A mutual fund is an investment vehicle made up of a pool of funds collected from many investors for the purpose of investing in securities such as stocks, bonds, money market instruments and similar assets.
One of the main advantages of mutual funds is they give small investors access to professionally managed, diversified portfolios of equities, bonds and other securities. Each shareholder, therefore, participates proportionally in the gain or loss of the fund. Mutual funds invest in a wide amount of securities, and performance is usually tracked as the change in the total market cap of the fund, derived by aggregating performance of the underlying investments.
Mutual fund units, or shares, can typically be purchased or redeemed as needed at the fund's current net asset value (NAV) per share.