Another reason to stay shy from high short-term performance is that this attracts more assets to the fund. A smaller amount of money is easier to manage than larger amounts. Think of a small boat that can easily navigate the shifting market waters. More investors mean more money, which makes for a larger boat to navigate.
The fund that had a great year is not the same fund it once was and should not be expected to perform the same in the future.
In fact, large increases in assets can be quite damaging to a fund's prospects for future performance. This is why good fund managers close funds to future investors; they can't navigate the markets as easy with too much money to manage.
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Talk to 10 investment advisors and you'll likely get 10 different answers about what time periods are most important to analyze to determine which fund is best from a performance perspective. Most will warn that short-term performance 1 year or less won't tell you much about how the fund will perform in the future.
In fact, even the best mutual fund managers are expected to have at least one bad year out of three. Actively-managed funds require managers to take calculated risks to outperform their benchmarks. Therefore, one year of poor performance may just indicate that the manager's stock or bond selections have not had time to achieve expected results. Just as some fund managers are bound to have a bad year from time to time, fund managers are also bound to do better in certain economic environments, and hence extended time frames of up to three years, better than others.
For example, perhaps a fund manager has a solid conservative investment philosophy that leads to higher relative performance during poor economic conditions but lower relative performance in good economic conditions. The fund performance could look strong or weak now but what may occur over the next 2 or 3 years? Considering the fact that fund management styles come in and out of favor and the fact that market conditions are constantly changing, it is wise to judge a fund manager's skills, and hence a particular mutual fund's performance, by looking at time periods that span across differing economic environments.
For example, most economic cycles a full cycle consisting of both recessionary and growth periods are 5 to 7 years in time duration.
Also, over the course of most 5- to 7-year periods, there is at least one year where the economy was weak or in recession and stock markets responded negatively. And during that same 5 to 7-year period there is likely at least 4 or 5 years where the economy and markets are positive. If you are analyzing a mutual fund and its 5-year return ranks higher than most funds in its category, you have a fund worth exploring further. Common time periods for mutual fund performance available to investors include the 1-year, 3-year, 5-year and year returns.
If you were to give heavier weights more emphasis to the most relevant performance periods and lower weights less emphasis to the less relevant performance periods, your humble mutual fund guide suggests weighting the 5-year heaviest, followed by the year, then 3-year and 1-year last. For example, you could create your own evaluation system based upon percentage weights. You can then multiply the percentage weights by each corresponding return for the given time periods and average the totals. You can then compare funds to each other.
The simple way to do this is to use one of the best mutual fund research sites and do your search based upon 5-year returns, then look at the other returns once you've found some with good potential. WebBroker Online Investing. Accounts EasyWeb - Accounts. Payments EasyWeb - Payments. Transfers EasyWeb - Transfers. Investments EasyWeb - Investments. New to Online Banking? Register Learn more.
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