Whether we are talking about commercial activities, government, leisure pursuits or just day-to-day living the use of jargon is very evident.  That is, specialised language concerned with a particular subject.  The financial services sector abounds with terminology relevant to its activities and products and it can help the user of these services to sometimes simply go back to basics to make sure everyone understands what is meant by certain words or terms.

An oft-used phrase is “managed fund”.  The product providers keenly push the potential benefits of their managed funds.  For instance: easy diversification; expert money management; invest for income, growth or both; convenient regular savings plan.  These benefits are fine, however this marketing stuff does not explain how a managed fund works.  Let’s lift the lid on the operation of managed funds and make sure we understand what is going on.

There are a variety of different styles and tax structures for managed funds.  In later articles we will cover how entitlement to income and capital growth from the investments are handled, how superannuation funds and insurance bonds differ from managed funds that distribute their taxable income to investors, explain the differences between unlisted and listed managed funds and also how “active” funds contrast with “passive” funds.  For now, let’s focus on plain vanilla unlisted managed funds where the investor is responsible for any tax on investment earnings.

Photo credit: kenteegardin via Visual Hunt / CC BY-SA

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