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Formal written document to sell securities that describes the plan for a proposed business enterprise, or the facts concerning an existing one, that an investor needs to make an informed decision. Prospectuses are used by mutual funds to describe fund objectives, risks, and other essential information.
Copyright © 2012, Campbell R. Harvey. All Rights Reserved.


A legal document detailing the structure and goals of an investment company such as a mutual fund. The SEC requires investment companies to file a prospectus before issuing shares and to provide one to a potential investor on demand. Each prospectus must contain relevant information, such as the terms of purchase, the amount of the load (if any), the fund's investment strategy, and historical financial statements. A prospectus is also called a circular.
Farlex Financial Dictionary. © 2012 Farlex, Inc. All Rights Reserved


A formal written document relating to a new securities offering that delineates the proposed business plan or the data relevant to an existing business plan—information needed by investors to make educated decisions whether to purchase the security. The prospectus includes financial data, a précis of the firm's business history, a list of its officers, a description of its operations, and mention of any pending litigation. A prospectus is an abridged version of the firm's registration statement filed with the SEC. See also offering circular, red herring.
What is the most important information to be found in a mutual fund prospectus?

The mutual fund prospectus is a legal document that contains valuable information for the investor. Now, it's easy to make fun of a prospectus. It's boring, and, yes, reading one is a cure for insomnia. But the prospectus is worth a close look, and a lot of investment mistakes could be avoided with a careful reading of the whole text. But several sections should be highlighted. First is the expense table. All mutual funds have to lay out in a standardized format all the fees associated with owning a fund. If there is a fee to buy and sell a fund, it's there, plus all the ongoing charges imposed by the fund. Thoroughly scrutinize the financial highlights. It's a lot of numbers, but these figures give a reading on how the fund has done over time and in different markets. The investment objective section is critical. Is this the kind of fund you are looking for? Is it run, say, to generate dividend income, or is the money manager striving for long-term capital appreciation in high-tech stocks? The management page tells you whether the fund is run by an individual or by a committee.

Christopher Farrell, Economics Editor, Minnesota Public Radio, heard nationally on Sound Money®
Wall Street Words: An A to Z Guide to Investment Terms for Today's Investor by David L. Scott. Copyright © 2003 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved. All rights reserved.


A prospectus is a formal written offer to sell stock to the public. It is created by an investment bank that agrees to underwrite the stock offering.

The prospectus sets forth the business strategies, financial background, products, services, and management of the issuing company, and information about how the proceeds from the sale of the securities will be used.

The prospectus must be filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and is designed to help investors make informed investment decisions.

Each mutual fund provides a prospectus to potential investors, explaining its objectives, management team and policies, investment strategy, and performance. The prospectus also summarizes the fees the fund charges and analyzes the risks you take in investing in the fund.

Dictionary of Financial Terms. Copyright © 2008 Lightbulb Press, Inc. All Rights Reserved.


a document prepared by a JOINT-STOCK COMPANY as an invitation to the public to subscribe for shares in the company The prospectus gives details of the company's past trading record, current capital structure and borrowings. Prospectuses are published as the first stage of an offer for sale of shares. See SHARE ISSUE.
Collins Dictionary of Business, 3rd ed. © 2002, 2005 C Pass, B Lowes, A Pendleton, L Chadwick, D O’Reilly and M Afferson


A legal document describing something that is being offered for sale, with all disclosures required by applicable state and federal laws.
The Complete Real Estate Encyclopedia by Denise L. Evans, JD & O. William Evans, JD. Copyright © 2007 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.
References in periodicals archive ?
deliver statutory prospectuses. The SEC adopted its new rules to
prospectuses that differ substantially from communications they were
The SEC wants investors, financial analysts, brokers and other users of prospectuses to comment on the proposal and provide additional ways to improve readability.
The rule also would revise the current requirements for highly technical information in the front of prospectuses and would detail the clarity required in the entire document.