Difference Between IPO and NFO: Everything to Know

Throughout your investment journey, you’re bound to encounter many investment opportunities. Among these, IPO (Initial Public Offering) and NFO (New Fund Offer) are two common phrases. While they may appear alike, they hold distinct characteristics, objectives, and possible outcomes.

This post sheds light on these differences, enhancing your understanding of IPOs and NFOs.

Understanding IPOs and NFOs

An Initial Public Offering or IPO is when a private corporation publicly sells its shares for the first time. Companies employ this method to secure capital from public investors, who receive shares, making them partial stakeholders. The buzz around the launch of any new IPO is always significant, captivating the attention of potential investors.

Contrastingly, a New Fund Offer, abbreviated as NFO, signifies the introduction of a novel mutual fund scheme by an Asset Management Company (AMC). In an NFO phase, the mutual fund units are provided to investors at a preset price to fetch appealing returns in the forthcoming times.

How Does an IPO Work?

The following steps are involved in the execution of an IPO:

  • Underwriters are appointed by the company in question. They are responsible for valuing the company and setting the IPO price.
  • The company files a prospectus with the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI), outlining its financials, business model, and the purpose of capital raising.
  • The underwriters then promote the IPO to potential investors.
  • The shares finally go public and are available for trading through the best demat account.

What is the NFO Process?

The launching of an NFO entails several stages:

  • The AMC sets up a fresh mutual fund scheme, possessing a specific investment objective.
  • Before initiating the NFO, the AMC needs to acquire approval from SEBI.
  • During the NFO period, the fund is open for subscription, allowing investors to acquire units at the offer price.
  • After the NFO period, the fund is listed on the exchange, and units can be purchased at the current Net Asset Value (NAV).

IPO vs. NFO: The Key Differences

Although IPO and NFO both involve acquiring public capital, they possess unique features:

  • Issuer: Companies issue an IPO, whereas AMCs release an NFO.
  • Objective: IPOs are launched by companies to raise capital for expansion or repayment of debts. Conversely, AMCs introduce NFOs to offer fresh investment avenues to investors.
  • Pricing: The IPO price is set according to the company’s valuation, while during the NFO period, the units are typically available at a nominal price of Rs 10.
  • Risk: Investing in IPOs can carry significant risks depending on the company’s performance and market conditions. NFOs, too, have risks, but they are spread across various securities.
  • Returns: Returns from IPOs depend on the share price after listing. For NFOs, the returns are determined by the performance of the securities portfolio.

Pros and Cons of Investing in IPOs

Like any investment, IPOs have their advantages and drawbacks:


  • Possibility of High Returns: If the company performs well, the share price can surge, leading to substantial returns.
  • Ownership: As a shareholder, you acquire a portion of the company.


  • Overvaluation Risk: There’s always a risk that the shares are overpriced during the IPO.
  • Market Risk: The share price can be affected by overall market conditions post-listing.

Pros and Cons of Investing in NFOs

Investing in NFOs also comes with its set of benefits and potential pitfalls:


  • New Investment Opportunities: NFOs allow investors to invest in emerging themes or sectors.
  • Low Entry Cost: Units are typically offered at a nominal cost during the NFO period.


  • Absence of Track Record: As the scheme is new, there’s no past performance to assess.
  • Investment Risk: The scheme’s success will depend on the fund manager’s strategy and the prevailing market conditions.

Factors to Assess When Opting Between IPO and NFO

When choosing between an IPO or an NFO investment, consider the following:

  • Financial Goals: Are you seeking high potential returns (IPO) or diversified exposure (NFO)?
  • Risk Tolerance: Can you withstand the volatility linked to IPOs, or would you rather have the diversified risk of NFOs?
  • Investment Period: IPOs might be more suited for short to medium-term investments, whereas NFOs are typically considered long-term investments.
  • Market Knowledge: Do you comprehend how the stock market and mutual funds operate? Are you equipped with the best Demat account for trading?


Grasping the difference between IPO and NFO is vital for making well-informed investment decisions. You can select the most suitable investment option by considering your financial objectives, risk tolerance, and market knowledge.

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