Ready-made baskets of investments managed for you by an expert. A great way to avoid making a clanger by choosing one duff share.  


4 things you need to know

  • A fund is like a basket of about 30-60 different investments which hedges your bets
  • These are managed for you by a fund manager who typically charges about 0.75% every year to do this
  • They spread the risk around and are a much safer bet that simply buying one or two shares
  • You can buy them in a Stocks & Shares ISA to keep the profits tax-free



What are they?

Funds are an easy way to get a collection of investments picked and managed for you by a fund manager. If you're not the investment equivalent of a MasterChef finalist, these are your easy ready-meal option. 

There are thousands to choose from – here's the key things to work out. 

1. Do you want bonds, property or shares? Or maybe you literally just want one fund which is a blend of all of these – this is called a 'multi-asset fund' and is the easiest way to get going. 

2. How long are you investing for? Generally the longer your timeframes, the more you will have in shares. Bonds typically make less. But bounce about less so you're less likely to be underwater if you've only got a few years to play with.

3. Do you want to invest for income or for growth? Some UK Equity Income funds pay out around 3%-4% a year. Popular with people in retirement. 

3. Try and invest in different markets around the world – avoid the temptation just to stick with the UK 'cos it's familiar. Eggs in one basket and all that. 

4. How spicy? No pain no gain. But of course there's risk too. Emerging Markets are the Vindaloo. Can be painful but also more likely to explode upwards. UK shares are the Madras. Spicy but not too extreme. Bonds are the Korma. Easier on the stomach but you wont get the same kicks. Cash is like a slice of white bread!  

5. Which approach do you want? 'Active' or 'passive'? 

Many online investment providers have fund shortlists today which can help to sort the wheat from the chaff. Or if this is all far too much, have a look at a 'robo adviser' for help. 



Just tell me who's any good!?!?

Loads of you just want us to tell you which 5 funds are 'the best'. As irritating as you find it, we can't make this call without knowing what you need your investments to do for you. 

What we can do is point you to some big brand names who we think do a good job.

Multi-asset funds

Vanguard – their multi-asset funds called LifeStrategy are low cost passive funds and do a good job of spreading your investments around.

UK equity income funds

Research houses rate Artemis Income and Woodford Equity Income consistently well. 

Global funds

Lindsell Train Global Equity, Artemis Global Income, First State Global Listed Infrastructure, and Fidelity Global Dividend top the professional fund selectors' lists for global funds.


Fidelity Strategic Bond, Henderson Strategic Bond and Invesco Perpetual Corporate Bond are all rated highly by platforms. 



Guide to Funds

Still got questions? 

This four-page guide has the low down on active and passive, bonds, shares and property, helping you to understand funds and start building your own.


Download the guide

What you'll need to decide 

These are the five main questions you need to answer when choosing a fund which is right for you. 

What on earth is a 'passive' fund!? 

These mellow fellows can be a great way for the less-confident to get going. Low-cost too. 



Investing for beginners – Audio Guide

Broadcaster Georgie Frost and our CEO Holly bash through tips and ideas for beginner investors. A 10 minute listen.



What is a fund manager and what do they do for me?

Exchange Traded Funds (or ETFs)

ETFs are low-cost convenient ways to get exposure to a region or a type of investment through one single trade.



What are they?

ETFs are low-cost convenient ways to get exposure to a region or a type of It's like buying a mixed case of wine which is put together for you and saves you picking all the individual bottles. You just buy the case and let someone else worry about what goes into it!

Here's an example. Imagine you buy an ETF.  A FTSE 100 ETF. With just one trade you get an investment which has the biggest 100 firms in the UK already in it. Proportionate to their size.

Today HSBC is about 7% of the FTSE 100. So stick £100 in a FTSE 100 ETF and £7 of this will be allocated to HSBC shares for you. 

Unfortunately there is often some hieroglyphics to wade through. One of the most popular indices for global markets for example is called the MSCI (a historical coming together of Morgan Stanley with a group called Capital International.) So, for example, the ACWI (All Country World Index) from MSCI is a basket of about 2,500 shares from about 47 countries which lil' ole you could buy with one click. Bear with the jargon and wade through it. Financial people love an acronym or 12! 

The benefits of ETFs

  • Low-cost – you're not paying fancy-pants investment types to make expensive, subjective decisions - investment charges wont usually be more than 0.1% a year
  • A quick way to access major markets – for example the S&P 500 in the US or the FTSE All-Share in the UK
  • If you buy this online, most services will charge you a one-off transaction fee of about £10 and no other administration fees



Boring Money boss Holly Mackay uses ETFs in her investment portfolios as a foundation. A low-cost way to get exposure to major global markets. She then spices this up with some active funds in more specialist areas.

Professionals call this a 'core and satellite' approach. Because investment people like inventing strange names for stuff!

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