Investing in a fund

Making investment decisions on behalf of the investor

There are many reasons to invest through a fund, rather than buying assets on your own. At a basic level, investing in a fund means having a fund manager make investment decisions on behalf of the investor.

Pooled investment funds

Combining sums of money from many people into a large fund spread across many investments

Pooled investment funds – also known as ‘collective investment schemes’ – are a way of combining sums of money from many people into a large fund spread across many investments and managed by a professional fund manager.

Tracker funds and exchange traded funds

Market index following the overall performance of a selection of investments

Tracker funds and exchange-traded funds (ETFs) are investments that aim to mirror the performance of a market index. A market index follows the overall performance of a selection of investments. The FTSE 100 is an example of a market index – it includes the 100 companies with the largest value on the London Stock Exchange.

With-profits funds

Stock market return linked but with fewer ups and downs than investing directly in shares

If you save regularly or invest a lump sum using a life insurance policy, you might choose to invest in a with-profits fund. These aim to give you a return linked to the stock market but with fewer ups and downs than investing directly in shares. However, they are complex and are not as popular a form of investing as they used to be.

Investment trusts

Public company aiming to make money by investing in other companies

An investment trust is a public company that raises money by selling shares to investors, and then pools that money to buy and sell a wide range of shares and assets. Different investment trusts will have different aims and different mixes of investments.