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Unit Trusts, Investment Trusts & OEICs

These are the three main types of collective investment products available in the UK investment market, Unit Trusts, Open Ended Investment Companies (OEICs) and Investment Trusts. In simple terms by investing in these products, your money is pooled with large numbers of individual investors and actively managed by professional fund managers.

The investment managers choose from a broad spread of assets, depending on the investment remit of the fund and the level of investment risk applicable to that fund. The main asset classes available to invest in are Company Shares, Bonds, Gilts, Property and other specialist areas such as Hedge Funds or 'Guaranteed Funds'.

Unit Trusts - 'buy' a number of units, the price of these units is dependent on the value of the underlying assets and they can be sold back to the fund managers by the investor. They are open ended investments meaning that new units can be issued as demand requires. Every day the trustees compute the value of the trust, divide it by the number of units in issue and produce a bid and offer (buying and selling) price based on that calculation. Unit Trusts can invest for either income or growth in various geographical locations.

Investment Trusts - buy actual shares in a company and not units. These are structured as companies so their shares are traded the same way as other limited company shares.

OEICs - similar to Unit Trusts, but have no bid/offer spread so buyers and sellers get the same single price for their shares and flexibility allows easy switching between different investment funds.

Given all these options and the vast array of products in the market place, the choice of which is best for you can be confusing so expert advice is needed to help you decide the most suitable investment route.


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