A mutual fund is a type of investment vehicle using a company or trust structure that enables a group of investors to pool their savings to invest in a number of different investments. For example, if 100 individuals each has $1,000.00 to invest, it would be difficult and potentially costly for them to invest in 20 different investments by themselves. But, by pooling their $1,000.00 collectively, the 100 individuals would have $100,000 to invest in the 20 different investments. By pooling their savings together, mutual fund investors can sample a broader spectrum of financial investments than they could on their own.
Mutual funds can trace their beginning to the first issue of shares by Spectrum United Canadian Investment Fund in December of 1932. Over the next 67 years, the number of mutual funds available to Canadian investors grew to approximately 1,200, managing approximately $390 billion in 1999.
According to The Globe and Mail's Globe Investor - Funds and The Investment Funds Institute of Canada, at the end of December 2016, there were 29,420 mutual funds, managing $1.338 trillion, available to Canadian investors allocated to the following areas of mutual fund investment:
- Equity Funds held assets equal to $431.1 billion
- Balanced Funds held assets equal to $696.8 billion
- Bond Funds held assets equal to $174.4 billion
- Specialty Funds held assets equal to $12.0 billion
- Short-term or Money Market Funds held assets equal to $24.4 billion
Understanding Mutual Funds - Canadian Securities Administrator
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