Diversity and risk
One of the main advantages of collective investment is the reduction in investment risk (capital risk) by diversification. An investment in a single equity may do well, but it may collapse for investment or other reasons (e.g., Marconi). If your money is invested in such a failed holding you could lose your capital. By investing in a range of equities (or other securities) the capital risk is reduced.
This investment principle is often referred to as spreading risk.
Collective investments by their nature tend to invest in a range of individual securities. However, if the securities are all in a similar type of asset class or market sector then there is a systematic risk that all the shares could be affected by adverse market changes. To avoid this systematic risk investment managers may diversify into different non-perfectly-correlated asset classes. For example, investors might hold their assets in equal parts in equities and fixed income securities.
Reduced dealing costs
If one investor had to buy a large number of direct investments, the amount this person would be able to invest in each holding is likely to be small. Dealing costs are normally based on the number and size of each transaction, therefore the overall dealing costs would take a large chunk out of the capital (affecting future profits).
Relying on an expert fund manager
Most collective investment schemes will be operated by a fund manager. The fund manager will normally be appointed by the fund investors and will include people with experience and expertise in the investment management industry and a track record of generating investment returns in line with the investment fund’s stated investment strategy. Investors choose to invest in these investment funds as they trust the fund manager to deliver a good return on their money.