Understanding the Difference Between Shares and Mutual Funds

Understanding the Difference Between Shares and Mutual Funds

Financial planning includes investing, so it's important to research your alternatives to make wise choices in the share market. The two most well-liked investing options are stocks and mutual funds. Both have potential rewards, but they are different in several ways. This post examines the difference between shares and mutual funds, considering ownership, risk, diversification, management, and fees. Knowing the difference between shares and mutual funds, you may decide which investment best fits your financial objectives and risk tolerance.

What are Shares?

Shares, usually called stocks or equities, signify ownership in a certain business. When you buy shares, you take partial ownership in the business and are therefore eligible to partake in its gains and losses. Share prices can change depending on several variables, including market circumstances, a company's performance, and investor opinion. Dividends, a percentage of the company's profits delivered to shareholders, may also be advantageous to shareholders.

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Table of Content

  1. What are Shares?
  2. What are Mutual Funds?
  3. Key Differences Between Shares and Mutual Funds
  4. Which is Right for You?
  5. Conclusion

What are Mutual Funds?

On the other hand, mutual funds are financial instruments that combine the funds of several participants to build a diverse portfolio of stocks, bonds, or other assets. The mutual fund's success is correlated with the performance of the underlying assets, and each investor holds units or shares of the fund. Professional fund managers that manage mutual funds choose investments on the investors' behalf. Selecting securities, keeping an eye on the portfolio, and making adjustments in response to the market's state and the fund's investment goals are all part of active management.

Key Differences Between Shares and Mutual Funds

Ownership: Ownership is the key distinction between shares and mutual funds. By purchasing shares, you obtain a direct ownership position in the business and participate in its ownership structure. Investors in mutual funds, on the other hand, do not own specific businesses. Instead, they hold units or shares of the mutual fund, entitling them to indirect ownership in diverse assets.

Risk: Investment involves risk by nature, thus, it's critical to evaluate the degree of risk involved in various investment possibilities. In general, shares are thought to be riskier than mutual funds. Share prices fluctuate a lot, depending on company-specific factors, market sentiment, industry trends, and economic situations. Due to their greater diversification, mutual funds are often less volatile than individual shares since losses in one company's stock may be compensated by gains in other stocks in the portfolio.

Diversification: Diversion is a risk management approach to distribute risk over various assets and limit exposure to any one investment. Mutual funds naturally provide diversity by combining investors' money and buying various securities. The effects of any underperforming stocks in the portfolio are lessened through diversity. On the other hand, unless you invest in several businesses across diverse industries, having individual shares offers nothing in the way of diversity.

Management: Shares and mutual funds have quite different management styles. When you own shares, you manage your portfolio, which includes choosing, purchasing, and offloading specific equities. This necessitates conducting research, keeping an eye on industry trends, and making wise choices. On the other hand, mutual funds are actively managed by qualified fund managers with the knowledge and resources to decide on investments on behalf of the investors. To maximize results, they investigate the market, analyze it, and rebalance the portfolio.

Costs: Investment in stocks and mutual funds has a variety of costs. When purchasing or selling stocks, transaction charges like brokerage fees are incurred as part of owning shares. A share portfolio manager may also need continual research and monitoring, which takes time and effort. On the other hand, mutual funds incur costs in the form of expense ratios, which also include management fees, operational costs, and other expenditures. However, investment in mutual funds is frequently less expensive compared to the fees involved with separately managing a diverse share portfolio. This is so that economies of scale, where costs are shared across a wider group of investors, may benefit mutual funds.

Which is Right for You?

Financial objectives, risk tolerance, investment expertise, and time commitment are just a few variables determining which investment strategy is best for you. Here are some things to think about:

  1. Risk Tolerance: If you have a low tolerance for risk and prefer a more stable investment, mutual funds may be a better choice. The diversification they offer helps to mitigate risk. On the other hand, if you have a higher risk appetite and are willing to manage your portfolio actively, individual shares may offer higher potential returns.
  2. Time and Knowledge: Investing in shares requires time and knowledge to research and select individual stocks. Suppose you have limited time or lack expertise in analyzing stocks. In that case, mutual funds can provide a convenient option as they are managed by professionals who handle investment decisions on your behalf.
  3. Diversification: Mutual funds are a suitable option if you value diversification and want exposure to a wide range of assets. Their portfolios consist of multiple stocks or other assets, reducing the risk associated with individual investments. However, if you prefer to handpick specific companies or industries you believe in, shares can offer the opportunity to build a focused portfolio.
  4. Costs: Consider the costs associated with each investment option. If you are cost-conscious and prefer lower expenses, mutual funds may be more appealing due to their economies of scale. However, if you have the time and expertise to manage your portfolio, the costs associated with shares can be more flexible and potentially lower.


Shares and mutual funds are distinct investment options with unique advantages and considerations. Factors like ownership, risk, diversification, management, and costs influence which option aligns better with financial goals and risk tolerance. Considering individual circumstances, investment knowledge and time commitment is crucial. 

Seeking advice from a financial advisor can provide tailored insights. Accessing a reliable and user-friendly blinkX trading app is essential for informed decisions. Conduct thorough research, evaluate options, and make choices that align with long-term financial objectives.

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Difference between shares and mutual funds FAQs

Shares represent ownership in a single company, while mutual funds pool money from multiple investors to invest in various securities.

Mutual funds are typically more diversified because they invest in a variety of securities, while shares represent ownership in a single company.

Mutual funds generally offer better risk management as they spread investments across different assets, reducing reliance on a single company's performance.

Individual investors can easily buy and sell shares, but mutual funds are traded at the end of the trading day based on the net asset value (NAV).

Shares of individual companies may have higher potential returns, but mutual funds offer the opportunity to benefit from the performance of a diverse portfolio.