How to Invest in UITFs in the Philippines

Last Updated – Feb 6, 2024 @ 12:58 pm

Quick Take

What’s the best UITF to invest in the Philippines?

As of February 2024, here are the top performing UITFs in the country:

Fund TypeFund NameYTD Returns
Best performing UITF Equity FundAIA Peso Equity Fund+5.01%
Best performing UITF Feeder FundManulife Global Technology Equity Feeder Fund (Php Unhedged Class A)+8.96%
Best performing UITF Bond Fund:Bank of Commerce Diversity Peso Bond Fund+0.92%
Best Performing UITF Money Market FundAB Capital Short-Term Fund+0.52%
Best Performing UITF Balanced FundLandBank Balanced Fund+2.95%

UITFs are one of the most ideal choices for beginners when it comes to getting started with investing.

Read on to learn more about how you can take advantage of this financial instrument to grow your wealth.

What are UITFs?

UITF stands for Unit Investment Trust Fund. In principle, it works a lot like Mutual Funds. But instead of a Mutual Fund company, your money is managed by a bank.

In Mutual Funds, you own shares, making you a “shareholder”. The price of each MF share is referred to as Net Asset Value Per Share (NAVPS).  

In UITF, you’re an “investor” for owning units. The price of each UITF unit is referred to as Net Asset Value Per Unit (NAVPU). For example, if the NAVPU of a specific UITF is Php 2.00 and you have Php 20,000 to invest, you’ll own 10,000 units.

The bank will provide you with a certificate as proof that you own an X-number of units.


Types of UITFs

UITFs can be categorized the same way as Mutual Funds (Equity, Balanced, Bonds, Money Market). In similar fashion, allocation of assets is based on the investors risk-appetite.

UITF TypeRisk TypeInvests InGoalInvestment Time Frame
Stock/Equity FundAggressiveStocks and EquitiesLong Term Capital Growth3 years or more
Balanced FundsModerate Conservative, risk rating higher vs. Bond FundsMix of stocks, bonds, money market instrumentsMedium to Long Term Capital Growth1-3 Years
Bond FundsModerate ConservativeFixed-income instruments (Gov’t securities, treasury bills/notes, etc)Stability plus Reasonable Capital Growth1 Year
Money Market FundsConservativeShort-term debt securities (time deposits, corporate bonds, cash assets, etc)Stability plus Minimal Capital Growth3-6 months

Best Unit Investment Trust Fund (UITF) in the Philippines for 2024

Here are the top 10 UITFs in the Philippines – as of February 2024.

Fund NameFund TypeYTD Return (%)
Manulife Global Technology Equity Feeder Fund (Php Unhedged Class A)Feeder Fund+8.96%
Manulife Global Healthcare Equity Feeder Fund (Php Unhedged Class I)Feeder Fund+5.89%
Manulife Global Healthcare Equity Feeder Fund (Php Unhedged Class A)Feeder Fund+5.68%
BPI US Equity Index Feeder Fund Class P (PHIL PESO CLASS)Feeder Fund+5.18%
AIA Peso Equity FundEquity Fund+5.01%
AB Capital Equity FundEquity Fund+4.95%
ATRAM Philippine Equity Smart Index FundEquity Index Tracker Fund+4.74%
ATRAM Trust Corp. PRUInvest PHP Dynamic Equity Fund (I Unit Class)Equity Fund+4.52%
ATRAM Trust Corp. PRUInvest PHP Dynamic Equity Fund (A Unit Class)Equity Fund+4.41%
Security Bank SB High Dividend Peso Equity FundEquity Fund+4.35%

Best UITF Equity Funds for 2024

A UITF Equity fund invests primarily in shares of publicly listed companies. It is tagged with a risk classification of Aggressive.

Note: The data shown in the table below are based on the performance reports from UITF.com.ph – listing the 5 highest performing equity funds from February 2023 – February 2024 (YOY). We will be updating this table on a quarterly basis.

BankFund Name1YR ROI (%)
BPI WealthBPI Philippine Infrastructure Equity Index Fund+6.16%
AB Capital Asset ManagementAB Capital Equity Fund+4.72%
China Banking CorporationChinaBank Equity Fund+1.07%

Best UITF Balanced Funds for 2024

A UITF Balanced Fund invests primarily in equities and fixed income securities. It is tagged with a risk classification of Moderate Aggressive/Conservative.

Note: The data shown in the table below are based on the performance reports from UITF.com.ph – listing the 5 highest performing balanced funds from February 2023 – February 2024 (YOY). We will be updating this table on a quarterly basis.

BankFund Name1YR ROI (%)
Robinsons BankRBank Tax-Exempt Retirement Fund (A Balanced UITF)+7.61%
AB Capital Asset ManagementAB Capital Balanced Fund+6.33%
Philippine Bank of CommunicationsPBCOM PHP Multi-Asset Fund+3.68%

Best UITF Bond Funds for 2024

A UITF Bond Fund invests primarily in large corporation and government-issued fixed-income securities. It is tagged with a risk classification of Moderate Conservative.

Note: The data shown in the table below are based on the performance reports from UITF.com.ph – listing the 5 highest performing bond funds from February 2023 – February 2024 (1-year ROI). We will be updating this table on a quarterly basis.

BankFund Name1YR ROI (%)
Union BankUnionBank PHP Tax Exempt Fixed Income Fund+5.97%
Manulife Investment Management and Trust CorporationManulife Stable Income Fund (Class I)+4.77%
Manulife Investment Management and Trust CorporationManulife Income Builder Fund (Class I)+4.35%

Best UITF Money Market Funds for 2024

A UITF Money Market Fund invests primarily on short-term securities with maturity of less than 1 year. It is tagged with a risk classification of Conservative.

Note: The data shown in the table below are based on the performance reports from UITF.com.ph – listing the 5 highest performing money market funds from February 2023 – February 2024 (YOY). We will be updating this table on a quarterly basis.

BankFund Name1YR ROI (%)
Manulife Investment Management and Trust CorporationManulife Money Market Fund (Class I)+5.43%
China Banking CorporationChinaBank Money Market Fund+5.15%
Security Bank CorporationSB Peso Cash Management Fund+4.95%

Best UITF Feeder Funds for 2024

A UITF Feeder Fund invests at least 90% of its assets in a single collective investment scheme.

Note: The data shown in the table below are based on the performance reports from UITF.com.ph – listing the 5 highest performing money market funds from February 2023 – February 2024 (YOY). We will be updating this table on a quarterly basis.

BankFund NameYTD ROI (%)
Manulife Investment Management and Trust CorporationManulife Global Technology Equity Feeder Fund (Php Unhedged Class A)+44.32%
Manulife Investment Management and Trust CorporationManulife India Equity Feeder Fund (Php Unhedged Class A)+32.37%
Manulife Investment Management and Trust CorporationManulife American Growth Equity Feeder Fund (Php Unhedged Class I)+26.28%

How to Start Investing in UITF

Compared to stocks, which require you to make your own selection on the company shares-level, investing in UITF only requires that you pick a fund based on your risk appetite.

The fund manager will take care of making decisions on where to put your money based on the fund’s strategy.

This makes pooled investments (like mutual funds & UITF) look more ideal to “passive investors” who don’t necessarily need or want to make the investment decisions themselves.

It takes a lot of the guesswork out of the equation so that all you need to do upon setting up an account is to monitor it and put in more funds.

Want to get started? Learn how to invest and grow your money.


List of UITF Member Banks

AB CapitalAsia United BankATRAM Trust Corporation
Bank of CommerceBDO Unibank, Inc.BPI Wealth
China Banking CorporationCTBC Bank (Philippines) Corp.Development Bank of the Philippines
EastWest Banking CorporationLandBank of the PhilippinesManulife Asset Management and Trust Corporation (MAMTC)
Metropolitan Bank & Trust Co.Philippine Bank of CommunicationsPhilippine Business Bank
Philippine National BankPhilippine Savings BankRCBC Savings
Rizal Commercial Banking CorporationRobinsons BankSecurity Bank Corporation
Sterling Bank of AsiaUnion BankUnited Coconut Planters Bank
AIA Investment Management and Trust Corporation Philippines

How to Open a UITF Account in the Philippines?

Since UITFs are offered by banks, simply drop by the nearest branch of your choice.

Bank personnel specializing in their UITF products will assist you and have you complete a Client Suitability Assessment form. Most banks allow you to do the assessment and download the required forms from their website. You’ll still need to physically submit them though.

After choosing your fund, completing all requirements, and receiving your certificate of participation, you may begin funding your account. Initial deposits start at Php 5,000.


UITF Investing Tips

Like all investments, UITFs carry risks, and it’s important to invest money that you don’t need immediately. Being well-informed and strategic can help you maximize the potential benefits of your UITF investments.

Below are some tips that can help guide you in your investing journey:

1. Understand What UITFs Are

UITFs are pooled funds managed by experts from a bank or a trust company. Your money is combined with that of other investors to invest in a variety of assets like stocks, bonds, and other securities.

2. Know Your Risk Tolerance

Assess your risk appetite. UITFs come in various forms, ranging from conservative (like bond funds) to aggressive (like equity funds). Choose a fund that matches your risk tolerance and investment horizon.

3. Set Clear Investment Goals

Define your financial goals. Are you saving for retirement, a major purchase, or building an emergency fund? Your goals will determine the type of UITF that’s best for you.

4. Research Before Investing

Look into the performance history of the UITF, the credibility of the managing institution, and the fund’s investment strategy.

Remember, past performance is not an indicator of future results, but it can give you an idea of how the fund is managed.

5. Diversify Your Portfolio

Don’t put all your money in one UITF. Consider investing in different types of funds to diversify your portfolio and spread risk.

6. Understand the Fees

Be aware of the fees associated with UITFs, such as management fees, early redemption fees, and others. High fees can eat into your returns over time.

7. Regularly Monitor Your Investments

Keep an eye on your UITF investments and the market. This will help you understand how different factors affect your investment.

8. Consider the Time Horizon

Invest with a long-term perspective. UITFs can fluctuate in the short term but typically stabilize with good returns over the long term.

9. Consult with Financial Advisors

If you’re unsure, seek advice from a financial advisor. They can provide personalized advice based on your financial situation and goals.

10. Keep Emotions in Check

Avoid making impulsive decisions based on short-term market fluctuations. Stick to your investment plan and goals.

11. Stay Informed

Keep yourself educated about economic and market trends, as these can impact the performance of your UITFs.


UITF Investing FAQs

Still got questions about UITFs? We’ll answer them below.

What are the pros and cons of investing in UITFs?

Investing in Unit Investment Trust Funds (UITFs) offers several advantages and some drawbacks. Understanding these can help you make an informed decision about whether UITFs are suitable for your investment portfolio.

Pros of Investing in UITFs:

1. Professional Management

UITFs are managed by professional fund managers who make investment decisions based on extensive research and market analysis, beneficial for investors who lack the time or expertise to manage their own investments.

2. Diversification

UITFs invest in a variety of assets, which helps spread risk. This diversification can protect against significant losses that might occur if all money were invested in a single asset or asset type.

3. Accessibility

Most UITFs have relatively low minimum investment requirements, making them accessible to a wide range of investors, including those with limited capital.

4. Liquidity

UITFs typically offer higher liquidity compared to other investment types, like real estate. Investors can usually redeem their investment relatively quickly if needed.

5. Transparency

UITFs provide regular updates on fund performance and holdings, allowing investors to track their investment’s progress and understand where their money is invested.

6. Potential for Higher Returns

Compared to traditional savings accounts or time deposits, UITFs can offer higher potential returns, though this comes with higher risk.

Cons of Investing in UITFs:

1. Market Risk

Like any market-linked investment, UITFs are subject to market volatility. The value of your investment can fluctuate depending on market conditions.

2. No Guaranteed Returns

Unlike fixed-income investments, UITFs do not offer guaranteed returns. The performance of the fund is subject to how well the underlying assets perform.

3. Management Fees and Charges

UITFs come with management fees and other charges that can impact overall returns. It’s important to understand these fees before investing.

4. Potential for Losses

While diversification reduces risk, it does not eliminate it. There’s always a potential for loss, especially in the short term or in aggressive funds.

5. Requires Trust and Reliance on Fund Managers

Investors must rely on the expertise and decisions of the fund managers, which may not always align with their own investment strategies or expectations.

6. Influence of Economic and Political Factors

UITFs can be affected by economic and political developments, both locally and globally, which can impact investment performance.

When considering UITFs, it’s important to align your investment choices with your financial goals, risk tolerance, and investment horizon.

As with any investment, there’s no one-size-fits-all answer, and it’s often beneficial to consult with a financial advisor to determine the best strategy for your individual circumstances.


How are mutual funds and UITFs taxed?

Just like other forms of investments, UITFs are subject to a 20% withholding tax on capital gains


How often can I buy and sell UITF units?

Some UITFs are subject to a minimum holding period so if you want to redeem it early, you need to pay a fee.

That said, it’s advised to sell your investments only when you reach your investment goals or if you want to switch your investment strategy.


What fees are associated with UITF investing?

Investing in Unit Investment Trust Funds (UITFs) involves various fees and charges that can impact your overall returns. Here are the common fees associated with UITFs:

Management Fees This is the fee charged by the fund manager for managing the investment. It’s usually a percentage of the fund’s net asset value (NAV) and is deducted daily. The fee covers the costs of investment research, fund management decisions, and administrative expenses.
Sales Load or Front-End Load This is a fee charged at the time of your initial investment. It’s a percentage of your investment amount and is paid when you buy units in the fund. Some UITFs charge this fee to cover the costs of selling the fund to investors.
Redemption Fee or Back-End LoadThis fee is charged when you redeem, or withdraw, your investment from the fund. It’s typically a percentage of the redemption amount and can decrease over time, often reaching zero if you hold your investment for a longer period.
Switching Fee If the UITF allows switching between different funds within the same fund family, a switching fee may be charged for this service.
Trust Fee or Custodian FeeThis fee is for the safekeeping of the fund’s assets and ensuring that the investment complies with regulatory requirements.
Audit and Legal Fees Some UITFs may pass on audit and legal fees to investors. These are related to the fund’s annual audit and legal consultations.
Early Redemption FeeIf you redeem your investment before a specified period, you may be charged an early redemption fee. This is to discourage short-term trading and to cover the fund’s costs associated with managing short-term investments.
Performance FeeRarely, some UITFs may charge a performance fee if the fund’s return exceeds a certain benchmark or target.

It’s important to carefully read the UITF’s prospectus or key information and investment disclosure statement (KIIDS) to understand the specific fees associated with the fund.

These documents provide detailed information on all applicable fees and charges. The overall impact of these fees on your investment returns can be significant, especially over the long term, so it’s crucial to consider them when choosing a UITF.

Disclaimer: All information listed in this article is for information purposes only. Although utmost effort was made to ensure accuracy of information on this website, readers must not solely rely on it in making any investment or financial decision since it does not take into consideration the risk tolerance, financial situation, investment goals, and experience of readers. It is best to consult a professional financial planner or your bank before investing to make a more informed choice and limit your risk exposure.

About jasonacidre

Jason Acidre is the publisher & head of digital content strategy at Grit PH.

He is a serial tech entrepreneur, organic digital consultant, and a financial literacy advocate in the Philippines. In 2011, he started his first venture, a digital marketing agency that specializes in technical SEO, content marketing, and digital PR. The business started with an initial capital of P1,500 - that eventually grew and generated $1.5 million in revenue in 2016.

Over the past decade, his team has worked with several Fortune/Inc. 500 brands as well as some of the most highly-valued startups in the world. Helping drive millions of traffic, sales, and revenue to their websites.

Along with the team at Grit PH, his current goal is to help 1,000,000 Filipinos identify and achieve their own "true success".

Education: University of Santo Tomas (Undergraduate, Civil Engineering)
Focus: Digital Marketing, Entrepreneurship, Investing & Personal Finance

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