What Is an Aggressive Growth Mutual Fund?

Definition & Examples of Aggressive Growth Mutual Funds

Definition

An aggressive growth mutual fund is a mutual fund with an investment objective that seeks high capital gain potential with growth stocks. The increased risk relative to other strategies is offset by higher potential returns in the long run.

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An aggressive growth mutual fund is a mutual fund with an investment objective of higher returns. This strategy seeks high capital gains through growth stocks. The increased risk inherent in this strategy is offset by the potential for higher returns over the long run.

Definition and Examples of an Aggressive Growth Mutual Fund

Aggressive growth is a style of investing that comes with higher market risk than a diversified investing approach. As it pertains to the stock market in general, higher-risk investments can have greater returns in the long term.

A growth stock is an equity investment in a company that is expected to grow at a faster rate compared to the overall stock market. Aggressive growth is like an intensified, greater growth-oriented version of the general growth investment strategy.

How Do Aggressive Growth Mutual Funds Work?

Aggressive growth funds generally work the same way any other mutual funds work. The fund managers select the investments and the way they are allocated to best mirror the fund's intent. Because an aggressive growth fund is designed to grow faster than an index or other benchmark, the fund management chooses investments that it thinks will grow at the rate desired.

For example, Vanguard Financials Index Fund Admiral Shares (VFAIX) has a beta of 1.0 (compared to the Spliced U.S. Investable Market Financial 25/50 Index) and 1.10 (compared to the Dow Jones U.S. Total Stock Market Index).

Note

Many growth funds are similar—diversity is reduced in some way to create more gains, which increases risks to investors.

It consists of holdings from banks, insurance companies, or other financial services providers from the financial sector. According to the product summary, the main risk comes from its limited scope—only investing in financial services companies.

What It Means for Individual Investors

Aggressive growth investors can expect to see higher volatility than those using a general growth strategy; a fund's beta measures this. It indicates how a fund will respond to fluctuations of an index, such as the S&P 500 or the overall market.

For reference, an aggressive growth fund is generally compared to another index, which is assigned a beta of 1.0. This means that an aggressive fund will have a beta of more than 1.0, while a standard growth fund would be less, such as .85. A beta of .85 means the fund is expected to return 15% less than its benchmark; a beta of 1.1 would suggest that the fund managers expect it to perform 10% better (or worse) than its benchmark.

Note

Investors who are looking for an aggressive growth fund should look for funds that are expected to perform up to 10% better than their benchmark. A beta of more than 1.1 also brings much more risk.

For instance, if your aggressive growth fund falls 1%, you would lose 1.1% compared to a growth fund with a lower beta (if the two were compared to the same index). So, the higher the beta, the more you stand to lose if the fund falls. However, if your fund increases by 1%, you would gain 1.1%.

To place this in perspective, from Jan. 3, 2022, to June 7, 2022, the S&P 500 lost 12.7%. A fund with a beta of 1.1 would have lost 13.97% in that time. If you had $10,000 in an aggressive growth fund with a beta of 1.1, you'd have lost $1,397 in six months. A fund with a beta—and the same comparative index—of 0.95 would have lost $1,206.50.

Types of Aggressive Growth Mutual Funds

Many aggressive growth stock mutual funds have the terms "aggressive growth," "capital appreciation," "capital opportunity," or "strategic equity" within their names. To find an aggressive growth fund, you must do some research. Along with beta, you can look at a fund's Sharpe Ratio and standard deviation to understand a fund's risk.

One approach to finding a mutual fund's objective is to visit a mutual fund research site. Look for "aggressive growth" under the Fund Objective. You can also look for the stated objective within the mutual fund prospectus, or you can go straight to the mutual fund's website and find it there.

Important

There can be a significant overlap across funds, which means that many funds have the same holdings. For that reason, if your portfolio already contains a growth fund, you might not need to add an "aggressive" growth fund.

Aggressive growth funds often invest in newer companies, or they may invest in those in the hottest economic sectors. Examples of some aggressive growth mutual funds include:

  • Fidelity Select Technology: FSPTX has a three-year beta (compared to the S&P 500) of 1.13. The fund invests mostly in businesses in software, and semiconductors.
  • Vanguard Strategic Equity: VSEQX has a three-year beta (compared to the Dow Jones Total Stock Market Index) of 1.12, and 1.02 (compared to the MSCI US Small + Mid Cap 2200 Index). The fund invests mostly in financials, information technology, industrials, consumer discretionary, and healthcare.

Key Takeaways

  • Aggressive growth investing aims to take on greater risk in return for greater rewards.
  • Aggressive growth mutual funds have a higher beta, which measures their volatility against an index.
  • Aggressive growth mutual funds are best for investors with higher risk tolerance and longer time frames.
  • Younger investors with more time to invest may be better suited for aggressive growth mutual funds than older investors.

The Balance does not provide tax, investment, or financial services and advice. The information is being presented without consideration of the investment objectives, risk tolerance, or financial circumstances of any specific investor and might not be suitable for all investors. Past performance is not indicative of future results. Investing involves risk, including the possible loss of principal.

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Sources
The Balance uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. Vanguard. "Vanguard Financials Index Fund Admiral Shares (VFAIX)."

  2. S&P Global. "S&P 500."

  3. Fidelity. "Fidelity Select Technology Portfolio."

  4. Vanguard. "Vanguard Strategic Equity Fund (VSEQX)."

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