Editor’s Note: We received several comments about the new format of the Individual Investor’s Guide to the Top Mutual Funds (29th edition, February 2010), along with a few questions. Listed below is a sample of the letters we received.
I like the new format of the Top Mutual Funds Guide, especially your use of bold and red to highlight numbers of interest.
Last night I was studying bond funds and there are four columns that I think should be added in the future: duration; average maturity; manager tenure; and average credit quality.
I understand that there is a lot of data and you might have to give up something to include these. While I do like the Cat +/– column, it is redundant. If I had to choose between more data and the same data formatted differently, I would choose the additional data.
The new 29th edition of the Guide is by far the best publication of its kind for use by the average investor. It is practical, thorough and highlights what is important. It eliminates all the wasted time looking through load funds, institutional funds, closed funds, etc.
I do NOT like the new format of the Guide. I understand it is possibly due to the economics of the times, but it does not contain information on paid out dividends and capital gains—information which I use. Please go back to the previous book form.
I certainly like the new format of the Guide. It’s very handy, the size is compatible with the standard 8.5 × 11 binder and similar sheet sizes, and it takes less shelf space to store. It is amazing how you managed to get nearly all the data formerly contained in 488 pages into 36.
I say nearly because an important section is missing: There is no longer an alphabetical list of funds. It is now necessary to look through 40 fund categories to find a specific fund if you only have the name of the fund you want to research. Names can be misleading: For example, Janus Contrarian is not in the Contra Market category, but is found in the Global Stock category.
I would like to see an alphabetical index restored. Instead of the former page references (useless where 50 or more funds are on one page), funds would have to be referenced by category or by a number (if each fund were given a distinctive number).
Having been investing in stocks and mutual funds for over 50 years, I find your journal quite useful. Your periodic fund listing is great! But I note one serious omission. You do not list American Funds, and I am invested in seven of them. To my view, they have many good mutual funds. In addition to American, I have funds in Dodge and Cox, Oakmark, T. Rowe Price and Royce, as well as one each in Goldman Sachs and Oppenheimer. Until recently, I was in a Vanguard fund. All of these you cover, and many more, but no American Funds. Why?
A few members asked why American Funds were excluded from the Guide. The reason was the size of the loads and the sales restrictions associated with several of the family’s funds. If there is a specific fund you want data on that was excluded from the Guide, let us know. Depending on the fund, we may be able to provide information.
Also, be sure to visit the online version of our Top Mutual Funds Guide. Our downloadable spreadsheet includes over 1,400 sortable funds with expanded data on each.