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Unit Investment Trust (UIT)


A Unit Investment Trust (UIT) is a type of investment fund in the United States that offers a fixed portfolio of stocks, bonds, or other securities. These assets are purchased and held until a specific maturity date, offering investors capital appreciation or dividend income. Unlike other mutual funds, the portfolio for a UIT is not actively managed and the investments are not traded once the portfolio is established.


The phonetics for the keyword “Unit Investment Trust (UIT)” are:Unit: Yoo-nitInvestment: In-vest-muhntTrust: TruhstUIT: Yoo-Ai-Tee

Key Takeaways

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  1. A Unit Investment Trust (UIT) is a U.S. investment firm that buys and holds a fixed, unmanaged portfolio, generally of stocks and bonds, as permanent assets. It offers an attractive opportunity for investors to own a portfolio of securities via a low minimum, one-time investment.

  2. UITs are transparent and offer a fixed portfolio. That is, investors know from the beginning which specific stocks and bonds are included in the UIT. This portfolio remains fixed and doesn’t change over the lifetime of the trust, providing predictability to investors.

  3. Unlike mutual funds, UITs have a defined termination date based upon the investments within the UIT. When the trust reaches its termination date, the trust is liquidated, and the proceeds are paid to the owners of the trust units.



A Unit Investment Trust (UIT) is a significant financial tool as it offers investors the chance to invest in a fixed portfolio of securities, which are carefully selected and remain static until maturity. It is structured more like a fixed-term investment, making it distinct from other investment vehicles such as mutual funds and exchange-traded funds. UITs are designed to provide capital appreciation, dividend payments, or a combination of both to investors, thereby diversifying their portfolios. Hence, its importance in the field of business finance lies in its ability to provide a specific investment strategy, absorb risk through diversification, and offer a clear exit strategy due to its predetermined maturity date.


The primary purpose of a Unit Investment Trust (UIT) is to provide a flexible and straightforward way for investors to participate in a diversified, fixed portfolio of securities. A unit investment trust is a type of investment fund where a set of particular securities are selected and purchased once, then sold at some point in the future. The portfolio is thus ‘fixed’ , offering little to no alterations in the underlying securities once they have been selected. The trust offers units to investors who essentially hold a proportion of the portfolio, akin to shares, allowing them a vehicle to own multiple securities without having to individually purchase each one.Unit Investment Trusts are mostly used to generate income for investors. They typically invest in bonds, stocks, or other fixed income securities. The investors receive regular interest payments or dividends from the UIT’s holdings, providing them with a steady income stream. The UIT’s termination date (often several years after its creation) adds another layer of accessibility, as investors can expect a return of their principal investment at this pre-specified date. These characteristics make UITs an attractive investment for those aiming for a diversified, low-maintenance portfolio with predictable income generation.


1. BlackRock Income Trust: This is an example of a Unit Investment Trust (UIT) operated by BlackRock, one of the world’s largest investment management companies. This trust invests in a diversified portfolio of fixed income securities in an effort to provide steady income to its unit holders.2. Invesco Mortgage Capital Inc.: This UIT primarily focuses on investing in residential mortgage-backed securities (RMBS) and commercial mortgage-backed securities (CMBS). The UIT aims to provide income through its diversified portfolio and uses professional expertise to manage the associated risks.3. First Trust NASDAQ Cybersecurity ETF: In the field of sector-specific UITs, this is a good example. This ETF is a UIT that heavily invests in companies that are a part of the cybersecurity segment of the technology and industrials sectors. As it doesn’t actively manage the investments, instead replicating a specific index (the NASDAQ CTA Cybersecurity Index), it is a type of UIT.

Frequently Asked Questions(FAQ)

What is a Unit Investment Trust (UIT)?

A Unit Investment Trust, or UIT, is a US investment company that offers a fixed portfolio, typically of stocks and bonds, as redeemable units to investors for a specific period of time.

How does a Unit Investment Trust (UIT) work?

A UIT purchases a set of securities and then sells shares of that portfolio to investors. These shares can be sold back to the trust or on the secondary market. The trust terminates on a predetermined maturity date, upon which assets are sold and proceeds are paid to the investors.

How is a Unit Investment Trust (UIT) different from a Mutual Fund?

The main difference is that a UIT is not actively-managed and has predefined holding period, hence does not have ongoing buying and selling of securities, unlike mutual funds.

Who manages the investments in a UIT?

A UIT is managed by a trustee, typically a corporate trust department of a bank, and is not “managed” by a human manager making investment decisions.

Are Unit Investment Trusts (UITs) a safe type of investment?

Like any other type of investment, UITs come with risks. However, because UITs contain a fixed portfolio, risks associated with managerial decision-making are reduced.

How does one invest in a Unit Investment Trust (UIT)?

UITs can be purchased from a broker, an investment advisor or directly from the issuer during the Initial Offering Period. After the IOP, UITs can be bought and sold on the secondary market.

What are the fees associated with investing in a Unit Investment Trust (UIT)?

Usually, investing in UITs involves upfront sales charges, which can be broken down into an initial sales charge, a deferred sales charge, and a creation and development fee. There may be other fees which must be included in the prospectus.

When does a Unit Investment Trust (UIT) terminate?

A UIT will terminate on a predetermined date that is disclosed in the trust’s prospectus. The securities in the trust are sold and the proceeds are paid out to the shareholders.

Can I sell my units in a UIT before it matures?

Yes, units in a UIT can be sold before the trust reaches its termination date. They can either be sold back to the UIT at the current net asset value or they can be sold to other investors.

What is the tax treatment for UITs?

The tax treatment for UITs can be complex and will depend on the specific type of UIT. In general, any income from the trust is taxed in the year it is received.

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