A mutual fund is a type of investment that takes investor money and puts it into opportunities like stocks and bonds selected by the fund managers. Some are index funds, which automatically assign money based on stock market indexes, and other top-performing mutual funds are actively managed funds, where fund managers pick investments on your behalf. Many funds today are what are called exchange-traded funds, meaning they can be bought with a ticker symbol similar to a stock. Look up these mutual fund symbols and use them to designate funds to invest in.
For exchange-traded funds, find ticker symbols through fund manager literature or financial news and information sites. For other funds, look up internal symbols through the fund manager or find the symbols called CUSIPs through online listings.
Exchange-Traded Mutual Fund Symbols
If you go to put money in a mutual fund or another investment, you want to make sure that you and the financial institutions you're doing business with are on the same page about what it is you're looking to invest in. If you accidentally put money in the wrong fund, that could prove to be a costly mistake.
One way to do this is to use ticker symbols, similar to those that designate stocks, to select the funds that you want to invest in. For funds called exchange-traded funds, or ETFs, you can generally type these symbols into a financial news or information site to see data about the fund, such as past performance numbers. You can also type them into stock brokerage websites to buy and sell shares in the fund.
To distinguish them from ordinary stock market ticker symbols, those symbols for ETFs generally end in the letter "X." Funds with symbols that end in a double X are usually money-market funds, which invest in short-term debt.
You can find the symbols for a fund by looking at the fund manager's website or by looking at lists of funds provided by financial news sites or brokers. Naturally, you'll want to double-check that you have the right ticker symbol before making a financial transaction. Purchases based on the wrong ticker symbol or investment name are far from unheard of, so make sure you're making the investment you actually set out to make.
Other Symbols and Fund Numbers
Most mutual funds and other investment opportunities are also represented by what's called a CUSIP number, standing for the Committee on Uniform Security Identification Procedures, an industry group that issues them. They can be used to identify securities uniquely, although they're less likely to be household names like ticker symbols. You can look up CUSIP numbers through fund manager and brokerage websites and through specialized databases if you or your broker has access to them.
Funds that aren't exchange-traded funds may also have internal names, symbols and numbers with the organizations that manage them. You may see these names and symbols on the fund prospectus or other literature about the fund. Make sure they match up with the funds you intend to invest in.
Understanding Index Funds
Index funds are funds that track the performance of a stock market index such as the S&P 500 or the Dow Jones Industrial Average, usually by investing in the stocks that make up the index. While an index might have a specific symbol or abbreviation used to refer to it, there can be multiple funds run by multiple managers tracking the index, each with its own unique symbol.
That means knowing the symbol of the index isn't enough to invest in a related fund. Shop around for an index fund by tracking an index you expect to do well, taking into account your prior relationship with the fund managers, what fees are charged by the fund and any other information available about the fund.
- If you only have the fund company name and not the full name of the mutual fund, type that in the search function. The results should include a list of products, including mutual funds, managed by that company.
- If you don't know the name of the mutual fund, locate a company on the Web that simply lists the names of mutual funds. Lists like these typically include the full name of the mutual fund, the symbol and a link to further details about the fund.
Steven Melendez is an independent journalist with a background in technology and business. He has written for a variety of business publications including Fast Company, the Wall Street Journal, Innovation Leader and Ad Age. He was awarded the Knight Foundation scholarship to Northwestern University's Medill School of Journalism.