I am a huge fan of mutual funds for many reasons, like professional management for instance. There are teams on analysts that do a lot of research before the fund invests into a company, like interview the officers, the managers, even call the suppliers to evaluate the companies reliability to get the resources needed to make profits, partnerships, and so forth. All of this is done because instead of investing say $100k as an individual investor the mutual fund might invest a $100 million plus. Keep in mind its not the dollar figure that I mentioned that is important but the concept, professional managers usually spend a lot more quality time doing their homework.
Some other advantages of mutual funds are.
Low cost to start investing, some of my clients who still teenagers start at $50 a month, and the neat thing is their $50 bucks is managed the same was as the guy who has $5 million in his account. Now that is awesome.
Mutual funds are usually better diversified than average portfolios.
Also Mutual funds are highly liquid which means that your money that is invested is readily available. If you have saved up $50k in there and need money fast you can have that money wired to you within a couple of days or you can have check writing or debit card privileges for your account. That is very good too.