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Need help with International/EM exposure

edited August 2014 in Fund Discussions
I have a friend who has a relatively small nestegg in a "tax-deferred" acount. She has very little international exposure; about 8%, mostly in Europe. I think she would benefit from some international and/or EM exposure.

She can only anly afford to invest in one more MF, so we are looking for something that has some diversification. Such as a international fund that has the flexibilty to invest in EM or an EM fund with a broad mandate.

I know of a few, such as MACSX (Mathews Asia G&I), SFGIX (Seafarer G&I) or TGVAX/TGVIX (Thornburg Int. Value), etc., but I know there are others out in the MF universe that should fit-the-bill.

She is not inclined to deal with a lot of volatility, so something on the moderate-to-conservative side is strongly preferred.

Any and all thoughts, suggestions and opinions are welcome!! Thank you!!



  • MACSX is a excellent fund. The volatility will be more than say a SP500 fund but over the long haul she will be pleased. As for international exposure, I like 30% or more. I have about 35% exposure in my portfolio.

  • I'd go with MACSX or SFGIX, both of which provide at least a moderate level of income.
  • @mcmarasco: Suggest you look at this San Francisco treat, DODWX.
    M* Snapshot Of DODWX:
  • The user and all related content has been deleted.
  • You may want to look at a global infrastructure fund that invests in worldwide energy, utility, engineering,transportation,water,etc.projects and ownership there of.I own MTIPX.

  • Matt, I suggest that your friend consider either DODFX (now with 19% EM per M*) or a combination of EFAV + EEMV.

  • Ted has a good idea. DODWX. Otherwise, MACSX. First fund I ever bought. Still own it, 11 years later. Loving it. Very good down-side protection. I also own SFGIX. It's been mentioned, above. It had been lackluster, but has started to move recently. SFGIX has a global mandate. But about 60 percent or more is still in Asia, last time I looked under the hood.
  • Since the stated objective here is to increase international exposure, some excellent international funds are:

    1. Vanguard Total International Stock Index Fund Investor Shares (VGTSX), which is also available as an exchange traded fund, VXUS.

    2. Vanguard International Growth, VWIGX

    3. Dodge & Cox International Stock, DODFX

    4. Harbor International, which comes in both investor shares and institutional shares

    You also mentioned the desire to not have much volatility. If that objective is higher on the list, I would suggest considering:

    Tweedy, Browne Global Value TBGVX

    All in all, the "set it and forget it" no brainer is the Vanguard Total International Stock Index Fund, which provides maximum diversification, including 5,400 stocks, with a tiny expense ratio of 0.14% for the exchange traded fund shares. Note that the exchange traded fund shares and the regular mutual fund shares contain exactly the same portfolio and are the same fund, different share classes.

    It currently has 14% emerging markets.
    This fund can be held for life, and requires no monitoring.
  • I'd add FMIJX as a candidate. Mostly developed Int, not much EM, but lower volatility for the risk adverse, low expenses and low asset base. I recently chose it as my diversified International fund for what it's worth.

    David commented on it a while back. M* gives it 5* if that matters.
  • Ivy International Core Equity IVVYX or ICEIX would be my first choice, given John Maxwell's outstanding record since he took over in 2006, but the fund is often not available without a commission, and the I class shares are usually out of reach for retail investors. But there are a good number of other very good international managers. Remember that you are hiring a manager here, not buying a fund. Artisan Intl Value ARTKX is very good, but might also be unavailable depending on where your friend's account is custodied. I really like Federated IVFIX Intl Strategic Value Dividend, and it is on a tear recently now that dividends are back in favor. It is available at most retail fund places. Oakmark (OAKIX) is hard to turn down, too, and it is available in most fund supermarkets. Although I like Matthews, I would hesitate to use their funds as my general international fund option. They really are Asian driven. FMIJX might someday be on my list, but the fund has untested management (maybe 9 managers are too many?). Also only 65% of the fund is currently in international stocks. I would stick with proven management with the funds I suggested above.
  • Great comments and thank you all for some great suggestions, I will check them out!!

    Any other thoughts are very welcome!!

  • Bob C., do you think that IVFIX is worth the extra expense ratio over PID? If the fund had existed in 2008, I probably could have answered my own question.
  • In addition to those mentioned, also take a look at SGOVX. It is a load fund, but some brokerages waive the load.
  • Kaspa said:

    In addition to those mentioned, also take a look at SGOVX. It is a load fund, but some brokerages waive the load.

    Closed to new investors.
    Just recently.
  • The difference in expenses is about 0.29%, so darned close. PID has a broader market cap, while IVFIX is gonna be large cap. And surprisingly, IVFIX has a much lower turnover than PID. All statistical measures are pretty even except for Kurtosis, which would suggest that IVFIX tends to have very few surprises. I think it boils down to what you are more comfortable with. For us, active management of international stocks is a pretty strong factor. Thanks for raising the question. It is a good one.
  • Unfortunately, I'm a little late on SGOVX, it is closed.

    IVFIX looks like a good fund but it does not hold any EM or Asia, something I'm looking for.

    Thanks for the suggestions!!
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