Difference Between Shares and Mutual Funds

Both stocks and mutual funds represent investment opportunities, they require a different approach for the same.

Beside the steps of investing in them, there are other differences between shares and mutual funds that potential investors must be informed about.  In doing so, they will be able to gain a better insight into both options to make a more sound decision. 

Understanding Shares

Shares can be defined as a unit of proportional ownership in a company’s capital. It further entitles shareholders to the company’s profit and loss equally. 

There are several factors that may influence the price of shares in the market. For instance, when a company performs well and shows signs of growth, its price shows an upward trend.

Typically, a company issues shares to the public to raise capital and enhance the company’s value in the market. It also provides investors with the opportunity to hold a stake in a company’s equity and earn a portion of their profits.  

Investors need to invest directly into the stock of a company through their Demat account and avail an opportunity to diversify their portfolio. This is a major difference between shares and mutual funds

Individuals who invest in shares are directly responsible for managing it and are required to bear the entire trading cost. Hence, one needs to have a fair understanding of the market to make the most of this investment opportunity. 

After shares, it is crucial for investors to become familiar with the fundamentals of mutual funds to understand the difference between shares and mutual funds more effectively. 

Understanding Mutual Funds

In the general sense, mutual funds are a collective investment option. It pools money from several investors and puts it in different bonds, securities, stocks, gold, FDs, etc., of profit-generating companies. 

By investing in mutual funds, investors partake in the profits and losses accrued by their fund’s portfolio.

Notably, individuals can put their money in the shares of companies that are listed on stock exchanges. Also, most mutual funds help gain higher returns and facilitate capital appreciation if investors stay invested for a long time. 

A major point of difference between stock and mutual funds is that unlike stocks, mutual funds are managed by fund managers.

Besides professional management, this investment instrument comes with the following benefits -  

  • Diversification
  • Liquidity  
  • Affordability
  • Tax savings 

Also, the fact that mutual funds are regulated by SEBI makes its proceedings transparent and considered reliable. 

In a broader sense, mutual funds usually invest money into a combination of debt-equities or either of the two.

Let’s proceed to the primary difference between mutual fund and share market instruments.

Difference Between Stocks and Mutual Funds

This table below highlights the basic difference between shares and mutual fund investments.

S.No.

Parameters

Stocks

Mutual Funds

1.

Definition

They represent the ownership of companies.

Investors are similar to shareholders who own funds or stocks and earn profits from them.

2.

Denomination 

Different stocks can have the same or equal value.

Essentially it is a pool of money collected from investors. 

3.

Numeric value

Stocks have a definite numerical value.

Mutual funds have net asset values.

4.

Original Issuance

Original issuance is always a possibility.

There is no such possibility.

5.

Risk level

They come with a higher risk level.

The risk factor is comparatively low.

6.

Suitability 

Seasoned investors with sound market knowledge have chance of performing better in stocks.

Professionals manage these funds, and both new and seasoned investors can benefit through it.

7.

Diversification 

Diversification is only possible if the stocks allow it.

Mutual funds offer more opportunities for diversification.  

8.

Return Potential

They offer relatively higher returns.

Depending on the scheme, it provides high to moderate returns.

9.

Market Knowledge  

Investors must be well-versed with the market forces to manage stocks effectively.

Market knowledge is rewarding in case of mutual funds as well.

10.

Trading Cost

The trading cost is significantly high.

The expense for funds is retrieved through investors during the investment.

11.

Convenience 

Individuals can invest in stocks through Demat and Trading Account. The process to do so is cumbersome and less convenient. 

Investing in mutual funds is relatively more convenient and can be initiated within minutes.

12.

Tax Benefits

Investors must pay a tax while selling their stocks. 

Several mutual fund schemes offer tax-saving benefits to investors.

13.

Restrictions 

It comes with asset-class restrictions.

Investors can put their money in a diversified portfolio.

14.

Investment Horizon

Investment in stocks can either be for the long-term or short-term.

Most mutual funds reflect better results when kept invested for the long-run.

15.

Systematic Plan

Stocks do not extend the feature of systematic investment plans.

Mutual funds come with the feature of the systematic investment plan.

16.

Control Over Investment

Stockholders tend to have relatively more control over their investment.

Mutual funds investors do not have much control over their investments. 

Based on the difference between shares and mutual funds, it is evident that both stocks and mutual fund investments are rewarding. Regardless, investors should put their money in any of the two depending on their capabilities.

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