An equity unit trust is the most common type of unit trust. The major portion of its assets are generally held in equities or securities of listed companies.
Equity unit trust funds are popular in Malaysia as they provide investors with exposure to the companies listed on Bursa Malaysia. The performance of the units is therefore linked to the performance of Bursa Malaysia. A rising market will normally give rise to an increase in the value of the unit and vice-versa.
There is a wide array of equity unit trusts, available in the market, ranging from funds with higher risk, higher returns to funds with lower risk, lower returns.
- Aggressive growth funds
These funds invest generally in companies with higher capital growth potential but with associated higher risk
- Index funds
These funds invest in a range of companies that closely match (or “track”) companies comprising a particular index.
- International equity funds
These funds invest primarily in overseas share markets.
Fixed Income Funds
These funds invest mainly in Malaysian Government Securities, corporate bonds, and money market instruments such as bankers acceptance and fixed deposits. The objective of a fixed income (or bond) funds is usually to provide regular income, with less emphasis on producing capital growth for investors. It is possible, however, for fixed income funds to generate both capital gains and losses during a period of volatile interest rate.
Money Market Funds
Money market funds operate in a similar way to a bank account-the unit price is normally set at a fixed amount. Money market funds invest in low risk money market instruments that are in effect short-term deposits(loans) to banks and other-low risk-financial institutions, and in short-term government securities.
Real Estate Investment Trusts (REITS)
REITs invest in real properties, usually prominent commercial (office) properties and provide the investor with an opportunity to participate in the property market in a way which is normally impossible to the small time investor. By acquiring units in a listed REITS, however, it is possible to invest a small amount to gain exposure to the property market and have diversification in your portfolio.
Exchange Traded Funds (ETF)
ETF is linked unit trust fund whose investment objective is to achieve the same return as a particular market index. ETF often have low expense ratios and can be bought and sold throughout the trading day through a stockbroker, on an exchange.
Some investors may wish to have an investment in all the major asset classes to reduce the risk of investing in a single asset class. A balanced unit trust fund generally has a portfolio comprising equities, fixed income securities, and cash.
The main objective of Syariah funds is to provide an alternative avenue for investors sensitive to Syariah requirements. Syariah funds will exclude those companies involved in activities, products or services related to conventional banking, insurance and financial services, gambling, alcoholic beverages and non-halal food products.
Credit: FIMM Malaysia