DEFINITION of 'Style'

The investment approach or objective that a fund manager uses to make choices in the selection of securities for the fund's portfolio. While there are a variety of styles, there are nine basic investing styles for both equity and fixed-income funds. For stock funds, company size and value/growth characteristics determine the style. For bonds, style is defined by maturities and credit quality.

BREAKING DOWN 'Style'

The specific size parameters for stocks are large, medium and small-sized companies, which are determined by market capitalization. Value, growth and a value/growth blends are the three basic categories for stocks.

Bond maturities are categorized as short term, intermediate term and long term. Credit quality is determined by a bond's status as a government or agency issue (high) and credit ratings for corporates and municipals of 'AAA' to 'AA' (high), 'A' to 'BBB' (medium) and 'BB' to 'C' (low).

Variations and combinations of these basic categories, as well as consideration of special industries, industry sectors and geographic location, create investment styles for both stock and bond funds beyond the basic nine categories for each.

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