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Mid & small cap rally: Why are regulators concerned?

ICICIdirect 8 Mins 15 Mar 2024

The small and midcap stocks were on the roll until recently. So many stocks in these indices doubled in less than a year. What caused the rally, and why are regulators concerned now? You can continue reading the article to learn the answers to these questions. We will explain everything in detail around small and midcaps - rise and fall.

History of midcap and smallcap fund performance in India

The performance of mid-cap and small-cap funds is influenced by factors such as market conditions, economic trends, and regulatory changes. Let us look at the historical performance of mid-cap and small-cap:

  • Early 2000s: Mid-cap and small-cap funds gained popularity during the early 2000s as the economy experienced robust growth and the stock market witnessed a bull run. During this period, mid-cap and small-cap stocks outperformed large-cap stocks.
  • Global Financial Crisis (2008-2009): The global financial crisis of 2008 had a significant impact on the Indian stock market, leading to a sharp decline in stock prices across all market segments, including mid-cap and small-cap stocks. 
  • Post-Recovery (2010s): Following the global financial crisis, the Indian economy gradually recovered, and the stock market witnessed a period of strong growth. Mid-cap and small-cap stocks, in particular, performed well during the early part of the decade.
  • Regulatory Changes (SEBI Reclassification): In 2018, the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) introduced new regulations for mutual fund schemes, including the categorization and rationalization of mutual fund schemes. As part of these changes, SEBI reclassified mutual fund schemes based on market capitalization, leading to adjustments in the portfolios of mid-cap and small-cap funds.
  • Recent Performance (2020-2024): The COVID-19 pandemic had a significant impact on global financial markets, including the Indian stock market. Mid-cap and small-cap stocks experienced heightened volatility during the initial stages of the pandemic but witnessed a strong recovery as economic activities resumed. 

Here are the average returns of the top 5 mutual funds for 1 month, three year, five years, and 10 years.


1 month

3 years

5 years

10 years

Small Cap Funds*





Mid Cap Funds*





Reasons for midcap and smallcap fund fall

As you have seen in the above table, the historical returns are excellent, but in the last month, the indices/funds have felt pressure. Let us look at the reasons for the same:

  • Valuation Concern: The elevated valuations in the small and midcap segments have been a concern for a while. The valuations are at a much higher valuation, and it is not sustainable. Therefore, a correction was due as there was little scope for further upside.
  • AMFI to mutual funds: Over growing concern over valuations, AMFI recently directed mutual fund houses to stop taking more funds in these indices. This direction came after the instruction from SEBI. In 2023, mid-cap funds attracted nearly Rs 23,000 crore, while the small-cap schemes saw an inflow of Rs 41,000 crore. In 2022, mid-cap funds had an inflow of Rs 20,550 crore, and Rs 19,795 crore in small-cap funds. 
  • SEBI's statement: The most recent fall in these funds can be attributed to SEBI's concern raised over the froth building up in the small-cap and the mid-cap segments.
  • Large Cap Valuations: Large-cap stocks are now available at cheaper valuations compared to small- and mid-cap stocks. Therefore, funds are selling stocks from small and midcap funds and shifting the money to large-cap funds.
  • Promoters selling stakes: Promoters are selling their shares, taking advantage of this boom in the market. It is leading to pressure on stocks and, thus, the index.

How should investors look at falling midcap and smallcap funds?

The recent fall has been disturbing for some investors, especially the new ones. Investors who have entered the market in the last three to four years have not seen any significant corrections, and a significant correction may test their nerves. For the same reason, it is said that you should invest according to your risk profile. Let us look at different things you can do as an investor:

  • If you are a long-term investor, you can avoid all the noise and continue to hold your investments. However, if your initial allocation has changed, you may book profits in small and mid-cap funds and move to large-cap funds. The reason we covered earlier.
  • If your planned exit from these funds is near, you may be better off selling the funds now and putting the amount in a safer and more secure asset class.
  • For mid- to long-term duration, you can continue your SIP. If a significant correction happens in these indices, you may consider lump-sum investing. But only if you can hold your investments for long. After correction, in the short term, the chances of upward movement will be limited.

Role of regulators

The regulators have been proactive over the small- and midcap rally and the sharp increase in index prices. Last month, the market regulator restricted mutual funds to take one-off investments from clients in small- and mid-cap funds and cut commissions offered for their sale. To protect investors' interests, SEBI has also asked fund houses to do a stress test to see the impact if there is an unexpected redemption.


Investors must understand that corrections in small and midcaps are healthy and should happen. There is no need to panic about the situation - the market regulators are keeping a close watch on the situation. However, investors should be prepared for an even sharper and deeper correction. If you are new to investing, please understand the risks before investing in small and mid-cap funds.

* Source- Moneycontrol

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