Closed-End Funds vs. Open-End Funds: What's the Difference?

Triston Martin

Oct 25, 2023

Closed-End Funds

A closed-end fund is created via the process of an initial public offering (IPO) to raise money to invest. The fund trades on the market like an ETF or a stock. There is a limit to the number of shares that will be issued. Since the shares trade, their price is influenced by demand and supply. So, the shares can be traded at a price higher than and below the value of their net asset (NAV) or the amount they were issued. However, the primary goal of this fund is to distribute dividends to its investors, which could include earnings, capital gains, and principal repayment. Certain funds, such as BlackRock Corporate High Yield Fund VI (HYT), offer a rate of 8 percent, making them attractive for investors with income.

In 2020, more than $279 billion was in the closed-end fund market, but it's not an investment option that is widely known to consumers. The most crucial thing investors should be aware of in closed-end funds is that 70 percent of these funds utilize leverage to make more gains. The use of borrowed money to invest could result in huge losses as well as massive gains.

Pros and Cons

The main benefit to closed-end mutual funds lies in the possibility of making higher profits if you purchase fund shares at a substantial discount to the net asset value. If share prices rise and closed-end funds are profitable. They can trade funds in the course of the day as you would with a stock, implying you're more likely to profit from price fluctuations than an open-end investment. However, closed-end funds carry greater risk than open-end funds. If you're thinking about this kind of fund, you need to research the subject first to ensure you know the investment you're purchasing.

In both closed-end and open-end funds, be aware of the costs also. Both kinds of funds are charged an expense ratio which is the amount you pay each year in management fees—the lower the percentage, the better to protect your investment returns. Consider the commissions you'll have to pay to transfer these funds into the form of a broker account that is taxable.

Open-End Funds

Mutual funds can be described as open-end funds. There's no limit to the number of shares they can issue. (Some issuers may shut down their funds to new investors because there are risks for a fund that grows to an enormous amount of funds.) If investors buy shares of mutual funds, additional shares are created to fit the investors. The shares are removed from circulation when they sell their shares to the fund. If a substantial amount of shares are traded (called a redeem), the fund might need to sell some of its assets for the investors to be paid.

The funds cannot be traded in the market. They can only be returned to the company which issued them. The open-end funds are priced every day. After every trading day, the funds are revalued according to the number of shares purchased and sold. The value of net assets determines their value for the share.

Pros and Cons

The open-end fund has a few factors that work in its favor for investors. One of their biggest benefits is the accessibility, as they offer the chance to invest these funds in or out of a tax-advantaged savings account. As with closed-end funds, too, Open-end funds are professionally managed. The responsibility of selecting the appropriate investment in the fund rests with the fund's manager. All you need to decide is the fund you want to invest in, which makes diversification much easier. The funds also offer advantages in terms of the trading price since NAV is calculated daily. This makes it simpler to trade in and outside the account, with some certainty regarding prices and built-in returns.

However, open-end funds may be a problem when redemption occurs. It happens when an investor is forced to sell many fund shares simultaneously. In that case, the fund might be required to sell assets to earn cash that can be used for paying investors. If the assets are sold for an income, the capital gains distribution is distributed to investors. You'll be required to pay taxes on the distribution at the close of the year.

Another thing to keep in mind is that prices for these funds are determined every day at the closing of the trading. This means that you must wait until the day's closing to calculate the profit (or loss) for the trade-in in relation to the NAV at the closing time.

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