Sophie Moench February 25, 2020 Mutual Fund
Because these funds are not actively managed, you cannot weed out under-performing securities from the overall index. This can and does have a detrimental effect on your returns. If market conditions warrant action, index funds usually will not be altered unless it happens to coincide with their regular re-balancing schedule.
The main advantage of active management is that quality managers use their experience, analytical skills and economic research to help find undervalued investments that are ready to out perform the market. They can focus their buying on the areas that they find most attractive and sell or avoid those that are under-performing. An active manager can take advantage of market dips to buy or sell as necessary which can add value to your investment.
Make sure the management team has not changed by the way. You do not want to pay for fabulous past results only to find out there is a new portfolio manager in town running your mutual fund. Watch out for the fad funds by the way. By the time an entire mutual fund sector is hot, and ripping up the charts with performance, it is too late 90% of the time, for you to be an investor. You do not want start becoming an investor in gold as it passes $1200 per ounce. That is the time you want to be thinking about exiting, not entering.
Sometimes it is just a lot easier to pick fabulous mutual funds, and let professional money managers make the individual stock selections for you. If you go this route, and for many it is the way to go, than I suggest your big decisions are what sectors you want to invest in, and what are your asset allocations. Sounds like fancy language, but really it is not. It is just plain common sense investing. What is your aversion to risk? Do you want to embrace investment risk, or do you seek to encounter as little risk as possible.
In his book "The Trouble With Mutual Funds," Richard Rutner shares that "No one denies that the average mutual fund returns 2% less per year than the stock market returns in general. Yet the mutual fund industry spends billions of shareholder dollars to promote its money managers as experts who can manage investor`s dollars with skill. The vast majority of mutual funds (94% according to a recent five-year survey by Lipper Analytical Services) have underperformed the stock market as a whole."
Along with the increased buying and selling activities of an active manager comes a higher expense charge for those trading and management costs. Most actively managed funds have a 50 to 100% higher operating expense ratio than the average index fund. If you are not getting better returns, this can cost plenty over time. Also if your quality manager leaves the fund, you may need to find a better alternative.