An umbrella fund is the term used to describe a bunch of smaller funds that have been rolled into one. These sub-funds may have differing investment strategies – and while one may focus on stocks, another may specialize in commodities. If they wish, investors can choose to switch their assets between sub-funds – often for little to no fee.
Umbrella funds: Pros and cons
Umbrella funds aren’t as prominent in the investment world as they once were. However, they’re still used by some companies who want to provide a retirement fund for their employees in lieu of a normal pension scheme. Given that umbrella funds are normally substantially bigger because of the number of so-called “feeder funds,” portfolio managers can often end up getting preferable terms from brokers and other financial institutions. As a result, investors have a better chance of keeping their profits.
However, there are downsides that need to be taken into account. Individual investors will end up with very little say in how their assets are used in sub-funds, given how decisions are centralized. There are also legal and tax concerns that may need to be taken into account depending on the jurisdiction that the investor is in. And, although having the ability to switch assets between sub-funds might seem like a tempting proposition, this can often mean that investors take their money out of an opportunity at the wrong moment.