Unit Trusts are a form of collective investment that allows investors with similar investment objectives to pool their funds to be invested in a portfolio of securities or other assets.
A professional fund manager then invests the pooled funds in a portfolio which may include the asset classes listed below:
- Bonds & Deposits
Unit holders do not own the securities in the portfolio directly. Ownership of the fund is divided into units of entitlement. As the fund increases or decreases in value, the value of each unit increases or decreases accordingly.The number of units held depends on the unit purchase price at the time of investment and the amount of money invested.
The return on investment of unit holders is usually in the form of income distribution and capital appreciation, derived from the pool of assets supporting the unit trust fund. Each unit earns an equal return, determined by the level of distribution and/or capital appreciation in any one period.
Unit trust investors are typically those with savings to invest, who neither have the time nor the inclination to hold portfolios of direct investments or shares. Rather, they prefer to invest in a secure, reputable investment vehicle which suits their purposes. Unit trusts allow investors to have easy access to a wide range of investments not normally available to them.
As investors seek to maximise returns on their financial resources, unit trusts provide an ideal way for them to gain exposure to investments that, in the long run, should produce returns superior to cash savings and fixed deposit investments.
The cost of these potentially higher returns is of course the risk that accompanies the investment. In the short term, the certainty of investment returns of most unit trust products is less than those offered by fixed deposits. However, in the medium to long term (i.e. 3-20 years), unit trust investments generally provide better returns at acceptable levels of risk.