Secrets To Smart Mutual Fund Investing

Lessons From The Intelligent Investor

Lessons From The Intelligent Investor

If you're like a lot of people watching the recession unfold, you have likely started to look at your finances under a microscope. Perhaps you have started saving the annual savings rate by people has started to recover a bit.

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Lowest Cost No Load Mutual Funds And Etfs

This inexpensive ebook will help you in three main ways: It will improve your understanding of investing by summarizing what the research literature actually says does and does not work when investing. It conveniently provides a directory of the lowest cost, diversified no load mutual funds and Etfs available to US investors for direct investing. The book lists over 200 lowest cost, no load mutual funds in 30 global, international, and US stock, bond, real estate, and money market fund asset category tables. It also lists the over 200 lowest cost Etfs in 29 global, international, and US stock, bond, and real estate asset category tables. All these low cost funds are screened from the universe of available funds using objective factors supported by university research and discussed in this ebook. This ebook helps you to put your investing strategy on autopilot. Increase diversification, lower risks, and reduce investment costs, so that you can save a lot of money and time year after year after year.

Lowest Cost No Load Mutual Funds And Etfs Summary


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Create Your Own ETF Hedge Fund

Additional Praise for Create Your Own ETF Hedge Fund ''In Create Your Own ETF Hedge Fund, Dave Fry channels his vast industry experience and keen insight into a practical and useful guide that will help investors effectively use ETFs as building blocks for their investment portfolios. Fry's description of how the markets developed along with the evolution of the participants and their incentives provides the context to further understand the relative effectiveness of ETFs, why ETFs have experienced such accelerated growth, and positive long-term prospects for the ETF industry and the investors who use them.'' Kevin Rich, CEO, DB Commodity Services LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Deutsche Bank AG Own ETF Hedge Fund J

Hedge Fund Due Diligence

Professional Tools to Investigate Hedge Fund Managers Hedge fund due diligence Professional tools to investigate hedge fund managers by Randy Shain. p. cm. - (Wiley finance series) Includes bibliographical references and index. ISBN 978-0-470-13977-6 (cloth website) 1. Hedge funds. I. Title. HG4530.S485 2008 332.64'524-dc22

The Why and Hout of Mutual Funds

I take you through the investing basics. If you don't understand the different types of investments that funds are made of, such as stocks and bonds, you won't fully understand funds. Part I defines and demystifies what mutual funds are and discusses what funds are good for and when you should consider alternatives. Before you're even ready to start investing in funds, your personal finances need to be in order, so in Part I, I give you some financial house-cleaning tips. You also discover the importance of fitting mutual funds to your financial goals. After your finances are shipshape and you've identified your goals, you are ready to find out how to pick great funds, how to avoid losers, where and how to purchase funds, and how to read all those pesky reports (such as prospectuses and annual reports) that fund companies stuff in your mailbox. Part I touches all these bases.

Brief History Of Hedge Funds

The first hedge fund was established in 1949, the Jones Hedge Fund. Alfred Win-slow Jones established a fund that invested in U.S. stocks, both long and short. Jones operated in relative obscurity until an article was published in Fortune magazine that spotlighted the Jones Hedge Fund.2 The interest in Jones' product was large, and within two years a survey conducted by the SEC established that the number of hedge funds had grown from one to 140. Unfortunately, many hedge funds were liquidated during the bear market of the early 1970s, and the industry did not regain any interest until the end of the 1980s. The appeal of hedge funds increased tremendously in the 1990s. By 1998, the President's Working Group on Financial Markets estimated that there were up to 3,500 hedge funds with 300 billion in capital and up to 1 trillion in total assets.3 Compare this size to mutual funds, where the amount of total assets was 5 trillion in 1998. Therefore, the hedge fund industry is about 20 of...

Hedge Fund Strategies

In Chapter 1 we indicated that hedge funds invest in the same equity and fixed income securities as traditional long-only managers. Therefore, it is not the alternative assets in which hedge funds invest that differentiates them from long-only managers, but rather, it is the alternative investment strategies that they pursue. In this section we review several alternative strategies that hedge funds apply. In general, some hedge funds have considerable exposure to the financial markets. This would be the long short, global macro hedge fund or short selling players. Other hedge funds take little market exposure, but use leverage to magnify the size of their bets. These are the arbitrage hedge funds. Last there are hedge fund strategies that take little credit or market risk. These are the market neutral and market timing strategies.

Mutual Funds An Investment

At their most basic, mutual funds are an investment. I know that, but please bear with me. I don't want to make the mistake that I see so many investment writers (and financial advisors) make starting with the more advanced stuff on the assumption that you know the basics. So often I hear from people reading about mutual funds and complaining that a writer starts throwing around terms such as small cap value stock fund and asset allocation without explaining them, and before you know it, you're lost in the weeds and frustrated. You have every right to be. If you already understand what stocks and bonds are, their risks and potential returns, terrific. You can skip this chapter. Most people, however, don't really understand the basics of investments, and that's one of the major reasons that people make investment mistakes in the first place. If you understand the specific types of securities that funds can invest in, you've mastered one of the important building blocks to understanding...

The Mutual Fund Industry Expands

Over the next few decades, the mutual fund industry continued to expand. During the 1950s, some 50 new funds were introduced. By 1954, the financial markets overcame its 1929 peak, and interest by a new generation of post-World War II investors emerged. The 1960s saw more investors coming into the marketplace as companies like Merrill Lynch, Pierce, Fenner, and Smith opened local offices on every street corner. Hundreds of new funds were established and billions of dollars in new asset inflows. A bear market in 1969 cooled the public's appetite for stocks, and the reversal of fortune ended the industry's enthusiasm for issuing new funds. Money flowed out of mutual funds as quickly as investors could redeem their shares. Crisis breeds innovation in the financial markets, and in the early 1970s, wise investors noticed that the performance of most mutual funds were lower than the return of the stock market. Investment costs became an important element of expected return. The concept of...

Preface Of Mutual Fund

Cept of accountability for full disclosure of material information, together with fair trading practices, with the intent of protecting unsophisticated investors who were inadequately prepared to look after themselves. However, from the very beginnings of key legislation, notably the Securities Act of 1933 and the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, there were exemptions from the disclosure laws for sophisticated investors who were thought not to need them. Government securities (including municipal bonds) were exempt from Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) registration so were securities of government agencies and certain bank stocks. Corporate securities had to be registered only if they were to be offered through public distributions. If not, they could be sold to sophisticated investors as private placements without complying with the disclosure rules. Mutual funds sold to public investors had to be registered, but private investment funds investing in venture capital,...

The First Exchange Traded Funds

In the wake of the market crash of 1987, and by request of the law firm of Leland, O'Brien and Rubinstein (LOR), the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission started reviewing and rewriting securities regulations to make way for a new type of exchange-traded vehicle. In 1990, the SEC issued the Investment Company Act Release No. 17809, which ultimately paved the way for the formation of mutual funds that allowed for share creation and redemption during the day. Specifically, the Release No. 17809 granted LOR the right to create and file for a new security called a ''SuperTrust.'' The product was an index fund of sorts designed to give institutional investors the ability to buy or sell an entire basket of S&P 500 stocks in one trade on a stock exchange. The SuperTrust structure had the share creation and redemption characteristics of an open-end fund and the trading flexibility of a closed-end fund. SPDRs also filled a big void in the brokerage industry. Stockbrokers needed a way to...

Some Tips to Consider When Looking for a Good Mutual Fund to Use for Systematic Withdrawal Programs

To begin with, selecting an actively managed mutual fund over an index fund is highly recommended. In the short term, an index fund may have higher return figures, but long term, an actively managed fund that has managers at the helm would be your best bet. Economic conditions change quickly and having a fund manager who can take advantage of changing market conditions makes the most sense. An actively managed fund could shift into smaller company stocks or vary its percentage invested in various segments of the markets. Look for an experienced fund manager and management group with a proven fund track record. A fund that has seen down markets and survived those tough times could go a long way in keeping you on track to your financial goals. Likewise, the American Funds are good choices because several portfolio managers actively manage them. This method is called the multiple manager approach. They have an average of at least five investment managers per fund. They typically have...

The Mother Of All Mutual Fund Scandals

One thing is clear The mutual fund industry operates on a double standard. Certain companies and individuals have been given the opportunity to manipulate the system. They make illegal after-hours trades and improperly exploit market swings in ways that harm long-term investors. Aside from the litany of abuses already listed, the most publicized scandal was the so-called market timing'' affair that rocked the mutual fund industry further from 2002 to 2005. As was mentioned previously the consequences have been more than 2 billion in fines meted out to a variety of well-known brokerage firms, mutual funds, and hedge funds. Not many people realize that using mutual funds for ''market-timing'' strategies had been a long-standing practice among a small group of specialized asset managers, and a larger group of registered investment advisors handling client accounts. The constant skirmishing between these traders and mutual funds was a major contributing factor in the emergence of now...

Establishing a Hedge Fund Investment Program

The hedge fund market has demonstrated tremendous growth over the past decade. The amount invested in this market has grown from an estimated 50 billion in 1990 to 362 billion in 1999. However, the hedge fund market is highly fragmented. Conservative estimates put the number of hedge funds at over 2500 funds, with less than 20 funds managing 3 billion or more.1 The fragmented nature of the hedge fund market creates both opportunities and hazards for new investors in this arena. This chapter addresses the opportunities associated with hedge funds. We will discuss the hazards in later chapters. We begin with a review of the research on hedge funds where we address questions regarding the benefits of hedge funds within an investment portfolio, whether their performance is persistent, and whether hedge funds undermine the financial markets. We then consider the investment strategies that may be applicable to hedge funds.

The Hedge Fund Industry

The term hedge fund has recently become a household word. Originally only high net worth individuals could buy into them and regulators saw no urgency in regulating or registering them. This is the first characteristic of hedge funds. The second characteristic has to do with their investment practices. Most registered mutual funds have essentially two choices They could either go long in the stated asset class or stay in cash. Often there is a limit on the latter. Thus, mutual funds have no room for maneuver during bear markets. Hedge funds on the other hand were unregulated and could short the markets. This was perceived at that time to be the hedge for a down market, hence the term hedge fund emerged. The third difference is less well known. While traditional mutual funds normally only offer relative returns, hedge funds aim to offer absolute returns on an investment. For example traditional funds set for themselves stock or bond market benchmarks and then measure their performance...

Hedge Fund Investment Strategy

The above discussion demonstrates that hedge funds can expand the investment opportunity set for investors. The question now becomes What is to be accomplished by the hedge fund investment program The strategy may be simply a search for an additional source of return. Conversely, it may be for risk management purposes. Whatever its purpose, an investment plan for hedge funds may consider one of four strategies. Hedge funds may be selected on an opportunistic basis, as a hedge fund of funds, as part of a joint venture, or as an absolute return strategy. 22 See Stephen Brown, William Goetzmann, and James Park, Hedge Funds and the Asian Currency Crisis, The Journal of Portfolio Management (Summer 2000), pp. 95-101. 23 See William Fung and David Hsieh, Measuring the Market Impact of Hedge Funds, The Journal of Empirical Finance (2001).

An example of the use of a simple ttest to test a theory in finance can US mutual funds beat the market

Jensen (1968) was the first to systematically test the performance of mutual funds, and in particular examine whether any 'beat the market'. He used a sample of annual returns on the portfolios of 115 mutual funds from 1945-64. Each of the 115 funds was subjected to a separate OLS time series regression of the form

What Makes the Hedge Fund Manager so Smart

Before investing money with a hedge fund manager, an investor must determine one of the following. The hedge fund manager must be able to demonstrate that he or she is smarter than the next manager. One way to be smarter than another hedge fund manager is to have superior skill in filtering information. That is, the hedge fund manager must be able to look at the same information set as another manager but be able to glean more investment insight from that data set. Alternatively, if the hedge fund manager is not smarter than the next manager, he must demonstrate that he has a better information set his competitive advantage is not filtering information, but gathering it. To be successful, a hedge fund manager must demonstrate one or both of these competitive advantages. Generally speaking, quantitative, computer-driven managers satisfy the first criteria. That is, hedge fund managers that run computer models access the same information set as everyone else, but have better (smarter)...

In Recent Years Large Financial Institutions Such As Mutual Funds And Pension Funds Have Been Becoming The Dominant

Agency Problems and Corporate Ownership Corporate ownership varies around the world. Historically, individuals have owned the majority of shares in public corporations in the United States. In Germany and Japan, however, banks, other large financial institutions, and other companies own most of the stock in public corporations. Do you think agency problems are likely to be more or less severe in Germany and Japan than in the United States Why In recent years, large financial institutions such as mutual funds and pension funds have been becoming the dominant owners of stock in the United States, and these institutions are becoming more active in corporate affairs. What are the implications of this trend for agency problems and corporate control

In Practice Index Funds and Market Portfolios

Many critics of the capital asset pricing model seize on its conclusion that all investors in the market will hold the market portfolio, which includes all assets in proportion to their market value, as evidence that it is an unrealistic model. But is it It is true that not all assets in the world are traded and that there are transactions costs. It is also true that investors sometimes trade on inside information and often hold undiversified portfolios. However, we can create portfolios that closely resemble the market portfolio using index funds. An index fund replicates an index by buying all of the stocks in the index, in the same proportions that they form of the index. The earliest and still the largest one is the Vanguard 500 Index fund, which replicates the S&P 500 index. Today, we have access to index funds that replicate smaller companies in the United States, European stocks, Latin American markets and Asian equities as well as bond and commodity markets An investor can...

Hedge Fund Manager Organization

First, the basics Where is the hedge fund manager located, are there any satellite offices, and where is the nearest office to the investor These questions can be very important if the hedge fund manager operates overseas and there are significant time differences between the manager's business hours and that of the investor. Second, an organization chart is mandatory. Who is the Chief Executive Officer, the Chief Investment Officer, and Chief Operating Officer A warning It is not a good business plan if they are all the same person. Hedge fund managers should do what they do best invest money and leave the operating details to someone else. Of special importance is the Chief Financial Officer. The CFO will be the investor's most important link with the hedge fund manager after an investment is made because the CFO will be responsible for reporting the hedge fund manager's performance numbers. Consequently, the investor should make certain that the CFO has strong background in...

Face Off Mutual Funds Versus Individual Securities

According to a recent slew of books, newsletters, and magazine articles, (stock) mutual funds are not the place to be. They're boring, conservative, and totally unsexy. An amateur who devotes a small amount of study to companies in an industry he or she knows something about can outperform 95 percent of the paid experts who manage mutual funds, plus have fun in doing it. - Peter Lynch, Beating the Street

Managed Investment Alternatives to Mutual Funds

The unbelievably wide variety of mutual funds enables you to invest in everything from short-term money market securities to corporate bonds, U.S. and international stocks, precious metals companies, and even real estate. Although mutual funds can fill many investing needs as I discuss in Chapter 1 you may be interested in and benefit from directly investing in things such as real estate, your own business, and many other investments. Other types of privately managed investment accounts exist that have some things in common with mutual funds.

Is Hedge Fund Performance Persistent

This is the age-old question with respect to all asset managers, not just hedge funds Can the manager repeat her good performance This issue, though, is par 13 See Brown, Goetzmann, and Ibbotson, Offshore Hedge Funds Survival and Performance, 1989-1995, and Schneeweis and Spurgin, Multifactor Analysis of Hedge Fund, Managed Futures, and Mutual Fund Return and Risk Characteristics. 14 See Goldman, Sachs & Co. and Financial Risk Management Ltd., The Hedge Fund Industry and Absolute Return Funds and Hedge Funds Revisited and Mark Anson, Financial Market Dislocations and Hedge Fund Returns, working paper, 2001. 15 See The New York Times, Hedge Fund Industry Creates a Dinosaur The Macro Manager, May 6, 2000, Section B. ticularly acute for the hedge fund marketplace because hedge fund managers often claim that the source of their returns is skill-based rather than dependent upon general financial market conditions. Unfortunately, the existing evidence is mixed, and there is no clear...

Lower Mutual Funds Fees with Hard Nosed Negotiation

Action We switched from a mutual fund that tracks the S&P 500 with an annual fee of 35 basis points to a common trust that the same provider offers that is priced at a fee of 20 basis points per year. We discovered this option only when we asked if any institutional pricing was available for a plan of our size. The provider told us only when we complained that its S&P 500 index fund was twice as expensive as Vanguard's. Controller, real estate, 1,600 employees, Maryland.

Build a Portfolio of Mutual Funds

Investing in more than one mutual fund is a great way to diversify your portfolio. But the question always remains How many mutual funds are too many Like a nervous five-year-old taking swimming lessons for the very first time, just getting your feet wet is a better beginning than jumping straight into the deep end. Getting your feet wet doesn't necessarily mean putting all of your money in low-risk mutual funds. That strategy would not be practicing diversification, and you wouldn't be lowering your risk. Low-risk funds may have a lot in cash periodically, which may not be what you want when you diversify. You lower your risk by mixing stock funds, bond funds, U.S. and overseas funds, and money market funds. Diversification offers the idea that a gain in one fund offsets losses in another. In financial mumbo jumbo, you should create a portfolio of funds that have a low core correlation with one another. keeping liquid (safe). This will help you decide how risk-tolerant you are....

Assume You Have All Your Wealth A Million Dollars Invested In The Vanguard 500 Index Fund And That You Expect To Earn

Assume you have all your wealth (a million dollars) invested in the Vanguard 500 index fund, and that you expect to earn an annual return of 12 , with a standard deviation in returns of 25 . Since you have become more risk averse, you decide to shift 200,000 from the Vanguard 500 index fund to treasury bills. The T.bill rate is 5 . Estimate the expected return and standard deviation of your new portfolio.

Risk Management Part 1 Hedge Fund Return Distributions

Most of the prior studies of hedge funds have generally examined hedge funds within a mean-variance efficient frontier. Generally, Sharpe ratios are used to compare hedge fund returns to those of stock and bond indices. However, hedge funds may pursue investment strategies that have non-linear payoffs or are exposed to significant event risk, both of which may not be apparent from a Sharpe ratio analysis. Consequently, the distributions associated with hedge funds may demonstrate properties that cannot be fully captured by the mean and variance. The purpose of this chapter is to take some of the mystery out of hedge funds by examining their return distributions. Analyzing these return distributions will provide us with necessary insight to understand and manage the risks associated with hedge fund investing. Additionally, we should be able to determine whether there is, in fact, skill at work. We start with a brief review of the hedge fund literature on mapping the distribution of...

Accomplishing Goats With Mutual Funds

Mutual funds can help you accomplish various financial goals. The rest of this chapter gives an overview of some of these more common goals saving for retirement, buying a home, paying for college costs, and so on that can be tackled with the help of mutual funds. For each goal, I mention what kinds of funds are best suited to it, and I point you to the part of the book that discusses that kind of fund in greater detail. You'll start to see how important goal identification is in the mutual fund selection process. In most cases, only a few fund categories are appropriate for a specific financial goal. Once you've got your fund category, simply peruse Chapters 7 through 9 to find the best individual funds in that fund category. fund is appropriate. If you need to tap into the money within two or three years or less, a money market or short-term bond fund may fit the bill. If your time horizon falls between three and seven years, you want to focus on bond funds. For long-term goals,...

Review Of Hedge Fund Studies

In Chapter 3, we provided an extensive review of the research literature regarding hedge fund returns. A growing body of empirical research demonstrates that hedge funds can be a valuable addition to a diversified portfolio of stocks and bonds. We briefly summarize those articles that consider hedge funds within a portfolio context. These portfolio optimization studies demonstrate that the low correlation between the returns to hedge funds and those of traditional asset classes make hedge funds a valuable portfolio addition. Goldman Sachs & Co. and Financial Risk Management Ltd. find that a portfolio of 60 S&P 500, 30 Lehman Aggregate Bond Index, and 10 hedge funds outperformed a 60 40 allocation of stocks bonds by 78 basis points while reducing portfolio volatility by 31 basis points.1 Edwards and Liew find that an unconstrained optimization including stocks, bonds, and fund of hedge funds, selects an 84 allocation to an equally-weighted fund of hedge funds, 7 to the S&P500, and 10...

The Rise of Hedge Funds

Today, if asked to define a hedge fund, I suspect most folks would characterize it as a highly speculative vehicle for unwitting fat cats and careless financial institutions to lose their shirts. The first hedge fund utilized a straightforward concept. It existed primarily to manage risk by hedging long stock positions against relatively equal short positions. Alfred Jones usually gets the credit for being the first to implement this strategy in 1948 when he took 40,000 of his own funds and another 60,000 from other investors and set up a partnership to test his model. The initial strategy worked well enough to allow Jones to alter his investment vehicle in 1952 from a general partnership to a limited partnership. He added what was then a novel 20 percent incentive fee, which gave the advisor a share of profits. A version of the modern hedge fund was born. Today, Jones's initial hedged strategy is now known in the industry as a long short or market neutral'' methodology from among the...

Hedge Fund Return Distributions

We use data from Hedge Fund Research Inc., a database containing information on more than 1,000 hedge funds representing over 100 billion of assets under management. We examine the returns to hedge fund strategies over the time period of January 1990 through June 2000.11 We review the same ten strategies that were discussed in Chapter 2. The time period of 1990-2000 is chosen because January 1990 is the starting date for data in the HFR hedge fund indices. Additionally, the time period of 1990-2000 was witness to numerous financial cycles beginning with the U.S. recession of 1990-1991. Further, there was the Latin America crisis (the Tequilla Crisis ) brought about by the devaluation of the Mexican Peso in December 1994, two periods of Federal Reserve Bank tightening (1994-1995 and 1999-2000), and two periods of Federal Reserve Bank easing (1991 and 1997-1998). Finally, there was the Asian Contagion in 1997 followed by a major liquidity crisis brought about by the Russian bond default...

Does This Suit Name My Hedge Fund Manager

Any court search conducted on a hedge fund manager whose name is not extremely uncommon will almost always reveal the existence of lawsuits citing people with that name. The person handling your court search, whether an internal staffer or an external entity, must be alerting you to this fact, or they are doing you a greater harm than any you'd suffer by doing nothing. They also must then be able to tell you whether the suits found are relevant to the subject or not. Some of the mechanics involved in learning how to decipher whether news stories, corporate records, regulatory actions, or lawsuits relate to the subject hedge fund manager, or just another person

Hedge Funds that Have Low Market and Credit Risk

Our last broad category of hedge funds is different from the previous hedge fund strategies in that hedge funds in this category employ little or no leverage and maintain little or no market exposure. In fact, the very nature of these programs is to minimize market and credit exposure altogether. Two strategies fit this profile market neutral funds and market timing hedge funds. Market neutral hedge funds go long and short the market. These funds seek to maintain neutral exposure to the general stock market as well as having neutral risk exposures across industries. The hedge fund manager builds an integrated With minimal market and credit risk exposure, we would expect a distribution that does not have a negative skew (either from market or credit risk) or large tails. In fact, if a market neutral hedge fund manager is successful in removing credit risk and market risk from his portfolio, we would expect to see the statistical biases of skewness and leptokurtosis disappear. Exhibit...

Hedge Funds that Exhibit Market Risk

The good news here is that three types of market risk hedge funds equity long short, global macro, and short selling exhibit risk profiles that are no worse than the overall stock market, and in some cases, better. Consider equity long short hedge funds. These hedge funds demonstrate a value of leptokurtosis of 1.8 and a skew factor of 0.113. First, the value of kur-tosis is similar to that of the S&P 500. Therefore, this type of hedge fund strategy exposes the investor to outlier events at about the same rate as investing in the S&P 500. This is comforting for those investors that already invest in the stock market. If an investor can understand and accept the risk of the U.S. stock market, the risk profile for equity long short hedge funds is not much different. There is, however, one distinct advantage of equity long short strategies, and that is the positive skew factor for this strategy compared to the negative skew for the S&P 500. This means that equity long short hedge fund...

Graphical Presentation Of The Hedge Fund Industry

It should be no surprise to most investors that hedge funds operate differently from traditional long-only investment managers. Long-only managers typically invest in either the equity or bond market, but do not leverage their investment bets. Therefore, their investment programs have considerable market risk exposure, but very little leverage or credit risk exposure.1 1 For an excellent and more detailed discussion on this type of classification, see CrossBorder Capital, TSS(II)-Tactical Style Selection Integrating Hedge Funds into the Asset Allocation Framework, Hedge Fund Research (August 2000). A prior version of this paper appeared as Mark Anson, Selecting a Hedge Fund Manager, The Journal of Wealth Management (Winter 2000). At the other end of the scale are private equity managers. They take no credit risk, but have the greatest exposure to market risk. Most private equity funds, for instance, have lock-up periods between 7 and 10 years. Investments made by private equity funds...

Growth Of Hedge Funds

In 1999, hedge fund assets amounted to 363 billion, or about 60 billion less than current amounts in ETF assets. By 2002 assets had nearly doubled reaching 650 billion. It's estimated by most trade publications that hedge fund assets may by the end of 2007 approximate 1.5 trillion or achieving an asset growth rate of more than 30 percent per year some put total assets at more than 2 trillion. But whatever the number, it's largely meaningless because most hedge fund managers, to some extent or other, leverage their investors' capital. In typical long short equity strategies, the leverage is generally less than two times the manager will trade, using margin or borrowed funds, 2 worth of stock for every 1 of invested capital . Other strategies, and particularly several forms of arbitrage involving scalping nickels on hundreds of trades each day, are much more heavily leveraged. Best guess, it's possible that hedge funds worldwide control something around 6 8 trillion, compared to the...

Hedge Funds that Exhibit Credit Risk

Exhibits 9 through 13 indicated that the arbitrage group of hedge funds exhibit properties similar to a credit risk distribution large (fat) downside risk exposures. These large downside tail exposures reflect the event risk inherent in arbitrage strategies. With a short put option, the hedge fund manager sells the put and collects a cash premium from the sale. If the put expires unexercised, the hedge fund manager keeps the premium and adds it to the total return. However, if the underlying asset price is less than the strike price of the put option at maturity, the option will be exercised against the hedge fund manager. The manager must either purchase the underlying asset at the strike price (which is above the market price), or settle the option in cash. In both cases, the hedge fund manager incurs a loss. Merger arbitrage hedge funds can then be viewed as insurance agents. What they are insuring is the risk of loss should the deal collapse. By purchasing the stock of the target...

Risk Management Part II Additional Hedge Fund Risks

Risk management extends beyond the economic risks undertaken by a hedge fund manager. Chapter 6 documented the credit and market risk exposure of several hedge fund strategies. However, there are several other risks that an institution should consider when investing in hedge funds. Beyond the economic risks of a hedge fund investment, there are seven additional risk factors that are a concern to an investor process risk, mapping risk, transparency risk, risk measurement risk, data risk, performance measurement risk, and event risk. Process risk relates to the skill-based style of hedge fund investing. Mapping risk considers the lack of additivity of individual hedge fund risk profiles. Transparency risk is the risk of non-disclosure. Risk measurement risk highlights the problems associated with risk management statistics. Data risk considers the biases inherent in hedge fund performance data. Performance measurement risk exposes the dangers of relying on historical hedge fund...

Opportunistic Hedge Fund Investing

The term hedge fund can be misleading. Hedge funds do not necessarily have to hedge an investment portfolio. Rather, they can be used to expand the investment opportunity set. This is the opportunistic nature of hedge funds they can provide an investor with new investment opportunities that she cannot otherwise obtain through traditional long only investments. There are several ways hedge funds can be opportunistic. First, many hedge fund managers can add value to an existing investment portfolio through specialization in a sector or in a market strategy. These managers do not contribute portable alpha. Instead, they contribute above market returns through the application of superior skill or knowledge to a narrow market or strategy. Consider a portfolio manager whose particular expertise is the biotechnology industry. She has followed this industry for years and has developed a superior information set to identify winners and losers. On the long only side the manager purchases those...

Why Invest In Hedge Funds Anyway

Figure 3.3 clearly demonstrates the rationale for hedge fund popularity superior performance achieved with less risk. Both hedge fund indexes displayed in the figure incorporate all hedge fund performance compared to the S&P 500 Index. Notice how much smoother both the Tremont Hedge Fund Index and the Hedge Fund Research Index have been by comparison to the common stock index. Further, less volatility and risk mean better total performance overall. Quite simply, this is the reason for their popularity less risk, better performance. What investor wouldn't want that Why do these funds achieve superior performance to conventional mutual funds and index investing The answer is simple. The best money managers gravitate to this structure since the compensation is far greater than that possible from conventional activities. As soon as a trader money manager achieves superior success from conventional employment with a mutual fund or Wall Street trading desk, they're quickly hired away by a...

Should Hedge Funds Be Part Of An Investment Program

Before considering hedged funds as part of a strategic investment program, we must first ask the question Are they worth it Initially, we must consider the return potential of hedge funds. Second, we must determine whether hedge funds have a place within a diversified portfolio that includes stocks and bonds. Goldman, Sachs & Co. and Financial Risk Management Ltd. in two reports study the returns to hedge funds over two time periods, 1993-1997 and 1994-1998.2 Over the first time period, they find the return to four categories of hedge funds, Market Neutral, Event Driven, Equity Long Short, and Tactical Trading, to earn average annual returns of 13.37 , 17.25 , 19.29 , and 19.48 , respectively. This compared to an average annual return for the S&P 500 of 20.25 over the same time period. However, the volatility for each class of hedge funds was significantly lower than that for the S&P 500. 1 See Chip Cummins, Hedge Funds Not Worried about Pending U.S. Regulations, Dow Jones...

Regulation of Hedge Funds

In prior chapters we have mentioned briefly the unregulated waters in which hedge funds operate. In this chapter we review the relevant regulatory authorities and consider what jurisdiction they have over hedge fund managers. While we will try to keep this chapter as brief as possible, brevity is not the hallmark of the laws that regulate the financial industry. The securities and commodities laws can be both arcane and tedious.1 Further, the debate continues as to whether hedge funds should be regulated. There is no convenient answer to this question, but its pertinence has increased in the wake of Long Term Capital Management. We will attempt to address this issue at the end of the chapter. We begin the chapter with a review of the federal securities laws and their application to hedge funds. Specifically, we examine how these laws apply to the sale of hedge fund limited partnership units as well as how hedge funds are classified within the securities law framework. We then consider...

Mutual Funds Adopting Some Hedge Fund Strategies

According to Morningstar there are now more than 100 mutual funds currently offer some variation on the traditional hedge fund long short or market neutral strategy, but it's hard to tell how many are using ETFs, rather than stocks, bonds and derivatives, a category that includes both conventional equity and index options, and more complex swaps keyed to the performance of, for example, an investable hedge fund index. Many funds in this category like the higher beta volatility of individual stocks versus an ETF. For example, the best performing stock within a sector will generally outperform the worst performing stock within a sector by a significant margin. So a correct long short bet within a sector will, assuming the same level of risk, outperform, the ETF's directional bet on the overall sector. Experienced mutual fund managers in this area will likely continue to use what's worked best for them in the past. However, given all the new ETF issues available, managers skilled at...

The Group Of Five Hedge Funds

In February 2000, a group of five large hedge funds responded to the President's Working Group on Financial Markets.13 Not surprisingly, this group of five of the largest hedge funds stopped short of endorsing any regulatory change to the hedge fund industry. However, it did conclude that hedge fund managers should work with regulators and counterparties to develop a broad consensus approach to public disclosure. Further, the Group of Five made several recommendations regarding the management of market risk, credit risk, and liquidity risk. With respect to market risk, the Group of Five recommended that hedge fund managers should measure their aggregate market risk for each hedge fund portfolio as well as the relevant sub-components of the portfolio. These sub-components could be monitored by geographic region, industry sector, investment strategy, asset class, or by type of instrument used. Additionally, the Group of Five recommended that hedge fund managers should perform stress...

Should Hedge Funds Be Institutionalized

We conclude this section on hedge funds with a topic currently under debate in the investment world. Over the past decade, hedge funds have attracted increasing interest from institutional investors. The advent of institutions into the hedge fund world inevitably begs the question of whether hedge funds should be institutionalized. However, while many people talk about institutionalization, few truly understand what it means. Additionally, there may be pitfalls to this way of thinking. For example, in a penal sense, the term institutionalize refers to punishment that has been meted out through incarceration in a penitentiary. If hedge fund managers are to be institutionalized, we must consider what crimes they may have committed.

Are Hedge Funds Really Unregulated

Hedge funds often are said to be unregulated or lightly regulated. The perception is that hedge funds are cowboys taking advantage of the wild-west financial markets without a sheriff in town. Hedge funds are required to comply with every rule, regulation, and law that affects virtually all investors in the public and private financial markets. Further, hedge funds are subjected to a variety of investor-related laws and regulations that impact who can qualify to invest with hedge funds. Additionally, there are a variety of state and federal laws that can require some managers to register as investment advisors thereby invoking a series of additional regulations and requirements, including periodic regulatory examinations and filings. When the topic of regulation arises in the hedge fund industry, managers are far from being cavalier about the existing and continually proposed regulatory requirements. decide to become a hedge fund manager (and I wouldn't put it past him) would want to...

Hedge Fund Research

Chicago-based Hedge Fund Research HFRI offers a much more detailed description of strategies by breaking each area into various subsectors as outlined below Equity Non-Hedge. Equity Non-Hedge funds are predominantly long equities although they have the ability to hedge with short sales of stocks and or stock index options. These funds are commonly known as stock-pickers. Some funds employ leverage to enhance returns. When market conditions warrant, managers may implement a hedge in the portfolio. Funds may also opportunistically short individual stocks. The important distinction between equity non-hedge funds and equity hedge funds is equity non-hedge funds do not always have a hedge in place. In addition to equities, some funds may have limited assets invested in other types of securities. Fixed Income Diversified. Fixed Income Diversified funds may invest in a variety of fixed income strategies. While many invest in multiple strategies, others may focus on a single strategy less...

Counterparty risk with hedge funds a case study

With an estimated 1.5 trillion under management and a leverage ratio that sometimes exceeds 50, hedge funds amplify market dynamics, especially when they adjust their portfolios quickly and collectively as in the case of homogeneous trading strategies. Hedge funds are major counterparties of many credit institutions, but contrary to many commercial banks their risk appetite and investment behaviour cannot be directly observed because of their limited transparency. While correlations between hedge fund returns are taken as indicators of possible movement of hedge fund portfolios, it is no less true that hedge funds have diversified investment strategies. Their convergence rests on the fact that they all For exposure analysis, the amount of capital under hedge fund management can be divided into cumulative net flows (inflows less redemptions) and cumulative returns on investment positions. Mid-2005 to mid-2006, capital under management grew by almost 30 , of which roughly Another...

Use taxfree money market and bond funds

Certain kinds of money market and bond funds invest only in bonds issued by governments, and depending on the type of government they invest in, their dividends may not be subject to state and or federal tax. However, after taxes are taken into account, you may find that with tax-free SSl money market or bond funds, you come out ahead of comparable taxable Oj M funds if your tax bracket is high enough. Because of the difference in taxes, the earnings from tax-free investments can end up being greater than what you're left with from comparable taxable investments. If you're in the 28 percent federal bracket or higher, see Chapters 7 and 8 for details on tax-free money market and bond funds.

Invest in taxfriendly stock mutual funds

Unfortunately, stock mutual funds don't have a tax-free version like bond and money market funds do. Unless they're held inside a retirement account, stock fund distributions are always taxable, period. If you're in a high enough tax bracket, these stock distributions can be a significant tax burden. Unfortunately, with stock funds more than any other type of fund, investors often focus exclusively on the pre-tax historical return, ignoring the tax implications of their fund picks. Although there are no tax-free stock funds, you can invest in stock funds that are tax-friendly in other words, funds whose investing style keeps distributions to a minimum. Here's how stock funds can minimize taxable distributions v0 Buy and hold investing. There are two types of stock fund distributions dividends and capital gains. Capital gains distributions are generated when a fund manager sells a stock for a profit that profit must then be given out to the shareholders annually. Some fund managers are...

Discovering the relative advantages of mutual funds

Efficiently managed mutual funds offer investors of both modest and substantial means low-cost access to high-quality money managers. Mutual funds span the spectrum of risk and potential returns, from nonfluctuating money market funds (which are similar to savings accounts) to bond funds (which generally pay higher yields than money market funds but fluctuate with changes in interest rates) to stock funds (which offer the greatest potential for appreciation but also the greatest short-term volatility). Investing in individual securities should be done only by those who really enjoy doing it and are aware of and willing to accept the risks in doing so. Mutual funds and exchange-traded funds, if properly selected, are a low-cost, quality way to hire professional money managers. Over the long haul, you're not going to beat full-time professional managers who are investing in the securities of the same type and risk level. Chapter 10 is devoted to mutual funds.

Understanding exchangetraded funds hedge funds and managed accounts

Mutual funds aren't the only game in town when it comes to hiring a professional money manager. Three additional options you may hear about include Exchange traded funds (ETFs) These are the most similar to mutual funds except that they trade on a major stock exchange and, unlike mutual funds, can be bought and sold during the trading day. The best ETFs have low fees, and like an index fund (see Chapter 10), they invest to track the performance of a stock market index. Hedge funds These privately managed funds are for wealthier investors and generally take more risk (some even go bankrupt) than a typical mutual fund. The fees can be steep typically 20 percent of the hedge fund's annual returns as well as an annual management fee of 1 percent or so. I generally do not recommend them. Managed accounts The major brokerage firms, which employ brokers on commission, offer access to private money managers. In reality, this option isn't really different from getting access to fund managers...

General Classification For Hedge Funds

Recall that in Chapter 4 we provided a graphical comparison between hedge funds and traditional long-only managers. Long-only managers typically invest in either the equity or bond market, but do not leverage their investment bets. Therefore, their investment programs have considerable market risk exposure, but very little leverage or credit risk exposure. In Exhibit 2, we graph the ten different hedge fund styles that we discussed in Chapter 2. We can separate these hedge funds into three broad groups (1) those hedge funds that have market risk, (2) those hedge funds that have credit risk, and (3) those hedge funds that minimize credit and market risk. 6 Bing Liang, On the Performance of Hedge Funds, Financial Analysts Journal (July August 1999). 7 Thomas Schneeweis and Richard Spurgin, Multifactor Analysis of Hedge Fund, Managed Futures, and Mutual Fund Return and Risk Characteristics, The Journal of Alternative Investments (Fall 1998), pp. 1-24. Exhibit 2 Hedge Funds Equity long...

Market Neutral Mutual Funds

There are now hundreds of mutual funds issued utilizing market neutral strategy and FAs can offer them for investors to use. While their TABLE 6.1 Random Sampling of Available Market Neutral Mutual Funds TABLE 6.1 Random Sampling of Available Market Neutral Mutual Funds Many mutual funds whether focused on market neutral strategies or not utilize ETFs for getting invested quickly in a sector. Suppose for example XYZ Fund thought the overall Tech sector was going lower. They might short the Cubes as an efficient way to put a position on immediately. Then they might target individual stocks to short within the sector that they felt were going to much underperform the overall sector. They then short those stocks closing the Cube and trade proportionately as they do so. At this time there are no pure ETF market neutral mutual funds that I'm aware of. A Fox News essay has isolated a few, shown in Table 6.1. It's important to note that variations of performance from this sample are...

Understanding the Benefits of Mutual Funds

Mutual funds rank right up there with microwave ovens, sticky notes, and plastic wrap as one of the best modern inventions. To understand their success is to grasp how and why funds can work for you. Here are the benefits you receive when you invest in mutual funds Professional management Mutual funds are managed by a portfolio manager and research team whose full-time jobs are to screen the universe of investments for those that best meet the stated objectives of the fund. These professionals call and visit companies, analyze Low fees The most efficiently managed stock mutual funds cost less than 1 percent per year in fees (bond and money market funds cost much less). Because mutual funds typically buy or sell tens of thousands of shares of a security at a time, the percentage commissions these funds pay are far less than what you pay to buy or sell a few hundred shares on your own. In addition, when you buy a no-load fund, you avoid paying sales commissions (known as loads) on your...

Example 102 How Risky Are Mutual Funds

You don't have to be wealthy to own a diversified portfolio. You can buy shares in one of the more than 6,000 mutual funds in the United States. Let's look at the betas of two mutual funds that invest in stocks. Figure 10.3a plots the monthly returns of Vanguard's Windsor II mutual fund and of the S&P index from July 1994 to June 1999. You can see that the stocks in the Windsor II fund had nearly average sensitivity to market changes they had on average a beta of .87. Figure 10.3b shows the same sort of plot for Vanguard's Index Trust 500 Portfolio mutual fund. Notice that this fund has a beta of 1.0 and only a tiny residual of unique risk the fitted line fits almost exactly because an index fund is designed to track the market as closely as possible. The managers of the fund do not attempt to pick good stocks but just work to achieve full diversification at very low cost. (The Vanguard index fund takes investments of as little as 3,000 and manages the fund for an annual fee of less...

Selecting the Best Mutual Funds

Although most mutual fund investors are rewarded for their efforts, you get no guarantees. You can, however, follow some simple, common-sense guidelines to help keep you on the trail and increase your odds of investment success and happiness. The issues in the following sections are the main ones to consider.

Private Equity Funds with Carbon Credit Enhanced Internal Rate of Return

Fund (REEF), a carbon equity fund designed to help mitigate the impacts of climate change while generating profitable returns for investors. Projects that are eligible for the fund include on- and off-grid renewable energy and energy efficiency projects in developing countries. Asset managers are anticipating a 20 percent return on the 100 million fund, along with the potential of capturing carbon credits from the projects that would generate further income (Cooper 2000a). Dexia-FondElec Energy Efficiency and Emission Reduction Fund Also in 2000, the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (ERBD) and the Franco-Belgian banking group Dexia launched a new private equity fund aimed at reducing energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions in Central and Eastern Europe. The e 150 million ( 150 million) Dexia-FondElec Energy Efficiency and Emission Reduction Fund (EEER) has a number of power companies as investors. In addition to cash returns, the chosen projects should also...

Additivity example 2 Openend mutual funds

The webpage of the United States Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) defines a mutual fund as A mutual fund is a company that brings together money from many people and invests it in stocks, bonds or other assets. The combined holdings of stocks, bonds or other assets the fund owns are known as its portfolio. Each investor in the fund owns shares, which represent a part of these holdings. Figure 17.2 gives some more information from the SEC about mutual funds.

Mutual Funds and Electronic Traded Funds

There are all types of mutual funds and electronic traded funds, and investors often choose them as alternatives to assembling their own portfolio of securities. Of course, you could have a portfolio of mutual funds too. There are proponents of mutual funds, and then there are those who favor a careful selection of stocks to address an investor's very individual requirements. In recent years, the Gold Electronic Traded Funds have emerged, and they provide a means for trading mining stocks, not just gold stocks. They are becoming popular as an alternative form of precious metal investing or to provide greater diversification outside of possession of precious metals. Unless you wish to study individual stocks, mutual funds and ETFs are a possible answer, although they need to be analyzed just as carefully. International funds are mutual funds targeted at foreign investment and often at emerging markets. They have done very well at times. Morn-ingstar ( provides the...

Example 3 Closedend mutual fundswhen additivity fails

Value-additivity doesn't always work. In this subsection we give an example of closed-end mutual funds. These are investment companies for which value additivity usually fails. A closed-end mutual fund is an investment company with a fixed number of shares. Like open-end mutual funds, closed-end mutual funds invest in a portfolio of stocks. As opposed to an open-end mutual fund, however, where the number of shares can be expanded or contracted, a closed-end mutual fund has a fixed number of shares which are sold on the stock market. The company issues no more new shares, and the market price fluctuates with supply and demand for the fund's shares. What should be the price of a Chippewa Fund share It seems that it should be equal to the per-share value of the fund's assets in our case 100 per share (as you saw in our discussion of open-end mutual funds, the finance jargon is the net asset value of the Chippewa Fund is 100 per share). But checking the newspapers, you find that the share...

Infesting in Bond Funds

Now that you know a fair amount about bonds and bond funds and how they differ, it's time to get down to how and why you might use bonds. Bonds may be boring, but they can be more profitable for you than super-boring bank savings accounts and money market funds. Bonds pay more than these investments because they involve more risk You're purchasing an investment that is meant to be held for a longer period of time relative to savings accounts and money market funds. As I discuss earlier in this chapter (in the section, Maturity Bonds act their age ), bond funds are riskier than money market funds and savings accounts because their value can fall if interest rates rise. However, bonds tend to be more stable in value than stocks (see Chapter 1).

Due Diligence for Hedge Fund Managers

In our prior chapters we addressed the questions of what (What are hedge funds ), why (Why should hedge funds be included in an investment portfolio ), and how (How should a hedge fund manager be selected ). We now turn to the question of who. Who should be selected as your hedge fund manager will depend on due diligence. Due diligence starts the initial process of building a relationship with a hedge fund manager. It is an unavoidable task that investors must follow in order to choose a manager. Due diligence is the process of identifying the best and the brightest of the hedge fund managers. This is where the investor must roll up her sleeves and get into the devilish details that can prove to be so elusive with hedge fund managers.

Conflicts of Interest in Mutual Fund Management

The Investment Company Act of 1940 requires that mutual funds be organized as corporate entities, and that a majority of the members of fund's boards be independent individuals not associated with the fund's investment adviser or management company. Indeed, most mutual funds have a supermajority (i.e., two-thirds) of independent directors. Directors have fiduciary duties of care and loyalty to the investors in the mutual fund, and therefore are responsible for safeguarding their interests. Inevitably, however, a variety of potential conflicts of interest face the mutual funds industry. 1. Fund managers prefer independent directors who comply with the rules but are cooperative, supportive, and not difficult to work with. Investors prefer directors who will robustly perform their fiduciary duties to the mutual fund shareholders. Fund managers nominate directors of new mutual funds. They are subsequently elected by shareholders, and then assume the responsibility for future board...

The Lazy Hedge Fund Investor The Donothing Crowd

Earlier in the book, I argued that a convergence story is unfolding whereby mutual funds, ETFs, and hedge funds begin offering products that mimic each other. In Chapter 6 we listed several mutual funds that copy hedge fund strategies, most typically using Market Neutral techniques. In fact a BusinessWeek article ( Hedging without a Hedge Fund,'' August 31, 2006) listed five selective mutual funds that are available to retail investors without having to discover or implement any strategies on their own Convertible Arbitrage. Calamos Market Neutral Income Fund CVSIX has been around for 15 years and carries a front-end load of 4.75 Long Short. The Quaker Strategic Growth Fund QUAGX similarly buys stocks from all investment sectors and shorts stocks based on proprietary methods. Its annualized return over a five-year period ending August 2006 was 7.54 percent beating the S&P 500. However the front-end load of 5.5 percent and annual fee of 2.04 percent are relatively high.

Recommended Bond Funds

If you've read through this chapter, you now know more about bond funds than you probably ever imagined possible so now it's time to get down to brass tacks selecting bond funds for a variety of investing needs. Using the logic laid out earlier in this chapter, I present you with a menu of choices. Although thousands of bond funds are available an overwhelming number of choices not that many are left to consider after you eliminate high-cost funds (those with loads and ongoing fees), low-performance funds (which are often the just mentioned high-cost funds), and funds managed by fund companies and fund managers with minimal experience investing in bonds. Use the following funds only if you have sufficient money in your emergency reserve (see Chapter 3). If you're investing money for longer-term purposes, particularly retirement, come up with an overall plan for allocating your money among a variety of different funds, including stock and bond funds. For more on allocating your money,...

Taxable shortterm bond funds

Bond funds that pay taxable dividends are appropriate if you're not in a high tax bracket (less than 28 percent federal) and for investing inside retirement accounts. (Call the fund companies for current yields.) Vanguard Short-Term Corporate Portfolio invests about 85 percent of its portfolio in high- and moderate-quality, short-term corporate bonds (the average credit rating is A to AA). Typically, it keeps the rest of its portfolio in U.S. Treasuries. It may even stray a bit overseas and invest several percent of the fund's assets in promising foreign bonds. This fund maintains an average maturity of two to three years, and duration currently is 2 years. Ian MacKinnon and Robert Auwaerter have co-managed Vanguard's Short-Term Corporate fund since the early 1980s (between them, MacKinnon and Auwaerter boast four decades of bond investing experience). All told, this fund invests in about 200 bonds (imagine having to keep track of all of them by your poor little old lonesome ). This...

US Treasury shortterm bond funds

Treasury bond funds are appropriate if you prefer a bond fund that invests in U.S. Treasuries (which have the safety of government backing) or if you're not in a high federal tax bracket (less than 28 percent), but you are in a high state tax bracket (5 percent or higher). I don't recommend Treasuries for retirement accounts because they pay less interest than fully taxable bond funds. (Call the fund companies for current yields.) Vanguard Short-Term Treasury invests in U.S. Treasuries maturing within two to three years you can't get much safer than that. Duration currently is 2 years. Like Vanguard's Short-Term Corporate, this fund is managed by the bond dynamic duo of MacKinnon and Auwaerter. Although the fund has that lean Vanguard expense ratio of 0.3 percent annually, don't forget that you can buy Treasuries direct from your local Federal Reserve bank if you don't need liquidity. 3,000 is the minimum initial investment. Vanguard Admiral Short-Term U.S. Treasury does what the...

Municipal taxfree shortterm bond funds

Unfortunately, short-term bond funds that are free of both federal and state taxes are scarce. However, some good short-term funds are free of federal but not state taxes. These are appropriate if you're in a high federal bracket (28 percent and up) but in a low state bracket (less than 5 percent). Vanguard Municipal Short-Term Portfolio invests in the cr me de la cr me of the federally tax-free muni bonds issued by state and local governments around the country (its average credit rating is AAA). The fund's average maturity ranges from one to two years and duration currently is about 1 year. Vanguard Municipal Limited-Term does just what the short-term fund does (and has the same manager), except that it does it a while longer. This fund's average muni bond matures in two to five years, although its average credit rating is a respectable AA. Both the short-term and limited-term funds have a parsimonious annual operating expense ratio of 0.2 percent and require a 3,000 minimum initial...

Intermediateterm bond funds

Intermediate-term bond funds hold bonds that typically mature in a decade or so. They are more volatile than shorter-term bonds but should be more rewarding. The longer you can own an intermediate-term bond fund, the more likely you are to earn a higher return on it than on a short-term fund, unless interest rates keep rising over many years.

Taxable intermediateterm bond funds

Vanguard Index Total Bond Market is an index fund that tracks the index of the entire bond market, the Lehman Brothers Aggregate Bond Index. The fund is managed by Ian MacKinnon, Kenneth Volpert, and a computer. The index that this fund seeks to replicate has about 5,000 bonds, but this fund typically holds only about 10 percent of those bonds by using a sampling to mirror the index. Investment-grade corporate bonds and mortgages make up half of the investments, although the other half are U.S. government and agency securities. Annual operating expenses are a paltry 0.2 percent. To encourage longer-term investors and discourage trading, the fund charges a 10 annual account maintenance fee for balances under 10,000. You need a 3,000 minimum initial investment to open ( 1,000 for retirement accounts). 800-662-7447. PIMCO Total Return is managed in much the same way as the PIMCO Low M Duration fund (which I describe in the section, Taxable short-term bond funds ), and the two funds even...

US Treasury intermediateterm bond funds

Treasury bond funds are appropriate if you prefer a bond fund that invests in U.S. Treasuries (which have the safety of government backing) and if you're not in a high federal tax bracket (less than 28 percent), but you are in a high state tax bracket (5 percent or higher). I don't recommend Treasuries for retirement accounts because they pay less interest than fully taxable bond funds. (Call the fund company for current yields.) Vanguard Intermediate-Term Treasury invests in U.S. Treasuries maturing in five to ten years. Vanguard Admiral Intermediate-Term U.S. Treasury

Susan Webb Research Analyst Mutual Fund Group

After majoring in biochemistry, I joined the research department of a large mutual fund group. Because of my background, I was assigned to work with the senior pharmaceuticals analyst. I start the day by reading the Wall Street Journal and reviewing the analyses that come in each day from stockbroking firms. Sometimes we need to revise our earnings forecasts and meet with the portfolio managers to discuss possible trades. The remainder of my day is spent mainly in analyzing companies and developing forecasts of revenues and earnings. I meet frequently with pharmaceutical analysts in stockbroking firms and we regularly visit company management. In the evenings I study for the Chartered Financial Analyst exam. Since I did not study finance at college, this is quite challenging. I hope eventually to move from a research role to become a portfolio manager.

Municipal taxfree intermediateterm bond funds

Consider federally tax-free bond funds if you're in a high federal bracket (28 percent and up) but a relatively low state bracket (less than 5 percent). If you're in a high federal and state tax bracket, see the state and federally tax-free bonds later in this section. (Call the fund company for current yields.) Vanguard Municipal Intermediate-Term does what Vanguard's short-term muni funds do, except that it invests in slightly longer-term muni bonds (the average credit rating is AA). The annual operating expense ratio is 0.2 percent. 3,000 is the minimum initial investment. 800-662-7447. The state and federally tax-free bond funds listed in Table 8-2 may be appropriate if you're in high federal (28 percent and up) and high state (5 percent or higher) tax brackets. (If one is not listed for your state or if you're only in a high federal tax bracket, remember to use the nationwide Vanguard municipal bond fund that I describe in the preceding paragraph.) Term Bond Funds Vanguard CA...

Do Hedge Funds Undermine The Financial Markets

Hedge funds have often been made scapegoats for whatever ails the financial markets. This can be traced back to George Soros' currency attack on the British Pound Sterling. In 1992, George Soros bet heavily and correctly that the British government would not be able to support the pound and that the pound would devalue. In 1997, Soros was once again blamed for a currency crisis by the Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir bin Mohammad. The Prime Minister attributed the crash in the Malaysian ringgit to speculation in the currency markets by hedge fund managers, including George Soros. Brown, Goetzmann, and Park test specifically whether hedge funds caused the crash of the Malaysian ringgit. They regress the monthly percentage change in the exchange rate on the currency exposure maintained by hedge funds. Reviewing the currency exposures of 11 large global macro hedge funds, they conclude that there is no evidence that the Malaysian ringgit was affected by hedge fund manager currency...

Money market mutual funds

Money market funds, a type of mutual fund (see Chapter 10), are just like bank savings accounts but better, in most cases. The best money market funds pay higher yields than bank savings accounts and allow check-writing. Most mutual fund companies don't have many local branch offices, so you may have to open and maintain your money market mutual fund through the fund's toll-free phone line, Web site, or the mail. Distance has its advantages. Because you can conduct business by mail, the Internet, and the phone, you don't need to go schlepping into a local branch office to make deposits and withdrawals. I'm happy to report that I haven't visited a bank office in many years. .cjAB Efi Despite the distance between you and your mutual fund company, your

US Treasury longterm bond funds

Treasury bond funds are appropriate if you prefer a bond fund that invests in U.S. Treasuries (which have the safety of government backing) and if you're not in a high federal tax bracket (less than 28 percent), but you are in a high state tax bracket (5 percent or higher). I don't recommend Treasuries for retirement accounts because they pay less interest than fully taxable bond funds. (Call the fund companies for current yields.) Vanguard Long-Term Treasury invests in U.S. Treasuries with average maturities around 20 years. Currently, duration is about 10 years. Vanguard Admiral Long-Term U.S. Treasury is for higher balance customers. (See the descriptions in the section, U.S. Treasury short-term bond funds, for minimum initial investments and expense ratios.) 800-662-7447. Municipal tax-free long-term bond funds VlCKs Vanguard Municipal Long-Term does what Vanguard's short-term muni funds do, except that it invests in long-term muni bonds (the average credit rating is AA)....

Recommended money market mutual funds

In this section, I recommend good money market mutual funds. As you peruse this list, remember that the money market fund that works best for you depends on your tax situation. Throughout the list, I try to guide you to funds that generally make sense for people in particular tax brackets. Fidelity Cash Reserves and Fidelity Money Market (800-544-8888 Vanguard Prime Money Market (800-662-7447 com) U.S. Treasury money market funds are appropriate if you prefer a money fund that invests in U.S. Treasuries, which have the safety of government backing, or if you're in a high state tax bracket (5 percent or higher) but not in a high federal tax bracket. Vanguard (800-662-7447 com) offers a couple good options Vanguard Treasury Money Market Vanguard Admiral Treasury Money Market State-focused tax-free money market funds are appropriate when you're in a high federal and state tax bracket. Fidelity (800-544-8888 www., USAA...

Exploring Alternatives to Bond Funds

Bond mutual funds are hardly the only way to lend your money and get paid a decent yield. In the following sections, I talk you through the pros and cons of other alternatives, some of which have acronyms you can impress your friends and family with or confirm that you're an investments geek. Regardless of which investment type(s) you end up purchasing, remember to do your big-picture thinking first What do you plan to use the money for down the road How much risk can you take and how much are you willing to take What's your tax situation Most of these bond fund alternatives have one thing in common They offer psychological solace to those who can't stomach fluctuations in the value of their investments. After I tell you more about these alternatives (including information that you're not likely to hear in a marketing pitch from the company or person who's trying to sell you on them), those low-cost bond funds will probably look more attractive.

US Treasury bond funds

Treasury bond funds are appropriate if you prefer a bond fund that invests in U.S. Treasuries (which have the safety of government backing), or when you're in a high state tax bracket (5 percent or higher) but not a high federal tax bracket. For good Treasury bond funds, look no further than the Vanguard Group, which offers short-, intermediate-, and long-term U.S. Treasury funds with a low 0.25-percent operating expense ratio. With a 100,000 minimum, Vanguard's Admiral series of U.S. Treasury funds offers even higher yields thanks to an even lower expense ratio of 0.10 percent.

State and federaltaxfree bond funds

State- and federal-tax-free bond funds are appropriate when you're in high federal and state (5 percent or higher) tax brackets. Vanguard (800-662-7447 has the best selection of state-specific tax-free bond funds. USAA (800-382-8722 and, to a lesser extent, Fidelity (800-544-8888 offer some of the better state-specific bond funds. Fidelity does have higher balance ( 10,000) requirements.

Stocks and stock funds

Stocks have stood the test of time for building wealth. (In Chapter 9, I discuss picking individual stocks versus investing through stock mutual funds.) Remember that when you invest in stocks in taxable (non-retirement) accounts, all the distributions on those stocks, such as dividends and capital gains, are taxable. Stock dividends and long-term capital gains do benefit from lower tax rates (maximum of 15 percent). Some stock picking advocates argue that you should shun stock funds due to tax considerations. I disagree. You can avoid stock funds that generate a lot of short-term capital gains, which are taxed at the relatively high ordinary income tax rates. Additionally, increasing numbers of fund companies offer tax-friendly stock funds, which are appropriate if you don't want current income or you're in a high federal tax bracket and seek to minimize receiving taxable distributions on your funds. Vanguard (800-662-7447 offers the best menu of tax-managed stock...

Vanguard Wettesteg Income

This is among the most conservative and income-oriented of the hybrids. This fund typically has about two-thirds of its assets in high-quality bonds, with the other third in high-yielding, large-company stocks. Since its inception in 1970, the majority of this fund's returns have come from dividends. Like many of the other conservative Vanguard funds, this one is managed by Wellington Management and the dynamic duo of Earl McEvoy and John Ryan, who have about 50 years of investment experience between them.

Vanguards Funds of Funds

A fund of funds is simply a mutual fund that invests in other individual mutual funds. Although the concept is not new, it has become increasingly attractive to investors who are overwhelmed by the number of fund choices out there or who want to diversify. Vanguard offers some excellent funds of funds. Begun in 1985 and thus the oldest of the funds of funds the Vanguard Star fund is diversified across nine different Vanguard funds six stock, two bond, and one money market fund. Its targeted asset allocation is 63 in stocks, 25 in bonds, and 12 in the money market fund. This fund emphasizes value more than growth. It is also very U.S.-focused, seldom holding more than a few percent in foreign stocks. The Star fund's diversification comes cheap The average expense ratio of the underlying funds is 0.4 percent (there's no additional charge for packaging them together). The initial investment requirement is just 1,000 for both retirement and non-retirement accounts. Realizing that in the...

Good investments Noload mutual funds

As I discuss in Chapter 10, the professional management and efficiency of the best no-load mutual funds makes them a tough investment to beat. Chapters 11 and 12 provide recommendations for investing money in funds both inside and outside tax-sheltered retirement accounts. Gearing the investments to the time frame involved until your children will need to use the money is the most important issue with no-load mutual funds. The closer your child gets to attending college and using the money saved, the more conservatively the money should be invested.

Fidelity Asset Manager

Fidelity offers a number of hybrid funds that invest overseas as well as in the United States. They differ from Vanguard's offerings by making more radical shifts in strategies and investments held. Fidelity is one of the few companies that has the research capabilities to allow a fund manager to invest intelligently in many different markets.

Mutual Funds The Hidden

Mutual funds are the most popular investment vehicle in the country today. They have grown from a cottage industry in the early 1960s to become the dominant method for individual retirees to participate in the stock and bond markets. In most cases, they offer professional management and wide diversification. It's no wonder they have become the vehicle of choice for millions of Americans. While these mutual fund companies promote their investment track records, there is one disadvantage that they don't advertise very well. That disadvantage has to do with how mutual funds are taxed.

Computers amok Recommended index funds

Index funds, which I discuss in detail in Chapter 6, are passively managed that means an index fund's money is invested, using computer modeling, to simply track the performance of a particular market index, such as the Standard & Poor's 500. When you buy into an index fund, you give up the possibility of outperforming the market, but you also guarantee that you won't underperform the market either. Beating the market is extremely difficult most actively managed funds are unable to do it. The best index funds, however, have an unfair advantage they have the lowest operating expenses in the business. In Chapter 6,1 talk more about the virtues of index funds and what kind of role they should play in your portfolio. The following sections cover the best stock index funds available.

Vanguards index funds

Bogle, Vanguard's founder and former CEO, was the first person to take the idea of indexing to the mutual fund investing public he has been a tireless crusader for index funds ever since. Today, Vanguard continues to be the index fund leader with the lowest operating expenses (which directly translates into higher index fund returns) and the biggest index fund selection around. Vanguard's less aggressive index fund is a hybrid fund, Vanguard Balanced Index. Sixty percent of this fund's assets are invested in stocks according to the Wilshire 5000 Index the other 40 percent are invested in bonds to replicate the performance of the Lehman Brothers Aggregate Bond Index. The fund has a 0.2 percent annual operating expense ratio. The flagship of Vanguard's index fleet, the Vanguard Index 500 fund invests to replicate the performance of the popular stock market index the Standard & Poor's 500 Index which tracks the stocks of 500 large companies in the United States. These 500 stocks...

Mutual Fund Tax Advice

Beware of the mutual funds that you are holding or are considering purchasing for your taxable accounts. There could be huge gains that the fund manager is sitting on. While the fund manager may claim to not plan on selling these stock positions, don't count on this. Many times fund managers are forced to sell certain stocks for liquidity purposes. Most mutual funds are also registered as diversified mutual funds and by law are not allowed to hold more than 5 percent of the outstanding shares of any one individual company. Therefore, your fund manager may be forced to sell for this reason. In addition, most mutual funds experience frequent changes in their investment managers. It is not uncommon to see a manager change an average of every five years. Unfortunately, for tax purposes, a new manager who takes the helm of a mutual fund usually makes substantial changes to the portfolio. A new manager will typically sell off certain stock positions to place his or her own management style...

Discount Brokers Mutual Fund Supermarkets

For many years, you could only purchase no-load mutual funds directly from mutual fund companies. If you wanted to buy some funds at, say, Vanguard, Fidelity, T. Rowe Price, and USAA, you needed to call these four different companies and request each firm's application. So you ended up filling out four different sets of forms and mailing them with four envelopes, four stamps, and four separate checks. Soon, you received separate statements from each of the four fund companies reporting how your investments were doing. (Some fund companies make this even more of a paperwork nightmare by sending you a separate statement for each individual mutual fund that you buy through them.) Now suppose that you wanted to sell one of your USAA funds and invest the proceeds at Fidelity. This was also a time-consuming pain in the posterior, because you contacted USAA to sell, waited days for them to send you a check for the sales' proceeds, and then sent the money with instructions to Fidelity. It...

Recommended USfocused stock funds

This section focuses on the better actively managed funds that invest primarily in the U.S. stock market. I say primarily because some U.S. funds venture into overseas investments. Of all the different types of funds offered, U.S. stock funds are the largest category. To see the forest amidst the trees, remember the classifications I cover earlier in the chapter. Stock funds differ mainly in terms of the size of the companies they focus on and whether those companies are considered growth or value companies. w Some of these funds may invest a little overseas. The only way to know for sure where a fund is currently invested (or where the fund may invest in the fOl future) is to ask. You can start by calling the 800 number of the mutual fund X JJf company that you're interested in. You can also read the fund's annual report (which I explain how to do in Chapter 4). A prospectus, unfortunately, won't give you anything beyond general parameters that guide the range of investments it won't...

Fidelitys overabundance of funds

Although Vanguard is closing the gap, Fidelity is still the largest mutual fund company in America. Fidelity's success and reputation were built on U.S. stock fund management. Peter Lynch, who managed the Fidelity Magellan fund during the 1980s, is the manager who really got Fidelity noticed. In addition to Magellan, Fidelity had numerous U.S. stock funds that were beating the market averages. As the company grew explosively, Fidelity's ability to produce market-beating returns began to wane during the 1990s for three reasons. First, a number of the star managers left. Second, some of the stellar fund managers struggled to find good places to invest all the new money. Third, the cost savings in managing an increasingly larger mountain of money (in the form of a lower operating expense ratio) was not being shared with Fidelity's customers. I still like a number of Fidelity funds, but one does need to choose funds carefully at Fidelity. Fidelity is the Procter & Gamble of mutual funds....

Other noteworthy USfocused stock funds

Warburg Pincus Emerging Growth focuses on smaller company stocks and makes some investments overseas. It's managed by Elizabeth Dater, who has been managing this fund since its inception in 1988 and Stephen Lurito, who joined Dater in 1993 as co-manager. The Warburg Pincus company was in the private money management business first and then jumped into the mutual fund fray in the mid-80s. Expense ratio on this fund is a bit high 1.2 percent. If you go through discount brokers, normally you can purchase this fund without transaction fees. Minimum initial investment is 2,500 ( 500 for retirement accounts). 800-927-2874. Neuberger & Berman Guardian, Partners, and Focus are three stock funds run by Neuberger & Berman, a New York-based private money manager that's also been in the mutual fund business for decades. These three funds are similar in that they invest in a mixture of small- to large-cap stocks. The Focus and Partners funds tend to focus more on small- and medium-size company...

Taxable longtern bond funds

Dodge and Cox Income is run by a conservative management team at an old San Francisco investment firm that has been managing money for private accounts since 1930 and running mutual funds since 1931. This fund, which focuses on government securities and high grade corporate debt, is less volatile than most long-term bond funds. The operating expense ratio is 0.5 percent. 2,500 is the minimum initial investment ( 1,000 for retirement accounts). 800-621-3979. Vanguard Long-Term Corporate is comprised mostly of high-grade corporate bonds, but it sometimes holds around 10 percent in Treasuries and foreign and convertible bonds. Long-term bonds such as these can produce wide swings in volatility. For example, this fund lost more than 9 percent of its principal value in 1987, its worst year in a decade. The dividends of 9.2 percent paid that year brought the fund back to produce a total return of 0.2 percent. The fund is managed by Wellington Management's Earl McEvoy, who was new to the...

Recommended international funds

For diversification and growth potential, funds that invest overseas should be part of an investor's stock fund holdings. Normally, you can tell you're looking at a fund that focuses its investments overseas if its name contains words such as international, global, worldwide, or world. defeats the whole purpose of investing in funds. Funds that focus on specific regions, such as Southeast Asia, are better but still problematic because of poor diversification and higher expenses than other, more-diversified international funds. Because Buffett and his firm invest in many other companies' stocks, investing in his firm's stock is sort of like investing in a mutual fund. So if he's so shrewd a money manager, should you buy into his stock Probably not. Here's why. Because of Buffett's renowned stock-picking acumon, Berkshire Hathaway stock, unlike a true mutual fund, sells at a hefty premium to the value of the underlying stocks that Buffett and crew invest in. This stock commonly sells at...

Where To Put Your Indexed Investments Etfs Futures Or Index Mutual Funds

With the development of index futures and ETFs, investors have three major choices to match the performance of one of many stock indexes exchange-traded funds, index futures, and index mutual funds.9 The important characteristics of each type of investment are given in Table 15-1. As far as trading flexibility, ETFs and index futures far outshine mutual funds. ETFs and index futures can be bought or sold any time during the trading day and after hours on the Globex and other exchanges. In contrast, mutual funds can be bought or sold only at the market close, and the investor's order must often be in several hours earlier. ETFs and index futures can also be shorted to hedge one's portfolio or speculate on a market decline, which mutual funds cannot. And ETFs can be margined like any stock (with current Fed regulations at 50 percent), while index futures possess the highest degree of leverage, as investors can control stocks worth 20 or more times the value of cash. 9 Index mutual funds...

Vanguard International Grouth

Rowe Price International Stock, Vanguard International Growth invests primarily in large companies with growth potential, mainly in established countries. It also invests about 10 to 20 percent in emerging markets. International Growth is managed by London-headquartered Schroder Capital Management, which has research offices around the world focused on specific countries. The team is led by Richard Foulkes, who has managed this fund since its inception in 1981. This fund has a Vanguard-thin expense ratio of 0.6 percent and has been reasonably tax-friendly. Initial minimum investment is 3,000 ( 1,000 for retirement accounts). 800-662-7447.

How to Determine a Rate of Return for a Mutual Fund

The total return of a mutual fund includes the following three components Worksheet 38.1 provides the outline to determine a rate of return on your mutual funds. WORKSHEET 38.1 How to determine the rate of return on your mutual funds Step 1 Fill in your mutual fund data.

Actively Managed Etfs And Mutual Fund Posers

Because of the popularity of the ETF structure there will be sponsors and even mutual fund companies issuing so-called ''actively managed'' ETFs. These products structured either as an ETF or mutual fund may have hedge fundlike characteristics, but I strongly advise caution despite what no doubt will be seductive presentations and literature. Just remember, hedge fund managers are a very well-paid lot and the best won't be dealing in lower fee products that dilute their time and skills. So posers will no doubt enter the scene appealing to average investors who feel they've found a cheap way to get invested in hedge funds. They could be dead wrong.

International mutual funds

Investors may purchase shares of an international mutual fund with a small minimum investment, such as 1,000. Several brokerage firms, such as Merrill Lynch, Goldman Sachs, and Fidelity, create and manage many families of international mutual funds. Mutual funds are perhaps the most important by-product of the portfolio theory developed by Markowitz and Sharpe. Mutual funds are financial institutions that accept money from savers and then use these funds to buy a variety of securities. International mutual funds are portfolios of securities from various countries. International mutual funds have several advantages over individual foreign securities. First, international mutual funds pool funds and thus reduce risk by diversification. Second, investors would have to pay extra transaction and information costs if they attempted to buy foreign securities directly in foreign markets. Third, international mutual fund investors circumvent many legal and institutional barriers associated...