In finance, investment is the application of funds to hold assets over a longer term in the hope of achieving gains and/or receiving income from those assets. It generally does not include deposits with a bank or similar institution. Investment usually involves diversification of assets in order to avoid unnecessary and unproductive risk.
In contrast, dollar (or pound etc) cost averaging and market timing are phrases often used in marketing of collective investments and can be said to be associated with speculation.
Investments are often made indirectly through intermediaries, such as pension funds, banks, brokers, and insurance companies. These institutions may pool money received from a large number of individuals into funds such as investment trusts, unit trusts, SICAVs etc to make large scale investments. Each individual investor then has an indirect or direct claim on the assets purchased, subject to charges levied by the intermediary, which may be large and varied.
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