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Best Performing Mutual Funds (MFs) of 2008

This article lists the top 5 mutual funds (MFs) for the year 2008 for various types / categories – Equity Diversified MFs, Tax Saving (ELSS) MFs and Debt MFs.

As we did in 2007, it is time again to look into the rear view mirror, and find out which mutual funds have performed the best in the year gone by.

Of course, we need to remember that “past performance is not a guarantee for future performance”. But please keep in mind that consistent performance over a long period of time can be a convincing proof of strong stock picking and fund management skills.

So, here is a list of top performing mutual funds (MFs) for the year 2008.

My recommendation – It is always advisable to pay more attention to long term performance and rankings instead of the 1 year performance. (In any case, the 1 year performance is nothing to talk about for most funds in 2008).

Equity – Diversified

Top 5 Funds Based on 5 Year Return (Annualized)

Fund Name 5 Year Return (Annualized %) 1 Year Return (%)
SBI Magnum Contra 26.90 -53.81
Reliance Growth 21.91 -53.90
Kotak 30 20.10 -48.88
DSPBR Equity 20.00 -49.74
SBI Magnum Multiplier Plus 19.40 -55.90

Top 5 Funds Based on 1 Year Return

Fund Name 5 Year Return (Annualized %) 1 Year Return (%)
Birla Sun Life Asset Allocation Aggressive NA -35.68
FT India Life Stage FoF 20s 11.24 -40.70
IDFC Imperial Equity NA -43.03
UTI MNC 9.66 -43.10
Sahara Growth 16.53 -43.22

Equity – Tax Saving (ELSS)

Top 5 Funds Based on 5 Year Return (Annualized)

Fund Name 5 Year Return (Annualized %) 1 Year Return (%)
SBI Magnum Taxgain 24.75 -55.63
Sundaram BNP Paribas Taxsaver 20.44 -48.62
HDFC Taxsaver 18.35 -52.48
Canara Robeco Equity Tax Saver 14.75 -47.76
Franklin India Taxshield 14.20 -50.14

Top 5 Funds Based on 1 Year Return

Fund Name 5 Year Return (Annualized %) 1 Year Return (%)
Canara Robeco Equity Tax Saver 14.75 -47.76
Sundaram BNP Paribas Taxsaver 20.44 -48.62
Lotus India Tax Plan NA -48.73
Sahara Tax Gain 13.42 -49.44
Franklin India Taxshield 14.20 -50.14

Debt – Medium Term

Top 5 Funds Based on 5 Year Return (Annualized)

Fund Name 5 Year Return (Annualized %) 1 Year Return (%)
Canara Robeco Income 9.94 28.62
IDFC Dynamic Bond Plan A 9.08 26.35
Birla Sun Life Income 8.79 20.86
Kotak Bond Regular 8.38 19.97
ICICI Prudential Long-term 8.32 10.03

Top 5 Funds Based on 1 Year Return

Fund Name 5 Year Return (Annualized %) 1 Year Return (%)
Canara Robeco Income 9.94 28.62
IDFC Dynamic Bond Plan A 9.08 26.35
IDFC SSI Inv Plan A 7.71 24.25
ICICI Prudential Income 8.15 23.56
Birla Sun Life Income Plus 8.06 21.58

So, go ahead and make investment plans for the year 2009. And remember not to get influenced by short term returns – long term performance is the only way to judge a mutual fund (MF) prudently!

Happy investing!

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Hi Yshna,

    Thanks a lot for the liberal praise…. It is really encouraging!

    Wish you too a very Happy New Year…

  2. Wish you all a very Happy New Year!

    v v rao

  3. Anonymous says:

    Dear Sridhar,

    Thanks a lot for the liberal praise… It is really very encouraging. I try my best to be of help, and I am glad that I am succeeding to a certain extent…

    I am not sure how feasible it is technically to convert each article in PDF / DOC and put it up on the website. I would definitely look into it and try my best.

    Thanks again…

  4. I have liberally been reading your posts all morning and each topic is very well written and easily understandable. You have managed to write the articles keeping the financial jargon to the minimum.

    Thank you for the posts.

    Wishing you a Happy New Year!

  5. Anonymous says:

    Hi Raag,

    you can explore the PDF conversion option at .

    Hi Sridhar,

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  6. Anonymous says:

    Hi Kaushik,

    That looks like a very good option – I would check how I can implement it on my website.

    Thanks a lot!!

  7. Sir,
    I have come across ur web site & realy enjoy reading it. very useful infiormation.Thanks.These days everybody wants to earn if they publish any information in website.
    But u are offering for free.So its useful for people like me & following many of ur ideas which is true.
    Earlier I had some wrong/bad ideas/info from some people.
    Thanks & congratulation.

    But one thing that all ur articles are in html format.If it in PDF or doc file i’ll download & read.Now i have to read ur article by switching on the net till i complete the article.

  8. Anonymous says:

    Hi Akshay,

    I like people who ask questions – when you ask a question, it means you are paying attention!

    Coming to your question….

    Unfortunately, at this stage, I don’t comment on individual stocks and MF schemes.

    If you are concerned, please compare the 5 years annualized returns of the scheme with its peers, and you can find out if it is doing well or not.

  9. Anonymous says:

    i am back again with questions…ihave invested in Birla sunlife tax saver, sundaram tax saver and SBI tax gain….how safe are they…i am more concerned about birla sunlife fund….can you pls offer some advice…

  10. Dude, ur website rocks !!! Its actually one of the better websites on finance and personal management …Keep goin …

  11. Anonymous says:

    Hi Raag,

    This is a wonderful site I have come across in terms of explaining finance to an alien to finance.

    May I request you to revisit and update these comparision tables so that we have the updated information to invest.

    Also, any document giving insight to do technical analysis of the stocks , options and futures would be helpful. I have gone through a lot of information available in net but couldnt figure out the genunity. As you have proven trustworthy, may I request you to draft some thing for doing the tech analysis, etc .

  12. Anonymous says:

    Hi Raag,

    I am confused here at one point.

    when going for SIP, which is better in terms of less overall charges between ELSS and Equity Diversified funds, assuming the funds were not touched for 10 years ? I understand that ELSS gives tax benefit under 80C.

    I have completely used my 80C . Is there any advantage if I go to ELSS rather Diversified equity funds? Please let us know.

  13. Anonymous says:

    Hello Ram,

    Thanks a lot for the liberal praise, and for your trust. I am really touched!

    I publish this ranking once a year, at the end of the year. I agree that its better to have this ranking more frequently – I would try to do that.

    In the mean time, you can use a good website like to do the analysis of different MF schemes.

    I have written about technical analysis, and derivatives. Here are the links to the articles (please note that I am against technical analysis – I would advise you to rely more on fundamental analysis).

    An introduction to Technical Analysis

    An Introduction to Fundamental Analysis

    Introduction to derivatives – Futures and Options

    Thanks again….

  14. Anonymous says:

    Hello Ram,

    The charges are quite comparable between ELSS and diversified equity funds.

    So, apart from tax saving, the only advantage is that the fund manager of ELSS doesn’t have pressure of early redemptions, and can therefore invest for a longer term, giving potentially better returns.

    But since you want to invest for 10 years, there would not be much difference between the two.

  15. Hi,

    I have invested Rs. 50,000 in SBI Tax Advantage Fund Series I in 2008. Its a 10-year close ended ELSS. Can i redeem some units of this after mandatory three years. If so, what is the procedure to do it or is it advisable to keep money for complete 10 years.

    Please do advise.


  16. Anonymous says:

    Hi Venkee,

    You can always withdraw money from an ELSS scheme after 3 years if you want to.

    Since this is a close ended scheme, the units must be listed on the stock exchanges. So, you should be able to sell them like any other share.

    On a side note, I would like to mention that equity investment gives best returns only in the long term. So, if you do not need the money, keep invested in a good performing equity MF scheme for as long as possible.

    Check out “Stocks – The winning bet for the long term” for more.

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