An investment vehicle offered by a registered investment company. A mutual fund is a pool of money which is invested for fund holders by the Mutual Fund company. Each fund has a stated objective for investment (growth, international, small capitalization, technology, etc). A Mutual fund will also typically invests in many different securities to lower the risk associated with investing through diversification. Some Mutual Funds will attempt to match the performance of an index, while others try to \"beat the market\" through analysis and better investment selection. There are over 30,000 different mutual funds. Each fund has expenses for operations, marketing, and transactions. Mutual funds are sold in many different share classes. For example, A shares charge a Front-end Sales Load and B shares charge a higher Expense Ratio and have a CDSC. Mutual funds can also be offered as load-waived or no-load. Institutional shares usually have lower expenses, but do not provide any compensation to the individual or company selling the fund. Institutional shares also typically have high minimum investment requirements. Thus, these shares are typically purchased by individuals through large purchasing arrangements, such as 401(k) plans.