.

As liquid funds are considered low-risk investments, they often offer moderate returns. To optimize net returns and ensure maximum net returns are maximized, minimizing the expense ratio becomes key in optimizing returns. This article highlights the significance of low expense ratios in liquid funds as a key element to enhance performance overall. 

Understanding expense ratios

An expense ratio is an annual fee that mutual fund companies charge investors to manage their investments. It is expressed as a percentage of the average net assets for each fund and covers various operational costs such as management fees, administrative expenses and distribution charges. A higher expense ratio detracts more fees from assets within a fund thus decreasing returns for investors.

Impact of expense ratios on liquid funds

Liquid funds provide easy access to investments with minimal risk. Their returns tend to be modest; therefore, a high expense ratio could eat into their returns and cause their value to diminish over time. Therefore, low expense ratios are essential when investing in liquid funds: 

  1. Compound impact: Expense ratios are charged daily and then compounded over time, making even minor differences significant for final returns. For instance, investing Rs.10,000 with an annual return of 4% but an expense ratio of 0.5% yielding Rs.353.50 net return; with 0.7% it drops to Rs.329.30 after one year – potentially contributing to lower overall returns over time.
  1. Optimizing returns: Liquid funds generally offer moderate returns due to their low-risk profile. In such a situation, minimizing the expense ratio can help maximize net returns as it means more of your invested money is working to generate returns, improving the performance of the fund overall. 
  1. Competitive advantage: Liquid funds with lower expense ratios often possess a competitive edge over their counterparts with higher expense ratios, as investors tend to favour funds with lower expense ratios as they provide investors with superior returns and thus boost the inflows and performance of the fund.
  1. Enhanced liquidity: One of the primary draws to liquid funds for investors is their high liquidity, though expenses can adversely impact this value by decreasing redemption amounts and availability for redemption. A lower expense ratio ensures more of your money can be quickly available when needed.

Choosing liquid funds

Although expense ratio should be taken into account when selecting a liquid fund, investors must also evaluate other aspects such as performance, credit quality and portfolio composition in order to select an investment suitable for their investment needs. It’s crucial that investors find an equilibrium between low expenses and other considerations and select their most suitable liquid fund investment vehicle.


the significance of low expense ratios in liquid funds cannot be overemphasized. A lower expense ratio ensures more of your money is working to generate returns, increasing the overall performance and liquidity of the fund. For investors looking to maximize returns while meeting financial goals effectively, considering expense ratio as one key criterion when selecting their liquid fund is essential to making informed investment decisions and reaching financial success.