Open-end vs Closed-end Mutual Funds

The comparison between two types mutual funds.

Many investors think open-end and closed-end mutual funds are the same due to the fact that both mutual funds provide investors with an inexpensive way to pool capital together and participate in a diversified, expertly managed portfolio of securities.

Open-End vs. Closed-End Mutual Funds

It is crucial to understand that significant differences impact each type of mutual fund's returns and how they are exchanged among investors.

Although many investment instruments are unsuitable for casual investors, you don't have to limit yourself to mutual funds and exchange-traded funds (ETFs).

You're already familiar with the open-end fund if you invest in mutual funds. However, fewer people are familiar with closed-end funds.

Closed-end mutual funds are mutual funds that issue a set number of shares and raise a set amount of capital; neither new shares nor existing shares may be issued.

A closed-end mutual fund is regarded as a publicly traded investment business and must register with the appropriate securities regulator.

A closed-end mutual fund can trade at a premium or discount to its net asset value per share since it is listed on a stock exchange, which is influenced by supply and demand.

Mutual funds, both open-end and closed-end, are controlled by a fund manager who receives management fees.

Open-end and closed-end mutual funds have different fund structures, pricing structures, and liquidity criteria.

In the event that a closed-end mutual fund invests in the same assets with the same proportions as the portfolio of an open-end mutual fund, the former performs better due to liquidity requirements.

Open-End Funds

Open-end funds include mutual funds. The total number of shares they may issue is unlimited. However, some issuers shut their funds to new investors because a fund that balloons to an enormous amount of assets has drawbacks.

Open-End Funds

When investors buy shares, more shares are issued by a mutual fund, and when they sell their shares back to the business, the corporation removes the shares from circulation.

The fund may need to sell some of its investments if a significant number of shares are sold (known as redemption) in order to compensate the investor.

Since open-end funds don't trade on the open market, you can't monitor them the same way you monitor your equities.

The investments are not traded publicly. Only the firm that originally issued its stock will buy back its shares.

There is only one daily pricing for open-end funds. The funds are repriced based on the number of shares bought and sold at the conclusion of each trading day. The shares' net asset value determines their value.


What Is an Open-End Mutual Fund?

These points summarize the structure of open-end mutual funds:

1. Fee and Management Structure

Typically, a fund manager who collects management fees actively manages open-end mutual funds. However, an open-end mutual fund might occasionally trade passively to match an index.

2. Fund Price and Fund Structure

Investors pool their money together in an open-end mutual fund, and shares are issued based on the total amount of capital pooled. 

If new investors desire to buy shares in an open-end mutual fund, they can do so by giving money to the fund managers, who will then provide them with shares in the fund.

Conversely, shareholders who sell their shares do so back to the fund manager, who subsequently redeems the shares and lowers the number of outstanding shares in the mutual fund.

An open-end mutual fund's share price trades at its net asset value per share when shares are purchased and sold using this technique.

Additionally, an open-end mutual fund's share price is normally set each day at the closing time of the business.

3. Performance Impact and Liquidity Requirements

Open-end mutual funds often have a liquidity requirement because investors must redeem shares through the fund manager.

In other words, open-end mutual funds often have a cash requirement to cover potential future share redemptions. As a result, an open-end mutual fund's overall returns are reduced when cash is held.

Closed-End Funds

An initial public offering (IPO) is used to form a closed-end fund in order to raise capital for investments. The fund then trades like a stock or an ETF on the open market.

Closed end funds

There is a limited supply of shares issued. However, because the shares are still in circulation, supply and demand have an impact on their market price.

As a result, the shares may trade at a higher or lower price than their net asset value (NAV). NAV is determined by subtracting a firm's liabilities from its assets. To find the per-share value, NAV is simply divided by the number of outstanding shares. This value, NAV per share (NAVPS), is the intrinsic value of each share.

However, these funds aim to distribute money to investors in the form of earnings, capital gains, and principal returns.

For income investors, certain funds, such as the BlackRock Corporate High-Yield Fund (HYT), pay close to 8%, making them a desirable option.

The closed-end fund industry had more than $279 billion in assets under management at the end of 2020, but retail investors may not be familiar with this class of investment.

Investors should be aware that, to generate gains, about 70% of these funds use leverage. As a result, borrowing money and investing it can result in large returns and losses.

What Is a Closed-End Mutual Fund?

These points summarize the structure of closed-end mutual funds

1. Fee and Management Structure

A fund manager who collects management fees actively manages closed-end mutual funds.

2. Fund Price and Fund Structure

A closed-end mutual fund's manager decides how much money the fund needs and launches an initial public offering (IPO).

The produced shares will be distributed to investors who contribute money during the initial issuance.

After that, a closed-end mutual fund trades its shares on a stock exchange, where they are traded according to supply and demand.

A closed-end mutual fund's share price will trade at a premium or discount to its net asset value per share as a result of this manner of purchasing and selling shares.

A closed-end mutual fund's share price is also constantly updated because the shares are traded on an exchange.

3. Liquidity Requirements and Performance Impact

There are often few to no liquidity requirements because investors trade closed-end mutual fund shares through other investors.

In other words, closed-end mutual funds typically do not have a cash requirement because shares cannot be redeemed. Therefore, a closed-end mutual fund's overall return is higher than an open-end mutual fund's since retaining cash is not necessary.

Benefits and Drawbacks

Investors can rely on a steady stream of income by making investments in closed-end mutual funds. They can budget major expenses depending on the anticipated return on investment as a result.



  • Managed by expert analysts and fund managers
  • Informed investment decisions are facilitated by monitoring past performance.
  • Closed-end funds are traded on stock markets, allowing for the highest level of liquidity and returns.
  • Minimal initial investment is necessary.
  • Helps investors maintain a broad portfolio and protect themselves from hazards
  • Tradable whenever needed
  • The fund's diverse holdings decrease systematic risk.
  • There are no limitations on the number of shares that may be purchased, sold, or invested.



  • For open-end funds, a daily price is fixed for the net asset value per share
  • Open-end funds are required to keep significant cash reserves due to the risk of shareholders redeeming their shares.
  • They levy expenditures and management fees.
  • Open-end funds often offer lesser returns compared to closed-end mutual funds (due to the cash held by the mutual fund and not invested)
  • Less profitable investment returns
  • Due to massive capital inflows and outflows, investors could lose money.
  • Closed-end funds may trade at a discount due to supply and demand.
  • At launch, the fund lacks a track record.

Examples: Open-end vs Closed-end Mutual Funds

The following examples summarize mutual funds.

Sample 1

Three investors each contributed $1,000 in an equal proportion to investment bank Goldman Sachs. This adds up to an AUM of $3,000 (or three $1,000s). AUM then rises to $4,000 after a fourth investor joins and contributes an additional $1,000.

Two investors decided to withdraw and sell their shares a few days later, bringing the AUM down to $2,000. However, the holdings of the individual investors remain unchanged, and the NAVPS is unaffected by an investor's entry or exit, even though the total fund value drops.

Sample 2

For three years, John put $1,500 into a closed-end fund. He was confident that he wouldn't require any money in between to do any task.

He attempted to remove his funds due to a medical issue he experienced within a year of investing.

Unfortunately, the money manager told him that he was unable to withdraw his money before the three-year mark. As a result, John was forced to apply for additional loans to cover his medical costs.

Key Takeaways

  • Every time a shareholder purchases shares in an open-end fund, new shares are made. When a shareholder buys them back, they are retired. 
  • For closed-end funds, only a predetermined number of shares, which are then traded on an exchange, are issued.
  • As most closed-end funds involve leverage, they are viewed as riskier investments. In other words, they borrow money to invest in increasing their potential profits. This, however, also increases potential losses.
  • A closed-end mutual fund is an investment structure that raises money by issuing a specific number of shares in the open market through an IPO.
  • Until a closed-end fund reaches maturity, it cannot issue new shares, and shareholders cannot redeem or repurchase existing shares.
  • An investment management company or fund manager actively manages a closed-ended fund. It is publicly traded on a stock market at a premium or discount to NAV per share. It is also registered with a securities regulator.
  • On the secondary market, closed-end fund shares can be purchased or sold by investors from traditional or online brokers for a charge. However, because of shifts in supply and demand, as well as the value of the fund, its price varies during the trading day.
  • Open-end shares are priced at their portfolio's net asset value (NAV) at the end of each day, as they are not traded on exchanges.
  • For those looking for high liquidity, portfolio diversity, and superior returns, these investment products are excellent.
  • Open-end mutual funds are required to keep a huge cash reserve, reducing their overall return.
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Researched and authored by Akhilesh Jagtap | LinkedIn

Reviewed and edited by James Fazeli-Sinaki | LinkedIn

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