What is Net Asset Value (NAV) in Mutual Funds?

Mutual fund units are allotted based on the fund’s net asset value (NAV). Below, we explore the meaning of NAV and its relevance to an investor’s decision-making process.

Wondering what is NAV in mutual funds? Keep reading to find out.

What is Mutual Fund NAV? 

Mutual fund net asset value (NAV) measures the per unit price of the fund. In other words, NAV is the price at which investors can buy or redeem units from an AMC. It is the intrinsic value of the mutual fund.

Generally, fund houses issue mutual fund units at a base price of Rs. 10. This value increases as the fund grows the value of its assets under management (AUM). Similarly, the NAV value can drop when the corpus’ market value diminishes. Thus, NAV represents the true worth of a fund.

Does this imply that NAV is similar to the market price of a share? Let’s find out.

Mutual Funds and NAV 

NAV (Net Asset Value) is one of the key metrics used by investors to determine the performance of a mutual fund scheme. The final return on a mutual fund is calculated based on the NAV, and the value of your investment changes according to the NAV. It represents the unit value of a mutual fund, calculated by dividing the market value of the securities in a scheme by the available number of units on a given date. This NAV of a fund changes when the holdings of the fund’s portfolio change.   

  • An open-ended fund has an unlimited supply of units. These funds are not traded on the exchange, and their NAV value doesn’t change throughout the day like stocks. As per SEBI’s guidelines, the NAV of a mutual fund is calculated at the end of the day after trading hours. 
  • Close-ended funds trade on the stock exchange like stocks. They can trade at a premium or discount value as compared to their NAV.

What is the Distinction Between NAV & Market Price?

While you may think that NAV is similar to a share price since both of them are reflective of the respective fund/ company’s worth, this is not the case. Unlike share price, which is determined by the supply and demand dynamics, NAV is based on the market value of securities, after factoring in liabilities and funding expenses.

Additionally, a fund’s NAV is not indicative of its future performance, which is in contrast to a company’s share price, which is emblematic of a company’s prospects. 

A mutual fund’s NAV value does not go up because of increased demand. This value rises only when the market value of AUM surges.

Finally, instead of being dynamic like a share price, NAV is calculated at the end of a day after the markets close. 

How is Mutual Fund NAV Calculated?

Now that we know NAV is not similar to a share price, how do we calculate NAV?

Primarily, a fund’s NAV can be computed by two methods: General NAV calculation and Daily NAV calculation. We explain them below

General NAV Calculation

A better way to understand the General NAV calculation is through an example. Assume you wish to invest in a mutual fund with a current NAV value of Rs. 100 via SIP of Rs. 50,000 per month. As a result, you can purchase 50 units per month on the day of purchase.

Daily NAV Calculation

SEBI has mandated all AMCs to calculate a fund’s NAV daily and post it by 9 pm on their websites. Thus, when the markets close, fund houses estimate the final value of their portfolios, and calculate the NAV, also known as the closing price, of the fund. This price becomes the opening price the next day.

The following net asset value formula is used to calculate the closing price of a mutual fund:

NAV formula = (Assets – Liabilities) / Total number of outstanding share units

To illustrate, consider a fund that has Rs. 300 lakhs in assets, Rs. 100 lakhs in liabilities, and has issued 10 lakh units to its investors, then 

NAV = Rs. (200 – 100) / 10

NAV = Rs. 20 per unit

Investors must note that funding expenses, such as administration & management expenses, distribution costs, advertising expenses, etc., are proportionally charged and adjusted in the fund’s NAV calculation.

Thus, a fund’s NAV is similar to a company’s book value as it adjusts the total value of cash and securities held for liabilities and divides this value by the units outstanding.

What is the Role of NAV in Decision Making?

Even though the NAV values are updated daily, surprisingly, they have very little relevance when it comes to making the final call about investing in a particular mutual fund. 

To illustrate, below we state the NAVs of a few funds as of 30th October 2022:

Fund NAV (Rs.)
ICICI Prudential Blue-chip Fund – Direct Plan-Growth Large Cap Fund 74.35
IDBI India Top 100 Equity Fund – Direct Plan-Growth Large Cap Fund 44.94
Nippon India Large Cap Fund – Direct Plan-Growth Large Cap Fund 59.33

Can you glean any information about these funds solely from their NAV values? Does a lower price indicate undervaluation or a buying opportunity? The answer to both questions is No.

Hence, we cannot compare funds only on their NAV values. Nor does a higher NAV price signal the fund is better. It only implies that the fund has a higher asset value.

Since a mutual fund distributes all its income and realised gains to the unit holders, a fund’s NAV is not very relevant for gauging its performance. Instead, investors should focus on the total return generated by the fund to evaluate its performance.

Should You Invest in a Fund with a Low NAV Value?

As mentioned above, a lower NAV value is not reflective of a cheaper valuation or a buying opportunity. Instead, it only specifies a lower asset base. Let’s understand this concept through an example. Assume an initial amount of Rs. 30,000, which can be invested in either Fund A or Fund B.

Fund A
Fund B
Current NAV (Rs.) 300 150
Units Allotted 100 200
Growth 10% 10%
New NAV (Rs.) 330 165
Value of investment (Rs.) 33,000 33,000

Here, a hypothetical fund B has a lower NAV value, which results in a higher unit allotment. Assuming a 10% growth rate in both funds A and B, the new investment value of both funds A & B remains the same.

Thus, a NAV value simply signifies the cost of buying units at a specific point in time. A higher NAV may, however, suggest that the fund is older, thus explaining the bigger AUM. But NAV values are not a useful indicator of fund performance.

How is the Applicable NAV Determined?

As per the mutual fund investment guidelines, the fund’s NAV is calculated only once during the day, at the end of the trading session. The formula for calculating the NAV is (Total AUM – Liabilities)/(Total number of units). One can invest on any business day, but the applicable NAV is calculated following the table below.

Liquid/overnight funds Other Schemes
  • If the application is made before 1:30 PM, the applicable NAV is the NAV of the previous day.
  • If the investment is made after 1:30 PM, the applicable NAV value is the closing NAV of the day immediately preceding the next business day.
  • If the fund is not immediately available for investing, the NAV is calculated based on the closing price of the previous day when the fund was available. 


  • If the application is available before 3:00 PM, the closing day of the NAV applies.
  • If the application is available after 3:00 PM, the NAV of the next day applies.
  • If the fund isn’t immediately available for investing, the NAV is calculated on the previous day the fund was made available. 
  • If the application is received before 3:00 PM, it is the closing NAV of the day immediately preceding the next business day.
  • Applications received after 3:00 PM. applicable is the closing NAV of the next business day.
  • For applications received before 3:00 PM, the applicable NAV is the NAV of the same day.
  • Applications received after 3:00 PM, the closing NAV of the next business day.

What is the Sale and Repurchase Price?

The sale price is the cost paid by the investor for each unit of the scheme when buying or switching in from another fund. For open-ended funds, the sale price is the same as the NAV of the fund.

The redemption price is the price paid per unit by the mutual fund company at the time of buybacks (the investor is selling or switching out). The formula used for calculating the repurchase price is the one below.

Redemption Price = Applicable NAV*(1- Exit Load)

For example, if the applicable NAV is ₹100 and the exit load is 2%, the repurchase price will be = ₹100* (1-0.02) = ₹98. 

It is important to note that, as per SEBI rules, the repurchase value of an open-ended fund shall not be lower than 95% of the NAV.

What are the Trading Timelines for NAV?

NAV is calculated once a day, and therefore, all buying and selling orders are computed based on a cut-off time at the NAV of the trade date. For instance, if the cut-off time is 1:30 PM, all buy or sell applications received before 1:30 PM, will be calculated on the NAV of the same day. And, orders received after the cut-off will be processed the next business day.

New cut-off timetable by SEBI.

Type of Schemes Transaction type Cut-off timings
Liquid Funds and

Overnight Funds

Subscription (including Switch-in from other schemes) 1:30 PM
Redemption (including Switch-in from other schemes) 3:00 PM
All other schemes

(other than Liquid Funds

/ Overnight Funds)

Subscription (including Switch-in from other schemes) 3:00 PM
Redemption (including Switch-in from other schemes) 3:00 PM

What is NAVPS?

NAVPS reported to the broker or the online financial portal is the price of each fund share. NAVPS stands for Net Asset Value Per Share. NAVPS can be slightly different from NAV, which is the fund’s AUM minus any liabilities divided by the number of units.    

Bottom Line

A mutual fund’s NAV merely shows the price for buying or selling units; it is not an appropriate measure to compare a fund’s performance to its peers. Instead, investors should rely on other parameters, including historical performance trends, expense ratios, and the quality of management, before choosing to invest in a mutual fund. Investors can choose to invest through a SIP, as it counters NAV fluctuations, resulting in rupee cost averaging.


What is (NAV)?

Net Asset Value (NAV) refers to the per-unit value of a mutual fund or an Exchange-Traded Fund (ETF). NAV represents the net value of the fund’s assets minus its liabilities, divided by the total number of outstanding shares.

How is NAV calculated?

The market uses the following NAV formula to calculate the price of mutual fund units:

NAV = (total asset – total liabilities)/total outstanding shares

Why is NAV important for investors?

Investors use Net Asset Value as a performance indicator for a mutual fund or ETF. Investors use NAV to assess the fund’s performance, track changes in value over time and make informed investment decisions.

Is a high NAV value bad?

A high NAV is misconstrued to be expensive and gives a low return on investments. Hence, mutual fund investors often ignore high NAV funds. But considering only NAV while investing may give an incomplete picture. Other factors that are more important than NAV are:

  • Expertise and experience of the fund manager
  • Expense ratio
  • Past performance of the fund 

How frequently is NAV calculated?

NAV is typically calculated at the end of each trading day for mutual funds and ETFs. NAV is calculated based on the closing price of all the securities in the respective mutual fund after making necessary adjustments.

Can NAV change over time?

Yes, NAV can change over time as the value of the underlying assets in a mutual fund or ETF fluctuates. Factors such as market movements, changes in portfolio holdings, and fund inflows or outflows influence the NAV. Investors should regularly monitor the NAV to stay updated on the value of their investments.