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Computerized Investing > Third Quarter 2013

The Top Mutual Fund Screening Services

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by Joe Lan, CFA

At AAII, we provide numerous stock screens that are designed to allow investors to see how well different investment strategies have performed over the course of time. These stock screens offer a glimpse of the types of characteristics that strong stocks exhibit. Additionally, these screens offer users a way to winnow down a huge universe of stocks to a more manageable number so that you can perform further research on stocks worthy of your time. With thousands of exchange-listed companies to choose from, investors would be overburdened by the sheer number of possibilities if it were not for some screening method.

And while stock screening is widely used by investors, mutual fund screening seems to take a back seat. However, this should not be the case. The universe of mutual funds is actually much more expansive than the universe of stocks. While most of the top stock screeners available to individual investors cover a universe of around 5,000 to 10,000 companies, mutual fund screeners usually contain over 20,000 mutual funds. Furthermore, individual investors are more apt to invest in mutual funds than in individual stocks. According to ICI, U.S. households owned $14.7 trillion in mutual funds, ETFs, closed-end funds and unit investment trusts in 2012. Therefore, it can easily be argued that screening is more useful to mutual fund investors than to stock investors. But which fund screeners are worth looking at?

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