A segregated fund is an investment fund that combines the growth potential of a mutual fund with the security of a life insurance policy. Segregated funds are often referred to as "mutual funds with an insurance policy wrapper".
Like mutual funds, segregated funds consist of a pool of investments in securities such as bonds, debentures, and stocks. The value of the segregated fund fluctuates according to the market value of the underlying securities.
Segregated funds do not issue units or shares, therefore a segregated fund investor is not referred to as a unit holder. Instead, the investor is the holder of a segregated fund contract. Contracts can be registered (held inside an RRSP), or non-registered (not held inside an RRSP). Registered investments qualify for annual tax-sheltered RRSP contributions. Non-registered investments are subject to tax payments on the capital gains each year, but capital losses can also be claimed.