A unit investment trust (UIT) isn’t a mutual fund but is quite similar, so in many ways, it helps to think of them as mutual funds, with a few significant differences. A unit investment trust is an investment company that offers a fixed portfolio, generally of stocks and bonds, and you hold onto them for a predetermined period of time. Terms can range in length from 5 years to much longer. Think of them as a collection of other investments, just like a mutual fund. In the bond world, they are a collection of bond funds. The investment company offers individuals the opportunity to use a low initial investment in a diversified portfolio of securities. Unlike mutual funds, the investments within a UIT aren’t traded by a fund manager. Instead, the manager buys the investments and holds them until maturity, unlike mutual funds which can be sold at any time. The management fees of a UIT are generally lower than for mutual funds, which can be attributed in part to the buy-and-hold management style. There are sales fees with the purchase of a UIT, but unlike mutual funds, there are no sales commissions to sell a UIT.

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