A With-Profits Fund is a medium- to long-term investment fund which offers the opportunity for growth whilst enabling investors to benefit from greater consistency of returns through a mechanism called ‘smoothing’.
Those who invest in a With Profits Fund are typically investing in a mix of high and low risk assets including UK and international equities, bonds, property, and cash.
Smoothing works by applying returns to the fund steadily over time. This means, in periods of good market performance, some of the returns may be held back, and then applied during periods of poorer market performance to help cushion falls.
Without smoothing, market fluctuations would directly affect the daily value of the investment like most other types of investment fund. Smoothing therefore, seeks to protect investors by making investment returns more consistent over time, as strong performance in one period helps to offset poor performance in another. Some investors find this helps reduce the worry of volatile markets or of investing at the wrong time.
With Profits Funds run by mutual societies may also benefit from a share in the profits made by the society.