Collective Investment Trusts

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A Collective Investment Trust (CIT) is a pooled group of trust accounts operated by a trust company or a bank. Collective Investment Trusts combine the assets of various individuals and organizations to create a larger, well-diversified portfolio. [1] Many individual employees encounter CITs through their investment in employer provided contributory retirement plans. There are two types of CITs:

  • A1 Fund: A fund of grouped assets contributed by either the holding bank or affiliated banks for the exclusive purpose of investment and reinvestment. These funds are usually called Collective Investment Funds.
  • A2 Fund: A fund of grouped assets contributed by pension, profit sharing, retirement, or other trusts that are exempt from federal income tax. This is the plan type that most employees encounter.[1]

CITs are not regulated by the Investment Company Act of 1940 but are regulated by the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (“OCC”) and subject to oversight by the Internal Revenue Service (“IRS”) and the Department of Labor (“DOL”). [2]


CITs date back to 1927. In 1936 Congress amended the Internal Revenue Service Code to provide tax-exempt status to certain bank CITS. In 1955 the Federal Reserve authorized banks to combine funds from pensions, profit sharing and stock bonus plans and the IRS determined that such funds could be exempt from tax. As a result, CITs became the popular choice for defined benefit plans. In 2000 the National Securities Clearing Corporation (“NSCC”) added CITs to its mutual fund trading platform, allowing CITs to trade daily and as fluidly as mutual funds. [2]

Qualifying plans

The following pension plans are eligible to invest in CITs:

  1. Qualified 401(k) plans
  2. Qualified profit sharing plans
  3. Qualified stock bonus plans
  4. Qualified pension plans
  5. 401(a) government plans
  6. 457(b) government plans
  7. Certain separate accounts and contracts of insurance companies [2]


  1. 1.0 1.1 definition, investopedia
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 The Re-Emergence of Collective Investment Trust Funds, National Association of Government Defined Contribution Administrators, Inc.

External links

Selective list of CIT management firms