Closed end funds are, as discussed previously, mutual fund shares which trade on an exchange much like a stock. Like open end funds, they are registered as investment companies under the Investment Company Act of 1940 and are highly regulated. Unlike open end funds, which are priced at the end of the day and valued based upon the holdings in the fund, the market price of a closed end fund is determined by supply and demand for the fund on an exchange.
This results in a closed end fund having a market price which can at times vary significantly from its net asset value. As discussed previously, this discrepancy can create an opportunity for an investor to buy fund shares at a discount to net asset value and sell fund shares at a premium to net asset value.
Closed end fund shares are issued once during an initial public offering, after which point shares can only be obtained by purchasing them from other shareholders. This is on contrast to an open end fund, whose operators have the ability to create and redeem shares in reaction to capital flowing in and out of the fund.
Closed end funds tend to be capitalized in the $100 million to $1 billion range, which is much smaller than the typical open end fund, which oftentimes has a market capitalization exceeding $10 billion. Closed end funds oftentimes employ leverage to boost returns, and frequently pay dividends and interest exceeding 6% per annum.