A collective investment scheme is a way of investing money with others to participate in a wider range of investments than feasible for most individual investors, and to share the costs and benefits of doing so.
Terminology varies with country but collective investment schemes are often referred to as mutual funds, investment funds, managed funds, or simply funds (note: mutual fund has a specific meaning in the US). Around the world large markets have developed around collective investment and these account for a substantial portion of all trading on major stock exchanges.
Collective investments are promoted with a wide range of investment aims either targeting specific geographic regions (e.g., Emerging Europe) or specified industry sectors (e.g., Technology). Depending on the country there is normally a bias towards the domestic market to reflect national self-interest as perceived by policymakers, familiarity, and the lack of currency risk. Funds are often selected on the basis of these specified investment aims, their past investment performance and other factors such as fees.