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Barron’s Top Fund Families of 2019

Barron’s Top Fund Families of 2019

Good years are great. Investors have reveled in more than a decade’s worth of markets marching higher in lockstep. Last year, the S&P 500 index returned 31%, international markets climbed more than 20%, corporate bonds soared 14%, and even Treasuries gained nearly 8%. That was certainly good news for index investors, who went along for the ride. But it’s a high bar for active managers, most of whom still struggle to beat their benchmarks.


  • edited February 2020
    Damn near worthless - “The primary ranking focuses on one-year relative performance ...”

    Even the Kiplingers article some time ago (which received considerable heat here) looked at funds all the way back to their inception date - far better than looking at 1 year.

    Hey Barrons - How about taking into consideration :

    - Years in business

    - Long term performance

    - Manager turnover

    - Talent / average tenure

    - Expenses

    - Customer satisfaction ratings

    - Down market performance / preservation of capital

    - Governance scores

    - Type and variety of offerings

    - Account minimums
  • I couldn't get past their gate keeper. I'm curious about their ratings. How did Vanguard, T Rowe Price, AKRE and Primecap do in these ratings?
  • Vanguard #10 TRP #20 AKRE Primecap not ranked because

    "To qualify for this ranking, firms must offer at least three active mutual funds or actively run exchange-traded funds in Lipper’s general U.S. stock category; one in world equity; and one mixed-asset—such as a balanced or allocation fund. They also need to offer at least two taxable bond funds and one national tax-exempt bond fund. All funds must have a track record of at least one year"

    These rankings have made little sense for years. If you do not use a "Supermarket" and stay with one firm maybe if that firms lags for years you might switch.

    I assume Barron's continues to do this to appeal to institutional investors and retirement plans who can point to the fund families they use relative ranking to their client

    It is far more helpful to compare funds to each other is a single class, along with risk statistics and ratios etc, ie at MFO Premium
  • edited February 2020
    It’s not hard to access the story incognito. If you have the Duck Go browser downloaded on your device it will get you in. Re TRP: They were #20 in the main ranking of fund houses (for 2919). Following those overall rankings (about 55) they provided additional (smaller) sub-sets of rankings, (tax free bonds, etc.) Frankly, it wasn’t worth my time to dig into all that.

    One year performance is just that. May or may not be representative of the firm’s quality. I think front-office interaction can say a lot about the depth and quality of a company. I owned some Strong funds in the late 90s. There were ominous signs in dealing with them (like nastiness from phone reps and confirmed trades not being executed for several days or not at all) that caused me to bail out early - about a year before the scandal broke. And, they continued to boast some pretty hot funds during that time - even though the old man was later found to have had his fingers in the til. So the small stuff like that can say a lot. In the case of T Rowe, they tend to be a bit more cautious on average with your money than many. I expect they’d rank a bit higher than last year during a down year, or even a “more average” up year.

    D&C wasn't among the top 55 from what I could tell. Yet they were favorably mentioned in the accompanying narrative. Likely, they stood out in one or more of the sub-sets I alluded to. Like the Kipplingers listings earlier this year, the Barron’s ranking amounted to good “financial porn”. No harm in looking at it. But I thought that for a low budget publication, Kipplingers had the better story.

    EDIT: There are 5 and 10 year rankings underneath the feature story. TRP did substantially better on those. #4 and #5 for 5 and 10 year periods respectively.
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