Great Graphic: Who Owns US Mutual Funds?

This Great Graphic shows different characteristics of the owners of US mutual funds. It was posted on Visual.ly, and created by Kurtosys, with data from the Investment Company of America.  

It is often said that the US has an equity culture, and it is true that on the aggregate level, American households have a greater share of their wealth in equities than other countries. 

However, only a little  more than a third of adults in the US own mutual funds (indirect ownership of equities).  The data show that some 92.4 mln Americans own mutual funds out of an adult population of roughly 240 mln people. 

The value of the median household financial assets is $190k and the value of the median mutual fund asset is $100k.  The median household owns four mutual funds and almost 80% have at least one equity fund.  

A strong force shaping this has been the shift away from defined benefit retirement programs to defined contribution schemes.  A little more than 2/3 of mutual fund investors have individual retirement accounts and 80% have direct contribution retirement plans.  

The infographic also shows how the 2012 figures compare with 1994.  One important difference has been the rise of the exchange-traded funds, which have certain tax advantages, often lower fees, and more transparent, in the sense that prices are updated continuously during the day over traditional open-ended mutual funds.  

The industry appears in flux. Several large mutual fund companies are preparing to offer ETF versions of some of their actively traded open-ended mutual funds.  Some mutual funds use ETFs to gain industry or sector exposure.  Some ETFs use hedge-fund like investment strategies, including leverage. Rather than charge commission per se, some shops offer a simple wrap fee around assets under management, which could include individual shares and ETFs, that is comparable with the management fees of mutual funds    
Great Graphic: Who Owns US Mutual Funds? Great Graphic:   Who Owns US Mutual Funds?  Reviewed by Marc Chandler on January 01, 2014 Rating: 5
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