Mutual funds are required to disclose all the pertinent information about their funds to the investors in a form of prospectuses. These disclosures can be easily obtained via the Internet and contain detailed information about the funds. Investors need to know what is contained in a prospectus of a mutual fund.
A prospectus will contain information about the fees charged to the investor; information about investment strategies implemented, performance, and risks involved; tax information; pricing of the shares; contacts; deposits and withdrawals; and other pertinent information. This may be a bit too much for an average investor to read, so investment houses offer Summary Prospectuses, which are abbreviated versions of a full scale mutual fund prospectus.
Free mutual fund investment information is also provided in a form of Fact Sheets, and these are a must-read. The summarized pages provide very useful information about the funds such as investment objectives and investment style, performance, asset allocation (how much is invested in different asset classes such as stocks, bonds, money market funds, etc.), top holdings, sector weightings, country allocation, risks, and information about the fund manager.
Reading this information, in addition to the research provided by independent companies (i.e., Morningstar), is a way for the investor to learn more about the fund before investing, thus avoiding over-reliance on financial advisors, some of whom are biased and will recommend a fund that pays them the most lucrative sales fees. For those investors looking for even more information, funds provide semiannual and annual reports, which discuss the fund performance and asset allocation strategy in more detail, plus a market outlook.
Related articles on this site:
Mutual fund prospectuses are provided for free and offer detailed information for investors. Those who need a summarized information, should refer to free Fact Sheets.
To understand what you're investing in will take some work