Home / Investment Companies

Investment Companies

Investment companies are the firms which invest in a diversified portfolio of assets to make money for their shareholders. By investing in an investment company you gain access to a range of investments that you could normally buy yourself. Your investment is also managed by an expert fund manager. This investment process makes investment companies, like units trusts. 

Investment companies invest in a wide range of assets such as shares and securities of other companies that trade on the stock markets around the world, private equity, property, bonds etc. It means investment companies are not only offer you exposure to a range of companies but can also give you exposure to specific industries, markets or even small unlisted businesses which are at an early stage in their development. 

Investment companies are listed on a stock exchange and there are over 400 investment companies in the UK, responsible for the management of billions of pounds worth of assets on behalf of investors. 

Before you invest in an investment company, an important part of the financial planning process is to carefully look at your current financial situation. In order to do this, you need to be aware of what assets, liabilities, income and expenditure you have so that you are clear how much you can afford to invest.

  • Consider your liabilities
  • Have some secure savings
  • Make sure you can survive losses
  • Do your research
  • Get financial advice

How do Investment Companies Work?

  • A diversified portfolio of assets: Investment companies hold a broad range of assets, which can include shares, securities, and property. It means your investment is diversified and is not exposed to the fortunes of just one or a few investments.

  • Closed-ended: Investment companies are listed on a stock exchange and therefore raise money for investing by issuing shares. Generally, this happens once, when the company is created. This makes them closed ended – the number of shares the company issues and therefore the amount of money raised to invest is fixed from the start.

  • Investment objectives: These investment companies specialise in what they aim to achieve for their shareholders. Investment companies often specialise in particular sectors and types of company.

  • A board of directors: Each investment company has a board of directors which meets several times a year and monitors the company’s performance. The board has a legal duty to uphold the interests of its shareholders.

  • Fund management and fund management groups: The board appoints a fund manager who makes the day-to-day decisions about what shares and other investments to buy and sell. Most investment companies are managed by an external fund management group, which may provide fund management services to a number of companies.

There are hundreds of investment companies to choose from, but you can narrow the choices by being clear about why and how you’re investing.

  • What do you want from your investment?

    Do you want a regular income or are you putting money away for a number of years so it can grow? There are a wide choice of investment companies with specific objectives ranging from a return of high income without capital growth to capital growth only and other investment companies aim to provide both income and capital returns. You should not forget that a company’s objectives may not be met. You are not certain to make a profit and may not get back the full amount of your investment in terms of capital. Any income from your investment is not fixed and could fall.

  • Will you invest a lump sum or make regular payments?

    If you have a lump sum, you can invest directly in an investment company. If you want to make small regular payments, you probably need to consider investing in a wrapper product such as a savings scheme or an ISA.

  • How much risk do you want to take?

    Many investment companies only invest in a specific geographical or industry sector, which allows you to choose particular parts of the world or types of company.

    The level of risk you might be prepared to accept, roughly depends on how long you can tie up the money. If you have time, you can view your investments over the longer term. You may be able to take relatively more risk in exchange for the potential of higher returns. 

  • Do you want to invest in a particular sector?

    Many investment companies only invest in a specific sector, which allows you to pick particular parts of the world or types of company.

When you’re choosing an investment company to invest in, you should make an informed decision. The right independent financial adviser can give you all the information you need. Your independent financial adviser will look carefully at your finances, your commitments and your objectives, and will explain your options. 

How to Invest?

  • Investing with advice: You can go to a professional financial adviser, who will give you advice on what to invest in. Together you can work through all the factors that affect your decision, including your needs and available funds, the performance figures for different companies, and the outlook for different sectors. Your adviser can then advise you on whether investment companies are a suitable investment for you and how to make your investment.

  • Investing without advice: If you are prepared to select your own investment company you can choose whether to go direct to a stockbroker or an execution only dealing service to buy shares for you. Or you can approach a fund management group to invest via a wrapper product.

Investment companies can be a good way for smaller investors to benefit from an effective and cost efficient investment vehicle and to gain exposure to a diversified portfolio. The flexibility and accessibility of investment companies can make them suitable for a wide range of financial planning objectives because of their low minimum investment levels and spread of risk.