Small-Cap Equity Funds : Basics, Benefits and more

Updated on: Jan 11th, 2022


7 min read

Small-cap equity funds are those that invest in equity shares of companies whose market capitalisation is less than Rs 5,000 crore. We have covered the following in this article:

How do Small-Cap Equity Funds work?

The “cap” in small-cap stocks refers to a company’s capitalisation as determined by the total market value of its publicly traded shares. Small-cap stocks are generally defined as the stock of publicly traded companies that have a market capitalisation ranging less than Rs 5,000 crore. Technically speaking as underlying companies are young and seek to expand aggressively, they are more volatile and vulnerable to losses during downtime in the market. In a small-cap fund, the fund manager invests at least 65% of the portfolio in small-cap stocks.

Small-cap stocks give individual investors an edge over institutional investors. This is because institutional investors prefer to purchases large-cap stocks due to its stability, while investors hoping for aggressive returns will invest in these funds. Further, fund composition plays a vital role, and an impulsive decision will endanger your investment.

Who should invest in Small-cap Equity Fund?

The investor who has the capacity to stomach higher risks can consider investing in this category. One must have a small composition allocated in his/her portfolio towards small-cap funds. When an investor is creating a stock portfolio for himself, it is vital to have a benchmark against which you can compare your returns. Comparing against a benchmark allows an investor to gauge the actual performance of his or her portfolio accurately.

We can also say that avoiding investment in small-cap fund can’t be a prudent way to deal with it. In fact, such an escape might prevent you from enjoying its magical return generating potential. One must learn patience while dealing with these funds. Else it won’t take long to erode the gains made by your portfolio owing to faulty switches or redemptions.

Things to consider as an investor

Small-cap funds are more volatile than large-cap and mid-cap funds. At times when the markets are not performing well, small-cap funds suffer a lot as they are less established and opt to move out of business. On the other hand, it’s a great investment avenue for those who can tolerate more risk and are looking for more aggressive growth.

In the last couple of years, the market has seen the small category perform exceptionally well and has also attracted a lot of investor interest and money in this category. Small-cap funds are presumed to have significant yet hidden potential to be a “multi-bagger” (Indian financial jargon for equity stock which gives a return of more than 100%) one day.

Small-cap equity funds charge an annual fee to manage your money which is known as the expense ratio. SEBI has marked the upper limit for this at 2.25% of the average asset under management. A lower expense ratio translates into higher returns at the end of the day. So, while shortlisting a fund, look for one which has the lowest expense ratio.

Investment Horizon
The small-cap funds face substantial erosion of returns when the market starts going downwards. Hence, to allow the fund to generate returns according to your expectations, you need to stay invested for the long term. A long-term investment horizon is when you consider this option for a time horizon of 7-10 years.

Financial Goals
Small-cap equity funds can be ideal for investors who may have long-term goals like planning for your children’s education, saving for your retirement, taking an exotic vacation with your family, paying off your medium-term debt, and so on. Historically, these funds have delivered higher returns as compared to the broad benchmark when the markets are bullish. However, these can become highly risky bets. Thus, those who have a high-risk appetite may think of investing in these funds. These funds invest in companies which have great potential to generate good returns.

Tax on Gains

When you redeem units of small-cap equity funds, you earn capital gains. These capital gains are taxable in your hands. The rate of taxation depends on how long you stayed invested in these funds; such a period is called the holding period.

Capital gains earned on the holding period of up to one year are called short-term capital gains (STCG). STCG is taxed at a rate of 15%. Conversely, capital gains made on holding more than one year are called long-term capital gains (LTCG). Due to the 2018 budget amendments, LTCG more than Rs 1 lakh will be taxed at 10% without the benefit of indexation.

How to Invest in Small-cap Equity Funds?

Investing in small-cap equity funds is made paperless and hassle-free at ClearTax.

Using the following steps, you can start your investment journey:

Step 1: Sign in at

Step 2: Enter all requested details

Step 3:Get your e-KYC done, it takes less than 5 minutes

Step 4: Invest in your most preferred small-cap equity fund from amongst the hand-picked mutual funds

Top 5 Small-cap Equity Funds in India

While selecting a fund, you need to analyse the fund from different angles. There are various quantitative and qualitative parameters which can be used to arrive at the best small-cap equity funds as per your requirements. Additionally, it would help if you keep your financial goals, risk appetite and investment horizon in mind.

Many times investing in liquid funds might be a jittery activity. In case tracking financial markets isn’t your thing and you are finding it too difficult to understand, then log on to ClearTax Save. You can invest in hand-picked funds by our in-house experts in a hassle-free and paperless manner.

Fund NameReturns
1 year3 year 5 year
HSBC Small Cap Equity Fund19.517.8828.81
Franklin India Smaller Companies Fund14.6217.5530.64
DSP BlackRock Small Cap Fund9.0218.9933.66
SBI Small & Midcap Fund36.6725.4936.16
Reliance Small Cap Fund22.4824.9236.8

Note: The order of funds doesn’t suggest any recommendations. Investors may choose the funds as per their goals. Returns are subject to change.


Many times investing in small-cap funds might be a jittery activity. In case tracking financial markets isn’t your thing and you are finding it too difficult to understand, then just go for ClearTax Save. You can invest in hand-picked funds in a hassle free and paperless manner.

Make small investments for bigger returns
Start with just ₹500

Public Discussion

Get involved!

Share your thoughts!


Quick Summary

Small-cap equity funds invest in companies with market capitalisation less than Rs 5000 crore. They offer more aggressive growth but carry higher risks. It is crucial to consider fund composition, risk, returns, costs, investment horizon, financial goals, and tax implications. Investment can be made hassle-free through ClearTax. Top funds include HSBC Small Cap, Franklin India Smaller Companies, DSP BlackRock Small Cap, SBI Small & Midcap, and Reliance Small Cap.

Was this summary helpful?

Clear offers taxation & financial solutions to individuals, businesses, organizations & chartered accountants in India. Clear serves 1.5+ Million happy customers, 20000+ CAs & tax experts & 10000+ businesses across India.

Efiling Income Tax Returns(ITR) is made easy with Clear platform. Just upload your form 16, claim your deductions and get your acknowledgment number online. You can efile income tax return on your income from salary, house property, capital gains, business & profession and income from other sources. Further you can also file TDS returns, generate Form-16, use our Tax Calculator software, claim HRA, check refund status and generate rent receipts for Income Tax Filing.

CAs, experts and businesses can get GST ready with Clear GST software & certification course. Our GST Software helps CAs, tax experts & business to manage returns & invoices in an easy manner. Our Goods & Services Tax course includes tutorial videos, guides and expert assistance to help you in mastering Goods and Services Tax. Clear can also help you in getting your business registered for Goods & Services Tax Law.

Save taxes with Clear by investing in tax saving mutual funds (ELSS) online. Our experts suggest the best funds and you can get high returns by investing directly or through SIP. Download Black by ClearTax App to file returns from your mobile phone.

Cleartax is a product by Defmacro Software Pvt. Ltd.

Company PolicyTerms of use


ISO 27001

Data Center


SSL Certified Site

128-bit encryption