A beginners’ guide to ETFs, complete with helpful tips and the latest news.

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On this page, find out everything you need to know about exchange-traded funds (ETFs). Find out what they are, how they work, and the key things you need to know before you invest in this type of fund.

Updated: Jan 15, 2024

How to put money into ETFs

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Since ETFs trade on stock exchanges just like regular stocks, the easiest and quickest way to buy one is by using one of the best ETF brokers. These are increasingly popular and regulated platforms that offer investors and traders access to a wide range of assets including stocks, mutual funds, ISAs, CFDs, and indeed ETFs.

Before you buy ETFs, make sure to conduct the necessary due diligence to inform your investment. This includes researching the industry your chosen ETF is providing exposure to and the broader financial markets. Check out any of the links below to find out more about ETFs.

ETF platforms

What are ETFs?

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An ETF is a fund that trades on stock exchanges. Rather than providing investors exposure to the performance of a single company like a stock, ETFs are intended to provide exposure to an entire industry.

It is helpful to think of ETFs as a basket of different stocks. So, if you were to buy shares in an ETF focussed on the technology sector, you would gain exposure to all of the tech companies that are included in that particular fund.

Different ETFs hold different stocks and in different ratios. Moreover, some commodity funds, such as gold ETFs, are backed by the value of physical resources stored in vaults, providing convenient, digital access to commodity investing rather than having to buy and store materials outright.

How do ETFs work?

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ETFs are created when a fund manager purchases assets and/or shares in various companies within a particular sector, creating a portfolio. Then, they group these assets/shares together into a fund and sell shares in this newly-created ETF on the open market.

How to buy ETFs now

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Charlie Hancox
Financial Writer
Alongside his passion for trading, Charlie has represented Great Britain and won national championships as a water polo player, and as a budding film director, has… read more.