An investment or ‘mutual fund’ is a product that invests in assets, such as bonds, equities or cash. The assets owned by the fund are called a portfolio, and they are managed by a fund manager. Your money is pooled together with that of other investors, and spread over the whole range of assets within the fund. Your investment in a fund is divided into shares, and the number of shares held represent your proportionate ownership of the fund’s overall assets, and the return those assets may generate. The prices of these shares will fluctuate daily because the underlying value of the assets will rise and fall – and since the total value of the fund is divided by the number of shares issued, your individual stake will rise and fall to reflect this.

Why choose an investment fund?

We list below some of the key reasons you might consider for investing in a ‘mutual’ fund:

Diversification

A fund spreads its investment across different companies, asset types and geographical regions, giving you the benefit known as ‘diversification’. When one investment is down, another might be up, and you’re not taking a chance on the fortunes of one single asset. This means your risk overall is significantly lessened, and by pooling money with other investors your buying power and access to assets and markets is greater than if you were buying single assets on your own. However, investors should be aware that diversification and asset allocation do not fully protect against market risk.

Ease of use

The day-to-day running of your investment is designed to be straightforward. A fund manager invests on your behalf and you’ll receive regular reports on how your money has been invested. You can choose whether you’d like any dividends to be automatically reinvested, or to receive them as regular income payments.

Low costs

Thanks to their ‘bulk-buying’ power, investment funds can be highly cost-efficient. They spread fixed costs, such as the charges for safekeeping of assets across all investors in the fund. So large transactions can be carried out at a fraction of the cost you’d pay if you were buying directly.

Professional investment management

Investment funds allow you to tap into the expertise of full‑time, dedicated fund managers, armed with access to crucial market information. Using the latest research, they constantly monitor for investment opportunities. Their decisions on what to buy and sell – pursuant to a fund’s investment objectives – reflect the changes they detect in economic or market conditions.

Choice of regions and sectors

You can take advantage of a wide variety of investment styles, sectors and geographical regions. You can opt for a fund that invests in a number of global regions, which can help cushion you against big market swings in any one area. Or you can target a specific region, and link your investment more closely to the fortunes of that locality. You can also, for example, focus on particular sectors, such as natural resources.

All financial investments involve an element of risk. Therefore, the value of your investment and the income from it will vary and your initial investment amount cannot be guaranteed.