Mutual Funds

Close-Ended vs. Open-Ended Mutual Funds: Understanding the Differences

Mutual Funds Feb 27, 2023 2 Comments


Mutual funds are popular investment vehicles that pool money from multiple investors to invest in a diversified portfolio of securities. They offer individuals the opportunity to participate in the financial markets with the guidance of professional fund managers. Two common types of mutual funds are close-ended and open-ended funds. While both serve similar purposes, there are distinct differences between them. In this article, we will delve into the disparities between close-ended and open-ended mutual funds to help investors make informed decisions.

1. Structure:

Close-Ended Funds: Close-ended funds have a fixed number of shares issued through an initial public offering (IPO) during a specified period. Once the IPO ends, the fund is listed and traded on a stock exchange. Investors can buy or sell shares of the fund from other investors on the secondary market.

Open-Ended Funds: Open-ended funds, on the other hand, do not have a fixed number of shares. Investors can buy and sell shares directly from the mutual fund company at the net asset value (NAV) price, which is calculated at the end of each trading day.

2. Liquidity:

Close-Ended Funds: Since close-ended funds are traded on the secondary market, their liquidity depends on the demand and supply dynamics of buyers and sellers. Investors may find it challenging to sell their shares if there is low trading activity or a lack of buyer interest. However, some close-ended funds may provide options for periodic share buybacks, allowing investors to redeem their shares at specific intervals.

Open-Ended Funds: Open-ended funds offer high liquidity as investors can buy or sell shares at the NAV price on any business day. The fund company is obligated to repurchase shares from investors who wish to sell. This feature allows investors to have greater flexibility and control over their investments.

3. Pricing:

Close-Ended Funds: The price of close-ended funds is determined by the demand and supply factors in the secondary market. As a result, the market price may deviate significantly from the actual net asset value of the fund. If the demand for the fund is high, it may trade at a premium to its NAV. Conversely, if the demand is low, it may trade at a discount to its NAV.

Open-Ended Funds: Open-ended funds are priced at their net asset value per share, which is calculated by dividing the total value of the fund’s assets by the number of outstanding shares. Investors buying or selling shares of an open-ended fund receive the NAV price, ensuring a fair and transparent pricing mechanism.

4. Fund Management:

Close-Ended Funds: Close-ended funds have a fixed portfolio managed by professional fund managers. The fund’s investment strategy and objectives are defined at the time of the IPO and remain relatively unchanged throughout the fund’s life. Investors can assess the fund’s historical performance and investment strategy before investing.

Open-Ended Funds: Open-ended funds have the flexibility to actively manage their portfolios. The fund managers have the ability to buy and sell securities as market conditions change. They can also modify the fund’s investment objectives and strategy, subject to regulatory guidelines. Investors can evaluate the fund’s historical performance, but it is essential to monitor the fund’s ongoing management and any changes in strategy.

Key features of close-ended mutual funds include:

  1. Fixed Number of Shares: Close-ended funds have a fixed number of shares issued during the initial offering, and new shares are not continuously created or redeemed by the fund.
  2. Limited Liquidity: Since shares of close-ended funds are bought and sold on the stock exchange, their liquidity depends on the availability of buyers and sellers in the market. The price of the shares is determined by supply and demand.
  3. Premium/Discount: The shares of close-ended funds can trade at a premium or discount to their net asset value (NAV). If the demand for shares is high, they may trade at a premium, while low demand may lead to a discount.

Key features of open-ended mutual funds include:

  1. Continuous Issuance and Redemption: Open-ended funds can create new shares to meet investor demand and redeem shares when investors want to sell. This provides investors with greater liquidity as they can buy or sell shares at any time directly with the fund.
  2. NAV Pricing: The shares of open-ended funds are priced at their net asset value (NAV), which is calculated daily based on the current value of the fund’s assets.
  3. No Premium/Discount: Since open-ended funds issue and redeem shares at NAV, there is no premium or discount associated with their pricing.


In conclusion, close-ended and open-ended mutual funds differ primarily in their structure, liquidity, pricing mechanism, and fund management style. Close-ended funds have a fixed number of shares, trade on the secondary market, and their prices can deviate from the net asset value. Open-ended funds have an unlimited number of shares, provide high liquidity, and are priced at the NAV. Understanding these distinctions is crucial for investors in choosing the appropriate mutual fund based on their investment goals, risk tolerance, and liquidity preferences.

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