What are the Different Types of Index Funds?

Index funds are mutual funds that offer low-cost, diversified investments. These are ideal for various investors. Learn about different types of index funds, their benefits, and risks.

Investments are important to grow your wealth growth and enjoy long-term financial security. While there are many investment options available, like mutual funds and stocks, index funds can also be a good choice in case they align with your financial profile. In this article, learn about index funds, the different types of index funds, their benefits, risks, and much more. 

What Is an Index Fund?

Index funds are mutual funds that replicate the performance of a specific stock market index, like the Sensex, Nifty 50, etc. These funds invest in the same proportion as the index they track. This makes them a cost-effective option. It is also a low-risk investment, particularly for individuals looking to gain exposure to the broader stock market rather than picking individual stocks.

Types of Index Funds

1. Broad Market Index Funds

These funds aim to imitate the performance of a broad stock market index. They provide diversified exposure to various sectors. For example, the SBI Nifty Index Fund closely tracks the Nifty 50 Index, which comprises India’s top 50 stocks across different industries. You can invest in index funds to gain exposure to the overall market performance.

2. Market Capitalisation Index Funds

These funds follow indices based on companies’ market capitalisation. They allow investors to access large, mid, or small-cap segments. For instance, the ICICI Prudential Nifty Midcap 150 Index Fund targets mid-cap stocks, providing an opportunity to invest in companies with medium market capitalisation. This diversification strategy helps you balance risk and return based on your preferences.

3. Equal Weight Index Funds

As the name suggests, equal-weight index funds allocate an equal weight to all index components. By doing so, they mitigate the risk of over-concentration in a few large-cap stocks. These funds ensure that all the companies in the portfolio have equal weight and no single stock dominates the portfolio. This results in a more balanced risk exposure and an opportunity for smaller companies to impact the fund’s performance.

4. Factor-Based or Smart Beta Index Funds

These funds use specific factors such as value, growth, or low volatility to optimise returns or manage risk. For example, ICICI Prudential Nifty 100 Low Volatility 30 ETF tracks the performance of Nifty 100 Low Volatility 30 TRI.

5. Strategy Index Fund

Strategy index funds follow predefined strategies, such as low volatility or high dividend yield. The ICICI Prudential Alpha Low Vol 30 ETF is an ETF that focuses on low-volatility stocks to reduce risk. Such funds offer you a systematic approach to their investments by aligning with specific strategies.

6. Sector-Based Index Funds

These funds provide exposure to specific industry sectors, such as healthcare, banking, IT, etc. For example, the UTI Nifty Banking ETF concentrates on banking sector stocks. If you are interested in any specific sector, you can learn more about these funds and add them to your portfolios.

7. International Index Funds

These funds replicate foreign market indices, allowing Indian investors to diversify globally. The Franklin India Feeder – Franklin U.S. Opportunities Fund offers access to U.S. markets, enabling investors to participate in the performance of U.S. stocks. This diversification helps spread risk across global markets and potentially capture opportunities abroad.

8. Debt Index Funds 

As the name suggests, debt index funds follow fixed-income indices that offer exposure to bonds and other debt securities. For instance, the Edelweiss NIFTY PSU Bond Plus SDL Index Fund 2026 tracks the Nifty PSU Bond Plus SDL Apr 2026 50:50 Index. This fund invests in high-quality PSU bonds and state development loans in India. These funds are preferred by investors seeking stable income and low-risk options in their investment portfolios.

9. Custom Index Funds

Custom index funds are designed to replicate tailor-made indices to meet specific investment objectives or themes. An example is the Aditya Birla Sun Life Banking & Financial Services Fund, which focuses on the banking and financial sector. These funds are ideal for investors with unique preferences or thematic investment strategies.

Benefits of Index Funds

There are several advantages to investing in an index fund, and a few of them are:

  • Index funds offer instant diversification across various securities, reducing risk.
  • They have lower expense ratios, resulting in higher returns for investors.
  • As an investor, you will know which securities are in the fund and how they are managed.
  • These funds aim to match the performance of their benchmark index, offering stable returns over time.
  • They require minimal human intervention, reducing the risk of costly errors and making them suitable for beginners.

Risks Associated With Investing in Index Funds

Though index funds seem beneficial, there are certain risks associated with them.

  • As they track a particular index, it can restrict the fund’s ability to respond to overall market conditions.
  • Index funds may not perfectly replicate the index’s returns due to tracking errors, impacting overall performance.
  • A few index funds may have high exposure to specific sectors or industries, making them vulnerable to sector-specific risks.
  • Market-cap-weighted indices can be biased towards larger companies, potentially leaving smaller companies underrepresented in the portfolio.
  • Unlike a few actively managed funds, index funds do not have specific risk mitigation strategies to protect against market declines or sudden economic shifts.

Who Should Invest in Index Funds?

Index funds can be well-suited for those who seek a low-cost, low-maintenance, and diversified approach to investing. With index funds, there’s no need for extensive market research or stock-picking skills, making them accessible to individuals with limited financial expertise.

Additionally, index funds are attractive to long-term investors who prefer a buy-and-hold strategy. The consistent performance and low expense ratios can provide attractive returns over time. If you want to build a well-balanced portfolio and spread risk across various asset classes, you can find value in index funds. They provide an efficient way to gain exposure to entire markets or specific sectors. 

How To Invest in Index Funds?

You can invest in an index fund through a trusted broker like Angel One. Visit the website, select the right index fund, and place an order for the chosen fund. You can invest in a lump sum or opt for SIPs, depending on your financial objectives. 


Index funds can offer an accessible and efficient way to build a diversified investment portfolio, making them an excellent choice for investors seeking a straightforward, low-cost, and low-maintenance approach to growing their wealth. However, before deciding, understand the different types of index funds and pick the one that suits your investment objectives and risk appetite.  

SIP Calculators:


Do we need a Demat account to invest in index funds?

No. You don’t need a Demat account to invest in index funds. However, you must hold an investment account and complete the mandatory KYC with the broker.

What does an entry load on mutual funds mean?

Entry load refers to a fee imposed by mutual funds when an investor purchases fund units. However, as of August 2009, entry loads were cancelled by the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI), making mutual fund investments more investor-friendly.

Are index funds a safe investment option?

Index funds are considered relatively safe due to their diversified nature. However, they aren’t risk-free as they invest in indexes, which market fluctuations can still affect.

How do index funds work?

Index funds replicate the performance of a chosen market index, like the Nifty 50 or Sensex. They aim to hold similar securities in the same proportion as the index. When the index value increases or decreases, the fund’s Net Asset Value (NAV) also fluctuates accordingly.