Browse Analysis of Managed and Structured Products

18.2.10 Comparing Fund Types

Comprehensive analysis and detailed comparison of mutual fund types based on their risk and return profiles, catering to diverse investment objectives of the Canadian investing public.


The variety of funds provided by the mutual fund industry are designed to meet the diverse needs of the Canadian investing public. Each fund category holds different types of securities and pursues specific investment objectives, which directly affect their respective risk and return profiles.

Figure 18.1: Risk-Return Trade-Off Between Different Categories of Mutual Funds

    graph TD;
	    A[Money Market Funds] -->|Low Risk| B[Fixed Income Funds]
	    B -->|Moderate Risk| C[Balanced Funds]
	    C -->|Higher Risk| D[Equity Funds]
	    D -->|High Risk| E[Specialty Funds]

Please Note: Target-date funds are not included in this diagram because their risk profiles change over time. Similarly, commodity funds and alternative funds are excluded due to the varied investment methods employed.

Risk-Return Trade-off

The diagram displays the following types of mutual funds in increasing order of risk and potential return:

  • Money Market Funds: Typically involve low risk, with investments in short-term debt securities.
  • Fixed Income Funds: Invest in bonds and other fixed-income securities, which have moderate risk and provide stable returns.
  • Balanced Funds: Hold a mix of equity and fixed-income securities, balanced to align growth with stability.
  • Equity Funds: Primarily invest in stocks, which come with higher risk and higher potential returns.
  • Specialty Funds: Invest in specific sectors or assets, generally carrying the highest risk.


There can be significant variation in risk-return profiles within the same fund category. For instance:

  • Canadian Dividend Fund (Equity Fund): Typically lower risk due to investment in established companies with regular dividend payouts.
  • Emerging Markets Equity Fund (Equity Fund): Generally higher risk owing to investments in volatile foreign markets.

Key Takeaways

  1. Diverse Fund Types: Mutual funds cater to a wide range of investor needs through varied fund categories and investment objectives.
  2. Risk-Return Trade-offs: Each category involves different levels of risk and potential return, arranged from low to high.
  3. Insights: Investors should be aware of the range within categories and choose funds aligned with their risk tolerance and investment goals.


  • Mutual Fund: An investment vehicle that pools funds from investors to purchase securities such as stocks, bonds, or other assets.
  • Risk Profile: An assessment of the willingness and ability of an investor to take on risk.
  • Equity: Ownership interest in a company in the form of stocks.
  • Fixed Income: Investments that pay regular income, typically seen in bonds.
  • Specialty Funds: Funds focusing on specific sectors, assets, or investment strategies such as technology or commodities.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

  1. What are the primary differences between equity funds and fixed-income funds?
    • Equity funds invest in stocks and aim for capital growth, involving higher risk. Fixed-income funds invest in bonds for regular income with lower risk.
  2. Can the risk profiles of funds change over time?
    • Yes, funds such as target-date funds adjust their risk profiles as they approach their target date.
  3. Why are commodity and alternative funds excluded from Figure 18.1?
    • Due to the varied investment approaches and strategies, which can significantly affect their risk and return profiles.

📚✨ Quiz Time! ✨📚

🧐 Assess and Solidify Your Understanding

Welcome to the Knowledge Checkpoint! You’ll find 10 carefully curated quizzes designed to reinforce the key concepts covered. These questions will help you gauge your grasp of the material, identify areas that need further review, and ensure you’re on the right track towards mastering the content for the Canadian Securities certification exams. Take your time, think critically, and use these quizzes as a tool to enhance your learning journey. 📘✨

Good luck! 🍀💪

MarkDown ## What is the primary benefit of having a variety of mutual funds? - [ ] Simplifying investment choices - [ ] Increasing complexity in investment decisions - [ ] Reducing the need for asset diversification - [x] Meeting the diverse needs of the investing public > **Explanation:** A variety of mutual funds allows investors to choose funds that match their specific financial goals, risk tolerance, and investment horizons. ## According to Figure 18.1, which type of fund typically has the highest risk and return? - [ ] Money Market Funds - [x] Specialty Funds - [ ] Fixed Income Funds - [ ] Balanced Funds > **Explanation:** Specialty funds typically involve higher risk but also offer the potential for higher returns compared to other mutual fund categories. ## Why are target-date funds not included in the risk-return diagram? - [x] Because their risk profile changes over time - [ ] Due to their low importance in the market - [ ] Because they have a fixed risk profile - [ ] Due to their simplicity > **Explanation:** The risk profile of target-date funds changes as they approach their target date, making it difficult to categorize them in a static risk-return trade-off diagram. ## What is common between commodity funds and alternative funds that excluded them from the risk-return diagram? - [ ] They have exceptionally low risk - [ ] They are the safest investment options - [x] They employ various investment methods - [ ] They are new types of investments > **Explanation:** Commodity funds and alternative funds use various investment methods, making it challenging to place them in a fixed category for risk-return analysis. ## Which of the following funds typically has the lowest risk according to Figure 18.1? - [ ] Equity Funds - [x] Money Market Funds - [ ] Balanced Funds - [ ] Specialty Funds > **Explanation:** Money Market Funds are low-risk investments, often featuring short-term, highly liquid assets, and therefore have the lowest risk in the risk-return trade-off. ## What is the key factor causing the risk profile within a single category like equity funds to vary? - [ ] Fund size - [ ] Management team - [x] Types of underlying securities - [ ] Fee structure > **Explanation:** The risk profile within a fund category such as equity funds can differ significantly based on the types of securities each fund invests in. ## Between which two funds in the equity category can there be a large variance in risk profiles? - [ ] Money Market fund and Canadian Dividend Fund - [ ] Specialty Fund and Fixed Income Fund - [x] Canadian Dividend Fund and Emerging Markets Equity Fund - [ ] Balanced Fund and Fixed Income Fund > **Explanation:** Within the equity fund category, a Canadian Dividend Fund usually has a lower risk profile, while an Emerging Markets Equity Fund tends to have a higher risk profile. ## What broad category would a Canadian Dividend Fund fall into? - [ ] Money Market Funds - [ ] Balanced Funds - [x] Equity Funds - [ ] Fixed Income Funds > **Explanation:** Canadian Dividend Funds are a type of equity fund because they primarily invest in equity securities that pay dividends. ## Why is it important to understand the risk-return trade-off when investing in mutual funds? - [ ] To maximize immediate returns - [ ] To avoid all risks - [x] To align investments with financial goals and risk tolerance - [ ] To minimize investment options > **Explanation:** Understanding the risk-return trade-off allows investors to select funds that match their investment goals and risk tolerance, ensuring a more tailored and effective investment strategy. ## How does the risk profile of specialty funds typically compare to fixed income funds? - [ ] Specialty funds have lower risk - [ ] They have the same level of risk - [x] Specialty funds have higher risk - [ ] Fixed income funds have higher risk > **Explanation:** Specialty funds generally have higher risk compared to fixed income funds, which tend to be more stable and conservative investment vehicles.

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Saturday, July 13, 2024