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Costs Undermine Active Investment

Unit investment trusts (UITs) are SEC-regulated investment vehicles in which a portfolio of securities is selected by a sponsor and then deposited into a trust. Assets held in UITs have grown steadily since the financial crisis, increasing from about $20 billion at the close of 2008 to about $87 billion by the end of 2013.

At that time, of the more than 5,000 UITs in existence, fewer than half were classified as equity trusts. Equity UITs, however, held more than 80 percent of UIT total net assets. Most UITs are part of a trust series. A new trust in the series can be issued while the previous trust still exists, or after the previous trust in the series has terminated.

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