The Big Secret The Mutual Funds Don’t Want You To Know… Index

Non-indexed mutual funds try to keep it secret that actively managed mutual very funds rarely do better stock market indexes. The higher fees of the managed funds really make it hard for these funds to out compete indexed funds. Smart financial journalists occasionally rat out fund managers for not educating the public in this regard. When this happens the mutual fund managers make a feeble attempt at self defense by pointing to something called the 5% rule.

This rule says that for a fund to market itself as diversified it cannot have more than 5% of 75% of the funds total assets in a single stock. In other words, a fund can have 25% of its holdings in a single stock, but the remaining 75% must follow the 5% rule. The 5% rule was created by the Investment Company Act Requirement. Fund managers claim that this hampers their performance instead of admitting that they are in the business just to clip you for high fees while the mutual fund under-performs the general market.

The truth is that the big killer is the herd mentality of active fund managers. They follow each other around buying and selling the same junk. They flock to the same familiar companies and often overlook the new, obscure companies that show great promise. They take great comfort in knowing that, even if their fund misses out on a great opportunity, most of the others in its group will too. They also know that they can pull their huge fees out during the whole time your retirement savings are parked in their fund. Over the years they spend a lot of marketing money to make you think that they actually care.

That is certainly not the attitude I want the manager of my retirement to have! You should be asking your self why the mutual funds don’t just mimic the same portfolio stock composition as a major index like the S&P 500 stock market index. Well, some have and those that are indexed out perform actively managed funds at the minimum management cost. For this reason I strongly recommend that if you can only buy mutual funds as in the case of the 401(k) then restrict your purchases to indexed funds like the Vanguard 500 (VFINX).

About the Author: Dr. Scott Brown, Ph.D., the Wallet Doctor, is a successful investor. Dr. Brown holds a Ph.D. in finance. The Wallet Doctor is sought after for investment advice and coaching. For more information visit Dr. Brown’s site at or sign up for his investment tips at

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