Messages: What Members Are Asking On-Line
by CI Staff
How do I find a directory of real estate mutual funds?
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CI editors respond: The Morningstar Web site provides a free screening utility that allows users to search for funds by Morningstar Category. Equity funds are normally divided by size (small, mid or large) and style (growth, value or blend). However, funds that invest in a specific industry or sector are segmented into their own category. It is therefore possible to use the free fund screener on Morningstar.com to obtain a list of funds investing in the real estate sector (see Figure 1). Currently, Morningstar tracks 172 real estate mutual funds, 74 of which are classified as no-load.
I just purchased NAICs Portfolio Record Keeper based upon the write-up in the September/October 2003 issue of Computerized Investing and was very disappointed to find that it did not handle short selling. Your article in May/June 2003 did show in the comparison table that there was no check for this capability, but I missed this. Also I noticed that this is the only package that could not handle this function. I am surprised that the summary Table 1 in that May/June issue did not state this as a limitation in the list of Cons, nor was it mentioned in the update in the September/October 2003 issue. What makes this even more frustrating is that NAIC has a policy that opened software cannot be returned for any reason. I am not sure about the other software package return policies, but I think that this return policy should be noted as a Con as well.
Other than the fact that I am out $94 for a program that is useless, I am very pleased with the Computerized Investing magazine; keep up the good work.
In the May/June 2003 issue of Computerized Investing, the portfolio management software comparison article lists the price of NAIC Portfolio Record Keeper at $69 for non-NAIC members. On the Web site for that company they show the price of the program at $129. Can you explain the discrepancy?
CI editors respond: Thank you for your comments. While most investors do not short stocks, most investment portfolio managers do provide that function. The National Association of Investors Corporation (NAIC) takes a long-term, low-turnover, buy-and-hold approach to investing, which might explain why their software does not support short-selling.
Return policies are an important issue and we will make an effort to note any restrictions or restocking fee in the future.
The NAIC software is produced by Quant IX software (www.quantixsoftware.com). Both Quant IX and the NAIC offer a free download of their program that works for 45 days. We strongly encourage members to test out demos and trial versions of programs. Even if a program supports all of the features that you are looking for, a quick run through the program may reveal that you do not like the interface or some other weakness.
When we reviewed portfolio management software in the May/June issue, we examined version 3 of the NAIC Portfolio Record Keeper, which sold for $69. Shortly after our comparison was published, the NAIC released version 4 of their program, which sells for a higher price of $129.