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Here's a statement of the obvious: The opinions expressed here are those of the participants, not those of the Mutual Fund Observer. We cannot vouch for the accuracy or appropriateness of any of it, though we do encourage civility and good humor.

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David Snowball's March Commentary Is Now Available

FYI: Spring Break at Augustana College!


  • I have a question as to how/where David got his numbers for the cash holdings for funds in 15/15 funds update piece? In my research, the Artisan Thematic fund doesn't have 30% in cash but instead less than 10% and the FMI International doesn't have 59% in cash.
  • edited March 2019
    “Fidelity Women’s Leadership Fund will seek long-term growth of capital. The plan is to “invest primarily in equity securities of companies that prioritize and advance women’s leadership and development.” One woman on the senior management team qualifies a stock for inclusion, as does having one-third of the board be women or, more generally, having policies designed to attract, retain and promote women. ... The fund will be managed by Nicole Connolly.” (from David’s commentary.)

    Are we at the point in society where it matters which gender your CEO or fund manager is? There are of course many other dubious “leadership” categories based on individual traits like race, nationality, political affiliation, age, religion or athleticism that might become the basis for a new fund. Some investors, for instance, might like a “Big 10” fund (invests only in companies headed by guys who’ve sustained brain injury on the gridiron).
  • @hank: yes we are. We really are. It's all part of the hyper-consumerization predicted of late capitalism. Well, and Millenials demand it, at the same time that fund companies need to find ways to keep members of this skeptical, identity-politics-activist generation interested in their products.

    Heaven forbid you should voice your skepticism in public, however.

  • Hi, hmgodwin.

    The Lipper database. Following your question, I checked Morningstar and found an odd report (cash= 37% long - 24% short, net 13% currently) and the normal fund material doesn't disclose it. I've written to Mike Roos at Artisan to see if he can help.

    More soon,

  • On Fidelity Women's Leadership: the idea of favoring teams with more diversity senior leadership teams actually makes financial sense. "There's substantial evidence that gender diversity at the management level enhances a company's performance" (CNBC, 2018). The three gender-screened funds that I know of (Pax, Glenmede and a SPDR) all have above-average returns.

    The problem is pinning down exactly why that's the case since knowing how gender diversity contributes to the bottom line helps understand what sorts of things to screen for. So my skepticism is more aimed at "any one woman in 'senior leadership' is good enough for us" as a screening criterion.

  • Hi, hmgodwin.

    The Lipper database. Following your question, I checked Morningstar and found an odd report (cash= 37% long - 24% short, net 13% currently) and the normal fund material doesn't disclose it. I've written to Mike Roos at Artisan to see if he can help.

    More soon,


    On the Thematic main page, under data and statistics, if one scrolls to the very bottom it says that the fund has cash and cash equivalents of 5.4%. That number is of the end of January. The 4th quarter fact sheet states -4.6% cash and cash equivalents.
  • The fact that money flowing out of FLPSX makes the fund more manageable. I actually welcome it.

    While the fund initially looked at companies whose share price was less than $5, over time they redefined it to $35. I think the real deal was small value premium that is now well known.

    Over time excessive fund assets forced this fund to move up to mid size companies and portions of the portfolio is now managed by others. I still have a nice amount of money in this fund despite the strategy change.
  • A minor point, but I believe the fund originally started with $15 stocks. That's what I recall, and also what Kiplinger reports.

    I also recall its move from small cap to mid cap as you describe. What I'm not sure of is whether it was always a closet global fund (> ⅓ foreign) or whether that was a change in the last decade or so.

    While FLPSX has gotten additional managers, and while this fund has seen outflows, Tillinghast still has his hands full.

    For example, he's the sole manager on two "internal" funds: the $23M Flex Intrinsic Opportunities Fund (FFNPX) and the $14B Series Intrinsic Opportunities Fund (FDMLX). The latter is nearly half the size of the "slimmed down" FLPSX. That doesn't begin to get into all the funds sold abroad that he's involved with.
  • I don't know that it's accurate to say that FLPSX has ever changed strategies. It had lots foreign, if not a full third or more, before a decade ago, I recall from memory and also from early and mid-2000 writeups I am just recycling now that I found them.
    I am hoping to uncover that I got in it in 1989, but don't think so.
    It has always been more of a go-anywhere within the share-cost guidelines, $15, yes, and then I believe $25 and now another ten bucks higher. Its limited go-anywhere mandate can be found here

    plus a fun list of its kinda random closing periods.

    JT is 60 plus or minus so has time to run yet.

    I was going to try and get into this as press but had a conflicting event:
  • I doubt you bought the fund at inception. It appears that it was a (low) load fund then. In late 1992, Fidelity started waiving some loads in IRAs. The load was not removed on taxable accounts until 2003.

    Chicago Tribune, 1990:
    At one time only the Fidelity Magellan Fund had a front-end load of 3 percent. Now, almost all of Fidelity`s equity, or stock, funds have at least a 2 percent load.
    South Florida Sun Sentinel, 1992
    On Nov. 1, Fidelity dropped the low-load (usually 3 percent) sales charges on all their funds (except Fidelity Magellan and their Select sector funds) for those investing through their retirement accounts, such as IRAs and SEPs. Non-retirement accounts still have to pay the low-load as before.
    FLPSX closed shortly thereafter (2/9/1993)

    From the 1994 prospectus (the earliest online at SEC):
    ONCE EACH BUSINESS DAY, TWO SHARE PRICES ARE CALCULATED FOR THE FUND: the offering price and the net asset value (NAV). The offering price includes the 3% sales charge, which you pay when you buy shares, unless you qualify for a reduction or waiver as described on page .

    WAIVERS. The fund's sales charge will not apply:
    1. If you buy shares as part of an employee benefit plan ...
    2. To shares in a Fidelity Rollover IRA account purchased with the proceeds of a distribution from an employee benefit plan ...
    3. If you are a charitable organization ...

    [you get the idea; not waived for retail investors]
    From the Sept 26, 2002 supplement to the prospectus:
    On June 19, 2003, the Board of Trustees of Fidelity Low-Priced Stock authorized elimination of the fund's 3.00% front-end sales charge. Beginning June 23, 2003, after 4:00 p.m. Eastern time, purchases of shares of the fund will not be subject to a sales charge. Information in this prospectus specific to front-end sales charges for this fund is no longer applicable
  • Right, the price of success. Look how short the first two close periods were.

    Fund Closed to New Accounts: 12/31/2003 - 12/15/2008
    Fund Closed to New Accounts: 5/16/2002 - 11/18/2002
    Fund Closed to New Accounts: 4/3/1998 - 3/16/1999
    Fund Closed to New Accounts: 2/9/1993 - 9/19/1993
    Fund Closed to New Accounts: 3/6/1992 - 5/29/1992

    I cannot recall when I dove in, and it probably was in retirement accounts only after its start-of-1990 launch date. (JT was ~30, at the outset, can that be?)
    August 1990 I did join a company that had a Fidelity-based 401k and I bet that's when it was, or at least an increase if I was already a holder.
    But I was paying Fidelity low loads long before then, in various Select funds, in and outside of retirement accounts.
    Hard for me to believe now. But the 1980s were this crazy bull market, quite like now, until Oct '87 anyway. (Even then, in hindsight, that recovery was <2y.)
  • Question for Charles.

    For trying to answer question "was it worth it" you provided returns of indices over 10 years, and also over full market cycle, i.e. around 12 years beginning 2007. However, for the "best" performing funds, why not provide market cycle returns? It will be good to see if these "best" performing funds were also "worth it" over the full market cycle, no?

    Under the assumption any given period(s) over which data is compared to reach any desirable/undesirable conclusion, it is important to know if people should even bother to pick individual funds or just invest in an index.

    Just my 2 cents.
  • Hi VintageFreak. I will post shortly ... been preoccupied releasing first "production" version of Premium site and the February data update, which just posted. c
  • edited March 2019
    OK, I revised the article to add the full-cycle comparisons requested by VintageFreak and to update the tables with month ending February performance ... so, the full 10 years.

    The Ten-Year Bull

    I made the full-cylce data for just the top bull market performers, but did not run best performers over full cycle, which seems like a different article. Easy enough to do though, so I'll post a sample here.

  • edited March 2019
    @Charles Much obliged.

    It seems hard to make case for international investing. I sometimes do invest in Target Date fund which don't have redemption fees in my retirement accounts when my models get me out of index funds and I can't get back in because it's not permitted.
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