What are Listed Investment Companies (LICs)?

Content Producer · 14 September 2021
With over a hundred Listed Investment Companies (LICs) on the ASX it may be worth taking the time to get to know them better. Here are the ins and outs of LICs.

How do LICs work?

A LIC is a company on the share market whose business is to invest in other companies on the share market and grow their share portfolio. By investing in LICs you’ll have a team that actively manages your money and the value of the LIC is reflected in how successful the company is at investing.

Generally, LICs will look for the companies that meet a specific mandate based on an array of things, like dividend yield. Therefore, each one will invest in different assets and have different strategies. For example, one of the most renowned LICs is Warren Buffet’s Berkshire Hathaway which is likely to take the value investing approach when it comes to deciding on shares to buy.

LICs vs. ETFs

LICs are similar to exchange traded funds (ETFs) in many ways. They are both investment funds that can be bought and sold on the share market. However, LICs offer shares to investors whereas ETFs issue units. Another key difference is LICs are only ever actively managed, ETFs, on the other hand, are offered as both a passive and an active investment.

LICs- Listed Investment Companies

What are the pros and cons of investing in LICs?


There are a few advantages to investing in LICs. They tend to be a low-cost option, with the fees generally less than what you’d encounter with a managed fund. LICs also tends to offer an easy point of access to a diverse range of products, as well as a variety of investment strategies. Income investors can also find LICs that offer dividends and typically they make reinvesting your dividends relatively easy – allowing you to make the most of compound interest.


On the flip side, there are a number of downsides to consider as well. Investor should be aware that LICs don’t tend to show huge growth in a short amount of time. Generally, they are best treated as long term-investments. There is also a market risk to consider. As LICs tend to mirror the stock market, when the market is down generally LICs will be too. Sometimes, liquidity is another issues investors face with LICs. As LICs don’t have a market maker, (a firm or individual who buys and sells particular securities to ensure liquidity and maintain fairness in the market) before an investor can sell their LIC  they have to wait for a buyer and vice versa if they were looking to buy.

How to buy LICs

Just like ordinary shares, you can buy or sell LICs on the ASX, through a broker or an online share trader.

Compare Online Share Trading Accounts with Canstar

If you’re comparing online share trading companies, the comparison table below displays some of the companies available on Canstar’s database with links to providers’ websites. The information displayed is based on an average of six trades per month. Please note the table is sorted by Star Rating (highest to lowest), followed by provider name (alphabetical). Use Canstar’s Online Share Trading comparison selector to view a wider range of online share trading companies. Canstar may earn a fee for referrals.

Before you invest

Before making an investment, it’s important to thoroughly research and understand what you’re investing in. Take the time to properly read the key paperwork, such as the PDS and annual reports. Keeping up-to-date with investment news may also be helpful, as a good investment today may not be so in the future.

Cover image source: Harry Beugelink/Shutterstock

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