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An investment vehicle allowing investors with large holdings in a single stock to exchange them for a diversified portfolio. This allows the investors to diversify their holdings without selling any stocks, thereby avoiding taxes on their capital gains until the shares are actually sold. Exchange funds are controversial as investors could avoid taxes completely by never selling the portfolio and simply borrowing against it. They were originally introduced in 1999. An exchange fund is also called a swap fund.
An open-end investment company that swaps its own shares for an equal value of securities owned by an individual investor. Although the exchange is tax-free, the fund assumes the stockholder's basis on the securities it obtains. Thus, exchange funds ordinarily have large potential capital gains liabilities. Because of a 1967 Internal Revenue Service ruling, shares of these funds are no longer offered.