An investment fund pools together investors' money in one big pot. It is a way of investing money, alongside other people, so that smaller investors can have access to a larger number of companies or assets, spreading risk and allowing a professional manager to make the tough investment decisions.
Investment funds are also known as unit trusts or open-ended investment companies (OEICs). At Chelsea, we can offer discounts on unit trusts and OEICs, which serve to reduce your initial charge and enhance the amount invested. An investment fund can be purchased either outside an ISA wrapper or inside an ISA wrapper. Either way, the charges are the same within the Chelsea FundStore – it's just the tax advantages that differ.
Most investors don't have vast amounts of money, so if you buy individual shares, you won't be able to buy many. If you invest in a fund, because your money is pooled with that of other investors, your money will be spread over a larger number of shares, which reduces the risk of your investment.
By investing in a fund, you won't have to decide in which stocks to invest. You will have a dedicated fund manager, sometimes a whole team, who will seek out the best investments and spend many hours pouring over company reports and accounts. They will be able to shift the emphasis of the fund at different stages of the economic cycle.
Some funds are known as passive and these will simply mirror a specific stock market or 'index'. We prefer active funds. Actively-managed funds have a manager at their helm who devotes their time to analysing stocks and selecting those they believe will outperform. They will whittle down the universe of several thousand stocks to invest in perhaps 100. How they go about doing so varies widely from one manager to the next.
Investment funds can invest in various different asset classes e.g. property, equities, fixed interest etc. Equity funds are the most common and they can invest in various different regions e.g. UK, Europe, Asia etc.
Unit trusts are dual priced, meaning that they have both a buying (offer) price and a selling (bid) price. OEICs have a single price, which does not include the fund provider's initial charge. More detail on these can be found in the Glossary. Whilst there is the technical difference on the way in which they are priced, there is no reason to choose either one or the other.
There are three easy ways to invest in an investment fund via the Chelsea FundStore and benefit from our discounts:
You can also invest via ourselves directly into a fund provider's investment fund (i.e. outside the FundStore) either over the telephone or via application form. However, due to increased administration costs, this is less cost-effective for investors.