Open-Ended Fund vs. Close-Ended Fund

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Written By
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Written By
Dan Buckley
Dan Buckley is an US-based trader, consultant, and part-time writer with a background in macroeconomics and mathematical finance. He trades and writes about a variety of asset classes, including equities, fixed income, commodities, currencies, and interest rates. As a writer, his goal is to explain trading and finance concepts in levels of detail that could appeal to a range of audiences, from novice traders to those with more experienced backgrounds.

Investment funds are mechanisms that allow multiple investors to pool their money together and invest it in a diversified portfolio of assets.

These funds come mainly in two forms:

  • open-ended, and
  • close-ended

Each type operates under a different set of rules and caters to various investor needs.


Key Takeaways – Open-Ended Fund vs. Close-Ended Fund

  • Open-ended funds offer a flexible number of shares that can be bought or sold on demand.
    • Allows for flexible investment amounts.
  • Closed-ended funds have a fixed number of shares and are traded on the stock market, potentially at prices above or below net asset value.
  • Liquidity varies, with open-ended funds typically being more liquid.
    • Closed-ended funds can trade at a premium or discount.


Open-Ended Funds: Flexibility

Key Characteristics

Open-ended funds are dynamic in nature. Investors can buy and sell shares of the fund at any time.

The price of these shares is determined by the fund’s net asset value (NAV), which is calculated at the end of each trading day.

As investors enter and exit the fund, the number of shares outstanding fluctuates, making the fund’s capitalization variable.

Liquidity and Accessibility

One of the main advantages of open-ended funds is liquidity.

Since shares can be bought and sold on demand, investors have the flexibility to respond to changes in the market or their personal circumstances.

This liquidity is facilitated by the fund itself, which stands ready to buy back shares from investors wishing to sell.

Management and Fees

Open-ended funds are typically actively managed.

This means a team of professional managers selects the assets within the portfolio.

This management comes with a cost, often in the form of expense ratios and management fees, which can impact the overall return on investment.

However, investment teams that add enough value can more than pay for their fees.


Close-Ended Funds: Fixed Capital Structure

Key Characteristics

Close-ended funds operate on a fixed capital structure.

They issue a set number of shares at the outset through an initial public offering (IPO).

After this point, no new shares are issued, and existing shares are not redeemed by the fund.

Instead, shares are bought and sold on stock exchanges, much like individual stocks.

Price Determination

The price of close-ended fund shares is influenced by supply and demand in the market.

This means the shares can trade at a premium or discount to the NAV of the fund’s assets.

The difference in price can present opportunities or risks for investors, depending on market conditions.

Investment Strategies and Income

Close-ended funds often focus on generating income for investors.

They may invest in a variety of assets, including stocks, bonds, and other securities.

The fixed number of shares helps the fund managers to plan long-term strategies without worrying about the cash flows from share redemptions or additional share purchases.

Comparing Investment Strategies

Open-ended and close-ended funds serve different strategies.

Open-ended funds offer ongoing investment opportunities and are suitable for investors looking for regular growth and the ability to move in and out of positions with ease.

In contrast, close-ended funds may appeal to those looking for potentially higher yields and who are comfortable with trading shares in the open market.

Risk and Return Considerations

Both types of funds come with their own set of risks and potential returns.

Open-ended funds may be more susceptible to frequent trading.

This can affect the fund’s composition and performance.

Close-ended funds might experience more price volatility since their shares can deviate from the NAV.

Investor Preferences and Fund Selection

Investors should consider their financial goals, risk tolerance, and need for liquidity when choosing between open-ended and close-ended funds.

An investor’s timeline, whether short-term or long-term, will also influence the type of fund that is most appropriate.


Open Ended vs Closed Ended Funds (Explained)


FAQs – Open-Ended Fund vs. Close-Ended Fund

What is an open-ended fund?

An open-ended fund is a type of mutual fund that does not have restrictions on the amount of shares the fund can issue.

This allows for new investments and redemptions on a continual basis.

How does a close-ended fund work?

A close-ended fund operates with a fixed number of shares.

They’re issued only once during an initial public offering (IPO).

After this, shares are bought and sold among those in the market.

Can you continuously invest in an open-ended fund?

Yes, you can continuously invest in an open-ended fund.

It allows investors to buy new shares at any time.

Are close-ended fund shares traded on stock exchanges?

Yes, close-ended fund shares are traded on stock exchanges.

Their prices fluctuate based on market demand.

How is the price of open-ended fund shares determined?

The price of open-ended fund shares is determined by the fund’s net asset value (NAV).

NAV is calculated by dividing the total value of all the assets in the fund’s portfolio by the number of shares outstanding.

Why do close-ended fund shares trade at a premium or discount?

Close-ended fund shares trade at a premium or discount due to market perceptions of:

  • the fund’s future potential
  • current performance, and
  • investor sentiment

These factors may not always align with the fund’s NAV.

What are the liquidity differences between open-ended and close-ended funds?

Open-ended funds offer higher liquidity as they allow investors to redeem shares directly with the fund.

Close-ended funds require investors to find a buyer in the market. This can be less predictable.

What types of fees are associated with open-ended funds?

Open-ended funds typically charge management fees, administrative fees, and sometimes performance fees.

These are collectively known as the fund’s expense ratio.

How does the fixed capital structure of close-ended funds affect investment strategy?

The fixed capital structure of close-ended funds allows fund managers to focus on long-term investment strategies without worrying about fund size changes due to daily redemptions or investments.

Which is better for trading, an open-ended or a close-ended fund?

For trading, a close-ended fund might be better. Close-ended funds allow for intra-day trading on stock exchanges.

Open-ended funds are only priced at the end of the trading day.

Can investors redeem their shares directly with a close-ended fund?

No, investors cannot redeem their shares directly with a close-ended fund.

They must sell them on the open market to other investors.

How do open-ended funds handle large numbers of redemptions?

Open-ended funds handle large numbers of redemptions by selling assets within the fund’s portfolio to meet the redemption demands.

This can affect the fund’s composition and performance.

Are close-ended funds typically actively or passively managed?

Close-ended funds can be either actively or passively managed.

But many are actively managed to try and exploit market inefficiencies and maximize returns.

How can an investor decide between investing in an open-ended fund or a close-ended fund?

An investor should decide between an open-ended or a close-ended fund based on their:

  • liquidity needs
  • investment horizon
  • risk tolerance, and
  • whether they prefer trading flexibility or a fixed capital investment structure

Do close-ended funds have higher yields?

Closed-ended funds can offer higher yields due to their ability to invest in less liquid, potentially higher-return assets.

But this is not guaranteed.



Open-ended and close-ended funds offer distinct features and operate within different frameworks.

Open-ended funds provide liquidity and simplicity but can come with higher costs due to active management.

Close-ended funds offer a fixed share structure and the potential for income, trading on an exchange that can result in prices above or below the actual NAV.

Investors should carefully consider their own situation when deciding which fund structure aligns with their investment goals.