Skip to content

Funds 101: What Is An ETF And How Does It Work?

What is an ETF and how does it work

Exchange traded funds, or ETFs, have become increasingly popular in recent years. And for good reason – they offer a simple and convenient way to invest in a wide range of assets. But what is an ETF and how does it work? In this blog post, we’ll give you all the need-to-know information about these investment vehicles.

Ad - Web Hosting from SiteGround - Crafted for easy site management. Click to learn more.

What Is An ETF?

Firstly, what is an ETF? Also know as an exchange traded fund, it is a type of investment vehicle that combines features of both stocks and traditional mutual funds. They are traded on stock exchanges and typically track a specific index, commodity, or basket of assets.

Like stocks, these funds can be bought and sold throughout the day at prices that fluctuate with the underlying market. And like mutual funds, they offer investors exposure to a diversified portfolio of assets in a single investment.

The first one was introduced in 1989, and they have become increasingly popular in recent years. There are now over 5,000 available globally, with over $3 trillion in assets under management.

There are many different types, each with their own unique investment strategy. The most common types are index funds, sector funds, commodity funds, and currency funds.

Index funds track a specific index, such as the S&P 500. Index funds are passive investments, meaning they do not require active management.

Sector funds are funds that invest in a specific sector, such as healthcare, technology or energy.


Commodity funds invest in all types of commodities, such as gold, sugar, corn or oil.

Currency funds invest in various foreign currencies such as Japanese Yen or Euros.

Funds 101 - What is an ETF
Funds 101 – What is an ETF

Difference Between An ETF And A Mutual Fund

Some of the key differences between exchange traded funds and mutual funds include:

  • Mutual funds are actively managed by a fund manager, while ETFs are passively managed, meaning they track an index.
  • Mutual funds typically have higher fees.
  • ETFs can be bought and sold throughout the day whereas mutual funds are bought and sold at the end of the day.
  • Mutual funds typically have a minimum investment, while ETFs do not.
The differences between an ETF and a mutual fund
The differences between an ETF and a mutual fund

Physical Vs Synthetic

When it comes to Exchange Traded Funds, there are two main types: physical and synthetic. Physical ETFs track an underlying index by investing in the actual securities that make up the index. Synthetic ETFs, on the other hand, use derivatives to achieve the same goal.

Both types of funds have their pros and cons. Physical funds tend to be more transparent, since you know exactly what securities are being held. They also tend to have lower costs. Synthetic funds, on the other hand, can be more complex and may be less tax-efficient.

What Are The Benefits?

Now we know what they are, it’s time to take a look at why you might want to invest in one. These types of funds offer a number of benefits for investors, including diversification, lower costs, and increased liquidity.

Diversification is important because it helps to reduce risk by spreading your investment across different asset classes.

They also tend to have lower expense ratios than traditional mutual funds, which means you’ll keep more of your money.

And because these funds are traded on major exchanges, they offer increased liquidity compared to many other investment vehicles.

Funds trading
Funds trading

What Are The Risks?

There are a few risks associated that investors should be aware of before investing. First, just like other stock market assets, ETFs are subject to market risk, which means the value of the fund could go down in response to overall market conditions.

Second, they may be subject to tracking error, which is the difference between the performance of the fund and the underlying index it is tracking.

Finally, they can incur expenses, which can eat into your returns.

How To Invest In An ETF

There are a few things to keep in mind when you’re ready to start investing in ETFs. First, you’ll need to find a reputable trading app that offers them. Once you’ve found an app that you trust, you’ll need to create an account and deposit money into it.

After that, you can begin buying and selling funds. When you’re ready to sell, you can either do so through the app or transfer your holdings to another account.

What Is An ETF Conclusion

In conclusion, an ETF is a type of investment fund that holds a basket of assets, such as stocks, bonds, currencies or commodities. The fund is managed by professionals who aim to track the performance of a particular index, such as the S&P 500.

Investors can buy and sell shares of Exchange Traded Funds just like they would any other stock traded on a stock exchange.

If you want to learn more about investing and personal finance, be sure to sign up for our newsletter and check out our blog.

Subscribe For Latest Updates

Sign up to the best personal finance advice.
Invalid email address
We promise not to spam you. You can unsubscribe at any time.