Berko: Tips on aggressive mutual funds
Tuesday, April 02, 2013 3:33 PM
Dear Mr. Berko:
A money manager you introduced me to in early 2007 has barely done a fair job of running my portfolio. In each of the past six years, I’ve taken out 6 percent, and my portfolio value is barely up from $500,000, which I started with, to $553,000. This isn’t much better than 10 percent over that six-year period. This is too conservative, and I’m not satisfied. I told him twice in the past two months that I want to be more aggressive. Last week, I told him again, and he still talks me out of it and tells me on the phone and by letter that my “profile does not meet the criteria,” plus other high-sounding phrases. So I’ve decided to move $453,000 from my account to a money manager here in Des Moines who can pick good stocks and has averaged more than 19 percent annually since 2002. Then I will invest the remaining $100,000 in four aggressive mutual funds. So would you please recommend four aggressive mutuals so I can put $25,000 in each?
B.R., Des Moines
As you know, I have been to Des Moines a few times and know a few folks there with whom I enjoy a warm relationship. And one of them is a retired accountant whom I’ve known for more than 20 years. I decided to ring him yesterday to chat about the market and the economy, to swap a few war stories and to ask about the new money manager you’re considering. Well, this fellow knows that money manager and urges you to call the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority’s BrokerCheck program at 800-289-9999 to inquire about this fellow’s disciplinary record. You’ll be glad you did. We both believe that a 19 percent average annual return for 10 years is highly unlikely. Even I can’t do that!
There are a few well-known aggressive no-load mutual funds that have earned very low double-digit returns for their one, three, five and 10-year reporting periods. The only way I know how to predict a fund’s future results is to review its past performance, cross my fingers and hope that the next 10 years will be as good as the past 10 years. Anyhow, each of the following four funds might be worth a $25,000 investment. But before you change advisers, visit the trust department of one of the banks in Des Moines for an appointment for a second opinion. It might be a swell idea to bring along a dozen doughnuts and several cups of coffee for companionability.
Fidelity New Markets Income Fund (FNMIX -$17.21) owns a $7.5 billion portfolio of Russian, Bolivian, Turkish, Brazilian, Slovenian, Venezuelan, Hungarian and emerging-market bonds, few of which have an A rating. John Carlson has managed FNMIX since 1995. This four-star fund pays a 4.29 percent dividend and has produced one-, three-, five- and 10-year returns of 19.9 percent, 12.8 percent, 11.1 percent and 12.6 percent, respectively.
Fidelity Small Cap Discovery Fund (FSCRX -27.79) is managed by Charles Myers, who has been with Fidelity since 1999. This five-star fund owns funky issues such as GrafTech International, The GEO Group, Berry Petroleum and Washington Federal in a $3.8 billion portfolio. Its one-, three-, five- and 10-year performance records of 24.1 percent, 18.1 percent, 12.4 percent and 12.3 percent, respectively, are excellent.
T. Rowe Price Health Sciences (PRSX-$46.73) has been run by Kris Jenner since 2000. He seems to have a knack for finding small companies with good futures. Jenner’s five-star $5.1 billion portfolio owns stuff such as Incyte, Pharmacyclics, Alexion Pharmaceuticals and Catamaran and has produced one-, three-, five- and 10-year returns of 31.9 percent, 19.4 percent, 10 percent and 14.2 percent, respectively.
Yacktman Focused Fund (YAFFX-$22.93), a five-star, $7.3 billion portfolio fund, has been run by Steve Yacktman since 2002. The pale blue chips Pepsi, Clorox, Procter & Gamble, Cisco, Microsoft and Johnson & Johnson fill his portfolio and have given him one-, three-, five- and 10-year returns of 10.5 percent, 10 percent, 10.5 percent and 10.9 percent, respectively, with low (2 percent) portfolio turnover.