What is a 'Diversified Fund'

A diversified fund is a fund that is broadly diversified across multiple market sectors or geographic regions. It holds multiple securities, often in multiple asset classes. Its broad market diversification helps to prevent idiosyncratic events in one area from affecting an entire portfolio.

BREAKING DOWN 'Diversified Fund'

Diversified funds primarily seek to mitigate idiosyncratic or unsystematic risk by investing in a broad array of securities across multiple market sectors or geographic regions. A diversified fund contrasts with specialized or focused funds, such as sector funds, which focus on stocks in specific sectors such as biotechnology, pharmaceuticals or utilities. Diversified funds may also choose to manage stocks across multiple countries. A multi-regional fund also investing in multiple sectors would be one of the market’s most broadly diversified funds.

Diversified funds can also invest across multiple asset classes to help spread risks even more. With a multiple asset class portfolio, managers can also seek optimization of returns.

Overall, diversified funds are mindful of both unsystematic and systematic risks. They seek to mitigate these risks through their broad diversification. Since unsystematic risks are often sector specific they can be alleviated by multi-sector investing. Funds broadly diversified across regions may also be able to manage against some market wide systematic risks that are focused on a particular country.

Investors can choose diversified funds for a few reasons. Conservative investors may seek diversified funds because they offer lower risk of concentrated losses. Diversified funds are also often optimized for a balance that gives investors the highest return for their risk.

Diversified Fund Investing

Generally, all funds offer diversification by investing in a broad array of securities. Investment funds in general will help investors diversify away the idiosyncratic risks that can affect one security or a group of securities in a specific sector. When seeking diversified funds, investor may need to closely consider the types of risks they wish to mitigate.

Index Funds

Broad market index funds can be one type of diversified fund, offering low costs with broad market diversification. The Wilshire 5000 Index Fund (WFIVX) for example, seeks to track the return and holdings of the Wilshire 5000 Index. The Wilshire 5000 Index represents the entire U.S. equity investable market. Therefore, investors have exposure to the full range of U.S. market sectors and capitalizations. It will however be subject to the overall systematic market risk affecting U.S. companies in general.

A globally diversified index fund can offer mitigation of unsystematic risk and some systematic risks associated with markets in individual countries. The Vanguard Total World Stock Index Fund is one example. The Fund seeks to track the holdings and performance of the FTSE Global All Cap Index. It includes developed and emerging market stocks across all market sectors and capitalizations.

Actively Managed Funds

Vanguard and JPMorgan offer some of the industry’s top actively managed diversified funds.

Vanguard Diversified Equity Fund

The Vanguard Diversified Equity Fund invests in eight actively managed U.S. stock funds for diversification. Through the underlying funds, the Vanguard Diversified Equity Fund seeks to offer diversification across growth, value and capitalization. The Fund’s top underlying holding is the Vanguard Growth and Income Fund.

JPMorgan Diversified Fund

The JPMorgan Diversified Fund invests in a diversified portfolio of equity and fixed income investments. The Fund invests in both underlying funds and individual stocks.

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