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.
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.
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.
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.
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.