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Mutual funds - statistics & facts

Mutual funds are investment vehicles that are pooling many investors’ money together to invest in financial markets in accordance with the objectives specified by the fund. An increasingly important role is being played by mutual funds in financial markets, with the number of open-end funds worldwide increasing by more than 40 percent from 2011 to 2020. In terms of the regional distribution of mutual fund assets, almost half are concentrated in the United States alone. The advantages of investing money through mutual funds are, among others, entrusting the savings to professional fund managers, to diversify the assets, to have lower costs than in case of direct investments, and to have access to global financial instruments and markets. The largest fund management companies worldwide are Blackrock, Vanguard Asset Management, and State Street Global Advisors.

Mutual funds in the U.S.

While the number of mutual funds registered the U.S. has remained stable at around 8,000 for the last two decades, however the assets under management of U.S mutal funds has more than tripled over this time, breaking the 20 trillion U.S. dollar barrier in 2019. Almost half (46 percent) percent of American households owned mutual funds, with this figure not changing significantly since 2000. Accordingly, almost twice the amount of U.S. household wealth being held in mutual funds rather than bank accounts - a very different picture to Europe and Japan, where many times more household wealth is held in bank accounts.

Costs of mutual funds

As mutual funds involve a third party managing the funds invested into the market, using a mutual fund creates additional costs on investors. Costs therefore constitute an important aspect of the mutual fund industry, as they influence the value of an investor’s return. The expense ratio of equity mutual funds in the United States varied noticeably depending on the fund management style. In the case of actively managed equity funds it was equal to 0.71 percent in 2020, while for the passively managed equity funds the expense ratio amounted to only 0.06 percent. Lower costs are the most popular reason investors choose to invest in exchange traded funds (ETFs), the most common type of passively managed equity fund.

Interesting statistics

In the following 5 chapters, you will quickly find the 28 most important statistics relating to "Mutual funds".


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