Baffled by your fund factsheet? If you’re new to investing, trying to decipher it can seem a little overwhelming. At first glance, it might seem like a lot of figures and nonsensical terms. But actually, there’s lots you can glean from reading it, even if you’ve only got 5 minutes to spare.

What is a fund factsheet, anyway?

The clue’s in the name.  A fund factsheet is a summary document that tells you all the key information about the fund you’ve invested your money in. It’s important because it will help you understand exactly what you’ve put your hard-earned cash into. The exact details on a fund factsheet vary from platform to platform, but it will usually tell you things like who’s managing it, how much you’re being charged for that, and how it’s been performing over the past few years.

You’ll find the fund factsheet by googling the name of the fund, or via the investment platform you have the fund with.  

It’s important to note that a fund factsheet isn’t a regulatory document, so the format will vary by provider.

How to read a fund factsheet in five minutes

Once you’ve got your head around what each part of a fund factsheet means, reading one will soon be second nature. Aviva Financial Adviser, Shanaka Cristiolli, reads fund factsheets a lot. So, we asked him to break down an Aviva fund factsheet and share the things to focus on if you’re pushed for time.

  1. What have I bought and what is it costing me?

    “As with most purchases, when it comes to your investments, you want to know two things from the outset”, says Shanaka. “What am I buying and how much will it cost me?”

    On an Aviva fund factsheet like this one, you’ll find the name of the fund at the top of the factsheet. It might not always mean much – Aviva Investors Multi-asset Plus Fund IV Class 9, anyone? – but it’s good to know the name of the thing you’ve invested your money in.

    Next, look for the fee information. At Aviva, it’s under the section Key facts and it’s referred to as the Fund Management Fee. For example, if the fee is 0.26%, it means that if you invested £1,000, you’d pay £2.60 a year in fees.
  2. Who’s looking after my money?

    The names of the fund managers – the person or people who look after your money on your behalf – are often on a fund factsheet, usually alongside the date they started managing your fund. That’s important to know for two reasons. Shanaka explains:

    “Your fund manager will probably have a bio on your investment platform’s website. If you like, you can find out more about their prior experience and areas of interest, both of which could impact how they manage a fund.”

    “Secondly, it’s good to have an idea of how long a fund manager has been looking after that fund and comparing that with the performance over that period.”

    Which leads us nicely on to…
  3. How’s my fund doing?

    It’s a good idea to check how your fund has been performing, that is, how much it’s been returning over a certain period. Although past performance isn’t an indicator of future performance, looking at it gives you an idea of how consistently that fund has performed, and whether it stands up against the benchmark. “UK Equity Funds, for example, will be benchmarked against the FTSE 100 Index”, explains Shanaka.

    Performance is also a way to try to ascertain whether you’re getting value for money. “If you’re invested in an active fund paying high charges, but it’s not performing against the benchmark, it’s unlikely you’re going to get the return you want”, says Shanaka.

    To check your fund’s performance on an Aviva fund factsheet, look at the graph called Cumulative Performance and the table simply titled Performance.
  4. What have I invested in, exactly?

    Hey, you want to know what you’re putting your money into, right? A fund factsheet will tell you just that. On an Aviva fund factsheet, it’s under the Fund Positioning section. Scroll a little further and you’ll see the Top sectors by asset type section, which tells you what kind of sector or industry your money is invested in.

    “Knowing what you’re invested in is important because you can get an idea of how your money is distributed and diversified”, explains Shanaka. It’s also a useful way to check whether you’re investing in assets that align with your morals – more on responsible investing here .
  5. Risky business

    Attitude to risk is a very personal choice and depends on your financial goals and life stage. “Depending on the fund, a fund factsheet might give you an idea of what risks your fund is exposed to”, explains Shanaka.
    Where relevant, we’ll give a fund a risk rating ranging from 1 (lowest volatility) to 7 (highest volatility). These ratings reflect the potential for a fund to go up and down in value over time. You’ll find it under the Risk measurement section on an Aviva fund factsheet.

    Remember that investment involves risk; the value of investments can go down as well as up and you may get back less than you invest.

Download our guide to fund factsheets for help getting a more detailed understanding of Aviva’s fund factsheets.

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