What is the difference between money market funds and unit trusts?

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Investors look for safe and adaptable ways to increase their money in the fast-paced and constantly changing world of investments. Money market funds and unit trusts have become popular options, each providing unique features and advantages catered to various investment tastes. 

Money market funds are a favoured choice for risk-averse people because they strongly emphasise capital preservation by investing in low-risk, short-term securities. On the other hand, unit trust aggregates money from several investors to invest in a diverse portfolio, potentially providing higher returns over time. 

By examining their distinctive qualities, possible returns, and applicability to the Singapore market, here we clarify the significant distinctions between money market fund and unit trusts

Key differences: money market funds vs. unit trusts

Risk profile

Money market funds are regarded as low-risk investments since they concentrate on short-term, high-quality debt instruments. Market turbulence and economic downturns have less of an impact on these funds. Unit trusts, on the other hand, could be more risky, depending on the asset allocation and investing approach used by the fund management. Equity-based unit trusts also carry higher market risks despite the possibility of more significant rewards.

Investment horizon

With investment horizons typically spanning from a few days to several months, money market funds are excellent for short-term investors looking for liquidity and consistency. On the other hand, unit trusts are better suited for long-term investors with five years or longer investment horizons and who want to accumulate wealth over time.

Potential returns

Due to their conservative character, money market funds often give modest but consistent returns. Returns on investments should be higher than inflation. In contrast, unit trusts have the potential for more significant returns because they invest in a diversified portfolio of different asset classes. Higher returns, meanwhile, also entail higher risk.

Expense ratio

Unlike unit trusts, money market funds often have lower expense ratios or fees levied by the fund manager. The latter entails more active management, which raises costs.

Lowest investment

Money market funds are available to a broader range of investors because they frequently have lower minimum investment requirements. Unit trusts might have higher initial investment requirements, which would make them less accessible to some individual investors.

Suitability for investors 

Short-term objectives and emergency fund

Money market funds are an attractive choice for people who want to start an emergency fund or save for immediate needs like a trip or a down payment on a home. They offer security, liquidity, and a respectable rate of return.

Retirement and long-term goals

Unit trusts may entice investors with long-term economic goals, such as retirement forethought or wealth accumulation. These goals align with the diversity and possibility for longer-term higher returns.


Unit trusts and money market funds can provide advantages for diversification. Unit trusts offer diversification across several asset classes, whereas money market funds provide it inside short-term debt instruments, lowering the risk of the entire portfolio.


Money market funds and unit trusts offer various investment options to suit multiple risk tolerances and demands. Money market funds provide safety and liquidity and are appropriate for short-term and risk-averse investors. Unit trusts, on the other hand, are perfect for long-term investors looking for higher returns and asset diversification. Investors must evaluate their financial objectives, risk tolerance, and investment horizon before making decisions. 

A licenced financial advisor can offer specialised advice on selecting the best investment vehicle to achieve particular financial goals. Always remember that investing has some risk, and past success does not guarantee future success. The ever-changing financial landscape may be navigated, and your investment journey can be optimised by keeping informed, keeping an eye on market circumstances, and diversifying your investment portfolio.

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