If you’re new to investing, trying to decipher all the information on a fund factsheet can be a little overwhelming. At first glance, it might seem like a lot of figures and nonsensical terms. But once you know what to look for, there’s lots you can discover from reading the factsheet, even if you’ve only got five 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.
It will usually tell you things like who’s managing the fund you’re invested in, how much you’re being charged for being invested in the fund, 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.
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.
What are the costs?
When it comes to your investments you want to know two basic things – what am I buying and how much is it costing me?
On an Aviva Investors 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 Investors, 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.
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:
- On the investment fund’s website you can find out more about your fund manager’s prior experience and areas of interest, which could impact how they manage the fund.
- It’s good to know how long a fund manager has been looking after a fund, and what the performance has been while they've been managing the fund. A factsheet could help you get an idea of this.
Which leads us nicely to…
How’s my fund doing?
It's a good idea to check how your fund has performed over a certain period. Although past performance isn’t an indicator of future returns, it can give you an idea of how consistently that fund has performed, and whether it stands up against the benchmark. For example, most UK equity funds use the FTSE All Share Index as their benchmark.
Performance is also a way to try to work out whether you’re getting value for money. If you’re invested in an active fund with high charges, but it’s not performing against the benchmark, you may not get the return you want.
A factsheet can allow you to see if a fund is actively managed (by a fund manager) or passively managed (tracking an index). To check your fund’s performance on an Aviva Investors fund factsheet, look under the section titled Performance.
There you'll see two charts. The first chart shows the discrete annual performance of the fund. This is the performance of the fund compared to its benchmark index and similar funds in calendar years, such as 31/03/2022 to 31/03/2023.
The second chart shows the performance of the fund over a number of years, such as one, three and five years, to the end of the previous month. The performance of the fund compared to its benchmark and similar funds over the previous five years is also shown in a chart in the same section
What have I invested in, exactly?
You want to know what you’re putting your money into, right? A fund factsheet will tell you just that. On an Aviva Investors 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. You can also see the types of assets that the fund invests in, so company shares, bonds and property - either all three together, or just one of these asset classes for example.
Knowing what you’re invested in is important because you can get an idea of how your money is distributed across investments and diversified.
Attitude to risk is a personal choice and depends on your financial goals and life stage. A fund factsheet will give you an idea of how risky the fund is.
Aviva Investors 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 Investors fund factsheet.
The fund's risks - such as investment risk and currency risk – will also be detailed on the 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 put in. Whether a fund has a low risk rating or a high risk rating, your money is still at risk.
Download our guide to fund factsheets for help getting a more detailed understanding of Aviva Investors fund factsheets.