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A tilt fund is a type of mutual fund that closely mirrors an index fund but gives fund managers the option to make investments outside the index to improve returns. Some types of tilt funds do this by adding other securities to ones that are included in the benchmark index. Another type of tilt fund gives more investment weight to certain securities within the index that are slated to outperform the others. In this way, fund managers attempt to maintain the safety of an index fund while taking the opportunities at hand to outperform the market as a whole.
Mutual funds, which are grouped investment opportunities that are managed by investment professionals and have their returns shared by all of the participants, can be handled in a variety of styles. There are active funds, which allow managers to trade aggressively within a fund's portfolio in an effort to generate high returns. By contrast, passive funds limit managers by limiting the amount of trades they can make. Combining these two styles, a tilt fund combines safety and opportunity.
Essentially, a tilt fund is an index fund with more options. For example, a typical index fund might invest in the companies that are included in the S&P 500®, an index devoted to the top 500 stocks in the United States. A fund that utilizes a tilting strategy might have most of its capital invested in these 500 companies, but it also might leave the manager room to include certain other stocks as well.
Another way that a tilt fund attempts to outperform an index fund is by weighting its investments. What this means is that there is more capital placed in certain securities than in others within the fund. By choosing the securities with better potential, a manager might increase returns. Certain tilt funds might also but more heavily into stocks with excellent dividend payments, thereby generating capital in addition to that which is earned through rising stock prices.
What attracts investors to a tilt fund is that it allows more opportunities for significant returns without substantially increasing the risk involved. Many investors seek out index funds because of their safety. By sticking to the securities within a fund, and embellishing here and there without diverging too completely from an index, fund managers can keep ahead of the market without losing that safety. That is extremely valuable to investors who want to generate returns but don't want to add the risk of losing their investment capital.