Brigitte Werfel February 18, 2020 Mutual Fund
SEC Chairman Arthur levitt, Jr. warned of growing unfairness in the relationship between individual investors and mutual funds in January 2001. Mr. Levitt made the following comment: "THERE ARE A NUMBER OF INSTANCES THAT, QUITE FRANKLY, DO NOT HONOR AN INVESTOR`S RIGHTS. INSTANCES WHERE...HIDDEN COSTS HURT AN INVESTORS BOTTOM LINE, WHERE SPIN AND HYPE MAKSE THE TRUE PERFORMANCE OF A MUTUAL FUND, AND WHRE ACCOUNTING TRICKS AND SLEIGHT OF HAND DRESS UP A FUND`S FINANCIAL RESULTS"
Dismiss recent results Past performance is no indicator of future results. No truer words could ever be spoken and they are included in every mutual fund advertisement. But it is extremely difficult to ignore these numbers which the fund companies conveniently place in big bold letters - immediately above the fine print warning us. Nothing is more attractive than a fund with a great record, especially given the dismal performance in the market.
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.
Watch for a solid record of returns, rather than funds showing spurts of great years followed by fits of lousy ones. Compare the funds returns to a relevant benchmark index, (large-cap vs. S&P 500, small-cap to the Russell Index, etc.) Solid funds should not only consistently beat the benchmarks, they should also beat their peers.