What Is an Interval Fund?

By Rebecca Lake · May 18, 2024 · 9 minute read

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What Is an Interval Fund?

Interval funds are closed-end mutual funds that don’t trade publicly on an exchange. These funds are so named because they offer to repurchase a percentage of outstanding shares at periodic intervals.

Investing in interval funds can be attractive since they have the potential to generate higher yields. However, they’re less liquid than other types of funds, owing to the restrictions around when and how you can sell your shares.

Key Points

•   Interval funds are closed-end mutual funds that offer to repurchase a percentage of outstanding shares at periodic intervals.

•   Investing in interval funds can generate higher yields but they are less liquid compared to other funds.

•   Interval funds make periodic repurchase offers to shareholders based on a schedule set in the fund’s prospectus.

•   Interval funds may hold a variety of underlying investments such as private credit, real estate, private equity, venture capital, and infrastructure.

•   Interval funds differ from closed-end funds and mutual funds in terms of trading on an exchange, initial public offering, and liquidity.

How Do Interval Funds Work?

Interval funds are alternative investments that work by making periodic repurchase offers to shareholders according to a schedule set in the fund’s prospectus.

Shareholders are not obligated to accept the offer but if they do, they receive a share price that’s based on net asset value (NAV). Repurchase intervals may occur quarterly, biannually, or annually.

These funds typically rely on an active management strategy, which is designed to produce returns that outpace the market. But because of the types of investments held by interval funds, as well as the fund’s structure, the trade-offs are potentially higher risk and far less liquidity.

💡 Quick Tip: While investing directly in alternative assets often requires high minimum amounts, investing in alts through a mutual fund or ETF generally involves a low minimum requirement, making them accessible to retail investors.

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What Types of Assets Do Interval Funds Hold?

Interval funds may hold a variety of underlying investments that are different from what traditional funds may invest in, which is partly why interval funds are considered a form of alternative investing. An interval fund’s prospectus should include a detailed account of its underlying assets to help investors better understand what they’re investing in.

Recommended: Alternative Investment Guide

Private Credit

Private credit refers to lending that occurs outside the scope of traditional banking. Rather than going through a bank for a loan, businesses gain access to the capital they need through private lending arrangements.

Also referred to as direct lending or private debt, private credit helps to fill a void for businesses that have been unable to secure traditional financing. Private credit can also offer investors an opportunity, as private credit generates returns for investors in the form of interest on the loans.

Real Estate

Real estate can be an attractive investment for investors who are seeking an inflationary hedge with low correlation to the stock market. Interval funds may invest in private real estate investment trusts (REITs), private real estate funds, commercial properties, and land. Some real estate interval funds focus on real estate debt investments.

Private Equity

Private equity refers to investments in companies that are not publicly traded on an exchange. Private equity funds pool capital from multiple investors to purchase companies, overhaul them, and sell them at a profit. This type of investment can prove risky, as there are no guarantees that the company’s value will increase but if it does, the rewards for investors can be great.

Venture Capital

Venture capital is a form of private equity in which investors provide funding to startups and early-stage businesses. In exchange, investors receive an equity stake in the company. Venture capitalists have an opportunity to make their money back once the company goes public by selling their shares.


Infrastructure interval funds invest in the mechanisms, services, and systems that make everyday life possible. Investments are focused on:

•   Transportation

•   Energy and utilities

•   Housing

•   Healthcare

•   Communications

These types of investments can be attractive as they tend to produce stable cash flow since a significant part of the population relies on them.

How Does the Repurchase Process Work?

An interval fund makes repurchase offers according to the schedule set in the prospectus. Shareholders should be given advance notice of upcoming repurchase offers and the date by which they should accept the offer if they prefer to do so. The fund should also specify the date at which the repurchase will occur.

In terms of the timing, it may look something like this:

•   Once shareholders are notified of an upcoming repurchase offer, they have three to six weeks to respond.

•   After the acceptance deadline passes, there may be a two-week waiting period for the repurchase to occur.

•   Investors who accepted the repurchase offer may have up to a one-week wait to receive proceeds owed to them.

The price shareholders receive is based on the per share NAV at a set date. A typical repurchase offer is 5% to 25% of fund assets. interval funds may collect a redemption fee of up to 2% of repurchase proceedings. This fee is paid to the fund to cover any expenses related to the repurchase.

What’s the Difference Between an Interval Fund and a Closed-End Fund?

Closed-end funds issue a fixed number of shares, with no new shares issued later (even to keep up with demand from investors). An interval fund is categorized as a closed-end fund legally. However, interval funds don’t behave the same way as other closed-end funds. Specifically:

•   There’s typically no initial public offering (IPO)

•   Interval funds do not trade on an exchange

•   Investors can purchase shares at any time

The third point makes interval funds more like open-end funds, but there’s a key difference there as well. Interval funds can hold a much higher percentage of assets in illiquid investments than open-end funds.

What’s the Difference Between an Interval Fund and a Mutual Fund?

Interval funds are different from traditional mutual funds, which are also a type of pooled investment. With a mutual fund, investors can buy shares to gain exposure to a wide variety of underlying assets. The fund may pay out dividends to investors or offer the benefit of long-term capital appreciation.

Investors can buy mutual fund shares at any time, but unlike an interval fund, these shares trade on a stock exchange. The fund’s share price is set at the end of the trading day. Mutual funds can offer greater liquidity to investors since you can buy shares one day and sell them the next day or even the same day.

Interval funds don’t offer that benefit as you must wait until the next repurchase date to sell your shares. An interval fund may also be more expensive to own compared to a mutual fund, as there are often additional costs that apply.

Investor Considerations

If you’re interested in alternative investments and you’re considering interval funds, there are some important things to keep in mind.

•   What is the minimum investment required and can you meet it?

•   How does your risk tolerance align with the risk profile of the fund you’re weighing?

•   What is the schedule for repurchase offers and how does that align with your liquidity needs?

•   How much will you pay to invest in the fund?

•   What is your target range for returns?

Due to their illiquid nature, it may not make sense for the average investor to tie up a large part of their portfolio in interval funds. It’s also important to keep in mind that the minimum investment may be in the five-figure range, which is often well above the minimum needed to trade mutual fund shares.

💡 Quick Tip: If you’re opening a brokerage account for the first time, consider starting with an amount of money you’re prepared to lose. Investing always includes the risk of loss, and until you’ve gained some experience, it’s probably wise to start small.

Potential Upside

The potential upside of interval funds is the possibility of earning returns that beat the average return of the stock market. Depending on the fund’s strategy and underlying investments, it’s possible to realize returns that are substantially higher than what you might get with a traditional open-end mutual fund.

Interval funds can add diversification to a portfolio and give you access to illiquid investments that might otherwise be closed off to you. While there are risks involved, interval funds may be less susceptible to market volatility as they have a lower correlation to stocks overall.

Although lack of liquidity may be problematic for some investors, it can benefit others who may be tempted to give in to investing biases. Since you can’t easily sell your shares, interval funds can prevent you from making panic-driven decisions with this segment of your portfolio.

Recommended: Why Portfolio Diversification Matters

Possible Risks

Much of the risk associated with interval funds lies in their underlying investments. If a fund is investing in private credit or venture capital, for example, and the companies the fund backs fail to become profitable, that can directly impact the returns you realize as an investor.

As mentioned, liquidity risk can also be an issue for investors who don’t want to feel locked into their investments. Even if you’re comfortable with only being able to redeem shares at certain times, there’s always market risk which could negatively affect the NAV share price you’re offered.

The Takeaway

Interval funds can be rewarding to investors, but they’re more complex than other types of mutual funds or exchange-traded funds. Weighing the pros and cons is an important step in deciding whether to invest. You may also consider talking it over with a financial advisor before adding interval funds to your portfolio.

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Are interval funds a good investment?

Interval funds may be a good investment for investors who are comfortable with higher risk exposure given the potential to earn higher rewards. The complexity of these alternative investments may make them less suitable for individuals who are just getting started with building a portfolio.

What’s the difference between an interval fund and an ETF?

An exchange-traded fund (ETF) is a type of mutual fund that trades on an exchange like a stock; an interval fund is a closed-end fund that doesn’t trade on an exchange. ETFs can offer exposure to a pool of different investments, including some of the same illiquid investments that an interval fund may hold. But whereas the majority of ETFs are passively managed, most interval funds have an active portfolio manager.

Do interval funds pay dividends?

Interval funds can pay dividends though they’re not required to do so. When collecting dividends from an interval fund or any other type of mutual fund, it’s important to understand how that income will be treated for tax purposes.

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