The Individual Investor's Guide to The Top Mutual Funds 2012
Mutual fund assets totaled more than $11.6 trillion on November 30, 2011, according to the Investment Company Institute. This is a slight decrease from December 2010, when assets totaled $11.8 trillion.
The total amount of assets shows the important role mutual funds continue to play in portfolios. Mutual fund assets exceeded exchange-traded fund (ETF) assets last year by a margin of 10 to one. A key reason for the continued popularity of mutual funds is that they give individual investors low-cost access to professional money managers. Mutual funds provide instant exposure to a wide variety of assets and investment strategies, including growth, value and income.
Mutual funds also remain a top choice for investors who want to mimic the performance of an index, a strategy known as passive investing. Though most ETFs follow passive strategies, Vanguard’s Total Stock Index (VTSMX) continues to be the largest index fund, exceeding even the popular SPDR S&P 500 ETF (SPY) in size.
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