Common Mistake 1 : SIP in a fund with highest past returns.
Common Mistake 2 : SIP in 3-4 recent Top Performing Funds.
Common Mistake 3: SIP in 1 Large-cap, 1 Mid-cap, 1 Multi-cap and 1 Sectoral Fund.
By far this is the most popular method for selecting a fund. It is like driving a car looking at the rear view mirror. It’s misleading, inadequate and risky. Misleading, because it has the biases of when you started and how the markets are doing at the time of measuring the performance. It’s inadequate because it does not tell us how much risk the fund manager is taking and whether the fund is likely to perform in the future. It’s risky because funds that give the highest returns today have stocks that are overvalued and likely to correct or stagnate.
This is perhaps the most popular way of doing SIP. It ends up shortlisting funds with a very similar process (the rationale for selecting stocks in the portfolio) that resulted in all these funds outperforming together. For the very same reasons, these funds will someday start underperforming together making investors very uncomfortable and triggering an exit. This defeats the very purpose of SIP in multiple funds which is safety through diversification.
Many investors make/follow this decision with the hope of having a diversified portfolio. The idea of investing in a Mutual Fund is to use their expertise in picking stocks. In a Multi-cap fund the fund manager can pick large, mid or small cap stocks and stocks from any sector whenever they are attractive. Having chosen a multi-cap fund renders choosing other cap/sectoral funds redundant and probably counter-productive.