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Best mutual fund and shareholder return

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It’s that time again, the end of 2009 (and the decade of 2000s) means we can also look at the performance of mutual funds in past year/decade. The winner of US based mutual fund is CGM Focus fund, managed by Mr. Heebner, the fund’s manager since its 1997 launch. CGM Focus is a large cap growth fund with annualized total return of 18.2% in last 10 years (source: WSJ, Best Stock Fund of the the Decade: CGM Focus). Sounds pretty good, right?

Not really. According to MorningStar in the same article:
Too bad investors weren’t around to enjoy much of those gains. The typical CGM Focus shareholder lost 11% annually in the 10 years ending Nov. 30, according to investment research firm Morningstar Inc.

These investor returns, also known as dollar-weighted returns, incorporate the effect of cash flowing in and out of the fund as shareholders buy and sell. Investor returns can be lower than mutual-fund total returns because shareholders often buy a fund after it has had a strong run and sell as it hits bottom.


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Asset management in China: I

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When I say a mutual fund manager, what kind of personality (impression) appears in your mind? A guy or a lady in his/her 40s, with financial education, 10 years or more experience in investment field…

This is not the case in China. Due to the boom of China stock market in recent years, and the boom of the hedge fund, many experienced guys (like Danbin, more about Danbin later) started or joined hedge fund so that they could make more money. Here is a Chinese article titled “rookie fund managers in charge of trillons of Yuan, only 7 fund managers have more than 7 years experience in China mutual funds”. The following Chinese video below tells the same problem.

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Mission impossible: beat the index

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For the mutual fund, besides being the leader in its category each year, one key performance measure is to beat the bench market index. For instance, if a fund is invested in emerging markets, one key bench mark is MSCI emerging market index (EFM, an ETF tracks this index). For reference, the index is up 33.44% from Dec 21 2006 to Dec 20 2007.

But, beating the index is very hard. Consider Bill Miller, the legendary fund manager of Legg Mason Value Trust, and he is going to underperform the market second year in a row after beating S&P continously for 15 years. Here is a link to the fund details. From the portfolio, Bill hit a home run with Amazon, but he also had dogs like Sprint, Yahoo and to a lesser extent, eBay. The following is Performance of Monthly and Average Annual Total Returns (as of 11/30/07, source: Legg Mason site).

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