Combination of contributions of many investors whose money is used to buy stocks, bonds, commodities, options, and/or money market funds, or precious metals such as gold, or foreign securities. In theory, mutual funds offer investors professional money management and diversification into conservative investments, aggressive investments, or combinations of these. Mutual funds are sold either with a sales charge (load), no sales charge (no-load), or a moderate sales charge (low load). These funds charge a management fee as a percentage of assets under management, usually 1% per year on a downward sliding scale as the asset base increases. Many insurance companies sell mutual funds.