Understanding Growth Funds: How They Work, Types, and Examples


Unlock the full potential of growth funds in this comprehensive guide. We’ll delve deep into their intricacies, how they operate, the various types, and their performance. Discover the pros and cons, along with answers to frequently asked questions, to make informed investment decisions.

Understanding growth funds

Investors seeking the allure of high returns in the financial world often find themselves drawn to a specific category of investments—growth funds. In this in-depth guide, we will unravel the complexities of growth funds, providing you with an extensive understanding of these high-risk, high-reward financial instruments. By the end of this journey, you’ll be equipped with the knowledge needed to navigate the world of growth funds and make well-informed investment choices.

What are growth funds?

Growth funds, often referred to as mutual funds or exchange-traded funds (ETFs), are investment vehicles designed to prioritize capital appreciation. They set themselves apart by their minimal or non-existent dividend payouts, channeling their focus towards companies displaying above-average growth prospects. These companies typically reinvest their earnings into expansion, acquisitions, or research and development (R&D) to fuel future growth.

How growth funds operate

Growth funds are not for the faint of heart. Their high-risk, high-reward nature makes them ideal for investors with a long-term outlook—usually spanning five to ten years or more. Companies featured within growth fund portfolios often boast high price-to-earnings (P/E) and price-to-sales (P/S) ratios. Investors accept this risk in exchange for the potential for above-average revenue and earnings growth.

Types of growth funds

Large-cap growth funds

Large-cap growth mutual funds are among the most common. These funds target well-established, large-cap companies with the potential for significant growth. Investors also have the option of large-blend funds, which combine elements of both value and growth investments. On the international stage, foreign large-cap growth funds have gained popularity, offering exposure to global revenue and earnings growth.

Foreign growth funds

For those looking to harness global growth opportunities, foreign growth funds present an attractive option. These funds invest in international stocks that exhibit robust revenue and earnings growth. Typically, they focus on sectors such as technology and consumer industries. International growth fund portfolios often feature major players like Tencent (TCTZF), Baidu (BIDU), and Alibaba (BABA).

Largest growth fund

A standout in the world of growth funds is the Growth Fund of America (AGTHX) by American Funds. As of March 2022, it manages over $253 billion in assets. Remarkably, its stock price surged by 10% over the past year, even amidst market volatility. Over the last decade, as of Feb. 28, 2022, it boasts an impressive average annual return of 14.28%.

Tesla takes the lead as the largest holding within the Growth Fund of America, representing 7.1% of assets. The technology sector dominates the fund’s composition, making up 34.9% of assets, closely followed by consumer discretionary stocks at 24.3%.

Performance of growth funds

The past decade has witnessed the supremacy of growth funds among the best-performing large-company stock funds. For instance, the Morgan Stanley Multi Cap Growth A (CPOAX) stands as the top-performing large-company stock fund over the last ten years, delivering an annualized return of 23.3%. Currently, its top three holdings include Snowflake, Inc. (SNOW), Cloudflare, Inc. (NET), and The Trade Desk (TTD).

Weigh the risks and benefits

Here is a list of the benefits and drawbacks to consider.

  • Potential for substantial capital appreciation
  • Diversification through a varied portfolio
  • Access to professionally managed investments
  • Higher volatility and risk levels
  • Low or no dividend income
  • Dependency on above-average growth


Growth funds hold the promise of substantial rewards, but they also entail substantial risks. To harness their potential, understanding their intricacies, assessing your risk tolerance, and selecting the right fund for your financial objectives are essential steps. With patience and a strategic approach, growth funds can be valuable components of your investment portfolio.

Frequently asked questions

Are growth funds suitable for short-term investors?

Growth funds are primarily geared towards investors with a long-term outlook, typically spanning five to ten years or more. Short-term investors may find the high volatility associated with growth funds less suitable for their goals.

How can I assess my risk tolerance for investing in growth funds?

Assessing your risk tolerance is crucial before investing in growth funds. A useful approach is to evaluate your financial goals, investment horizon, and comfort level with market fluctuations. Consulting a financial advisor can provide personalized insights.

What should I consider when choosing the right growth fund?

Selecting the right growth fund hinges on factors such as your risk tolerance, investment objectives, and time horizon. Consider diversifying your portfolio with different types of growth funds, and consult financial experts for tailored advice.

Are growth funds tax-efficient investments?

Growth funds may not be the most tax-efficient investments due to their tendency to generate capital gains. It’s advisable to consult a tax advisor to understand the tax implications and explore strategies to minimize taxes.

Can growth funds be part of a retirement strategy?

Yes, growth funds can play a role in a retirement strategy, especially for individuals with a longer investment horizon. However, it’s essential to assess your risk tolerance and diversify your retirement portfolio to achieve a balanced approach.

Key takeaways

  • Growth funds prioritize capital appreciation by investing in companies with above-average growth potential.
  • Investors in growth funds should have a long investment horizon and a willingness to embrace risk.
  • Types of growth funds include large-cap, foreign, and mid-cap options, each with its own risk-reward profile.
  • Assess your risk tolerance and financial goals before considering growth funds for your portfolio.
View article sources
  1. Stocks – U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission
  2. Value Stocks vs. Growth Stocks: Timing Counts – University of Pennsylvania
  3. Growth Fund – University of Oklahoma
  4. Exponential Growth: Meaning, Real-world Illustrations, and Calculations – SuperMoney
  5. Mastering Equity Fund Investments: A Comprehensive Guide for Investors – SuperMoney