Investment trusts

Reflecting popularity in the market

An investment trust is a company witha set number of shares. Unlike an open-ended investment fund, an investment trust is closed ended. This means there are a set number of shares available, which will remain the same no matter how many investors there are. This can have an impact on the price of the shares and the level of risk of the investment trust. Open-ended investment funds create and cancel units depending on the number of investors.

Unit trusts

Participating in a wider range of investments

Unit trusts are collective investments that allow you to participate in a wider range of investments than can normally be achieved on your own with smaller sums of money. Pooling your money with others also reduces the risk.

Open-ended investment companies

Expanding and contracting in response to demand

Open-Ended Investment Companies (OEICs) are stock market–quoted collective investment schemes. Like investment trusts and unit trusts, they invest in a variety of assets to generate a return for investors. They share certain similarities with both investment trusts and unit trusts, but there are also key differences.

Pooled investment schemes

Investing in one or more asset classes

Investing in funds provides a simple and effective method of diversification. Because your money is pooled together with that of other investors, each fund is large enough to diversify across hundreds and even thousands of individual companies and assets. A pooled (or collective) investment is a fund into which many people put their money, which is then invested in one or more asset classes by a fund manager.

Pound-cost averaging

A time-tested method for controlling risk over time

It’s natural to be looking for ways to smooth out your portfolio’s returns. Investing regularly can smooth out market highs and lows over time. In a fluctuating market, a strategy known as ‘pound-cost averaging’ can help smooth out the effect of market changes on the value of your investment, and is one way to achieve some peace of mind through this simple, time-tested method for controlling risk over time.

Taking a long-term view

Remember your reasons for investing in the first place

Stock markets can be unpredictable. They move frequently – and sometimes sharply – in both directions. It is important to take a long-term view (typically ten years or more) and remember your reasons for investing in the first place.

Allocating wealth

One of the most important investment decisions you ever make

How you choose to allocate your wealth between different asset classes will be one of the most important investment decisions you ever make. Asset allocation can account for the majority of your portfolio returns over the long term, so it’s essential that you achieve the right balance of cash, fixed income, equities and property in your portfolio.

Investment diversification

Protecting your money from adverse market conditions

Today’s markets are as uncertain as ever. But there is one certainty – the future is coming. It may no longer be enough to simply preserve what you have today; you also have to build what you will need for tomorrow. When deciding whether to invest, it is important that any investment vehicle matches your feelings and preferences in relation to investment risk and return.

Main types of investment

Understanding asset classes

There are four main types of investments, known as ‘asset classes’. Each asset class has different characteristics and advantages and disadvantages for investors.