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Hybrid Funds

Mutual Funds

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Mutual funds can contain a mixture of both bonds and equities. Funds which contain both are known as hybrid funds, balanced funds, or mixed funds. Their specific name depends on their asset allocation ratio. If the fund contains an equal split of bonds and equities, they are balanced funds. An unequal mix is known as a mixed fund. These contain divided percentages of equities and bonds. A fund containing forty percent bonds, and sixty percent equities would be a mixed fund.

The mixture of bonds and equities traditionally determines the risk involved. A higher percentage of bonds are perceived as having lower risk, while a higher percentage of equities is considered more aggressive. This is slightly deceiving, as the true determination of aggressive or conservative ratings is based on the actual bonds and equities within the investment. Not every fund is locked into a set ratio of bonds and equities. Some funds allow their managers to modify the specific asset ratio of the fund.

Most funds maintain the same asset allocation ratio. They will also attempt to maintain a specific level of risk by selecting investment instruments within credit rating ranges and share categorizations. Fund managers may select 45% bonds with an A2 or A rating and 55% large-capitalization growth shares. Fixed asset allocation funds invest in both asset classes, locked in a specific ratio. Some of these funds are locked for aggressive growth while others are locked for capital retention.

As already stated, Hybrid funds do not have to be static. There are many fund variations that specifically change over time. Maturity funds are an example of a fund which changes over time. Maturity funds begin with a highly aggressive mix of assets and investment instruments. Over time these funds will shift to a conservative mixture. The fund’s mixture will be achieved by a specific date at which point the fund has “matured”.

Many funds allow their managers to change allocations if needed. The management team can reposition the fund for a significant shift in the movement of the markets if they suspect one will occur. These managers have large amounts of choice and can move from ultra-conservative to extremely aggressive. If investing in a fund which allows for shifting allocations and instruments, pay careful attention to the fund prospectus.

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