Mutual Fund Returns May Not Be As They Seem!
Arthur Levitt, during his tenure at the SEC, experienced many cases where the non-indexed mutual fund manager bought shares for their own accounts before the fund bought the shares. The fund's purchases drove up the price of the stocks and the fund manager's made a killing on the deal. This is called "front running," and is illegal under securities laws.
Mr. Levitt also witnessed instances where the funds would buy huge blocks to run up the stock price at the end of the financial reporting period. This made the fund look like it had a high profit when it did not. This makes the fund's performance look better than it really is.
The SEC brought enforcement cases against some of the largest and most respected companies during Mr. Levitt's tenure as SEC chairman. A mutual fund run by Van Kampen Investment Corp. for example, claimed in public advertisements that it had returned 62 percent in 1996. This information caused the fund-rating service Lipper Inc to report the mutual fund as the top performer in its class, a full 20% ahead of the second-best performing fund in the category.
But investors weren't told that the excellent returns of the Van Kampen fund were on tiny assets of $200,000.00 to $380,000.00. This is because it was really a so-called incubator fund operating on seed money until its portfolio manager could establish a track record for marketing purposes. Nor were investors told that more than half the returns came from investments in thirty-one hot IPOs. An IPO is an "Initial Public Offering" that occurs when a firm first offers its stock across a public exchange. Since the stock is new nobody knows how it will perform except insiders.
The fund only had to buy between 100 and 400 shares of each IPO to achieve a huge amplification of the returns. The 62% return unrealistically raised investor expectations and was unsustainable. When senior managers of Van Kampen decided to sell the fund to the public some 15,000 people invested $100,000,000.00 within six weeks. Van Kampen settled SEC charges that it had misled investors. What a bunch of con artists. The modern day mutual fund is like a remake of the movie "The Sting" where Paul Newman's character has been replaced by the fund manager!
A fund run by Dreyfus Corp., owned by Mellon Financial Corp., paid almost $3 million to settle, without admitting or denying guilt, similar charges of fraudulently luring investors with unsustainable returns. Its manager claimed returns of more than 80%, but failed to tell investors that the fund had received a disproportionate number of IPO shares that should have been allocated to other Dreyfus funds.
The fund industry should work less on image creation and more on making sure that it has done everything it can to safeguard investor's money and boost returns. The mutual fund industry has become a financial powerhouse over the past twenty years and only cares about how much money it can suck out of the public just as it was at the turn of the last century when they were called investment pools. Funds are glitzy marketing operations instead of stewards of other people's money. Don't put your trust in them unless they are fully indexed like the Vanguard 500 (VFINX).
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Dr. Scott Brown, Ph.D., a.k.a. "The Wallet Doctor", is a successful futures trader, real estate investor, and stock investor. Dr. Brown holds a Ph.D. in finance from the University of South Carolina. His 1998 articles in Technical Analysis of Stocks and Commodities were prophetic in predicting an impending stock market crash. He has helped many people become profitable investors by teaching them to look out over many years to spot stocks that are low and primed for rise in the new bull market. His second article met with approval by Dr. Bob Shiller of Yale University. Dr. Shiller is the economist that Alan Greenspan most highly regards who coined the term "Irrational Exuberance." In 1998 he shouted to the world to "get out" of the stock market but now he is shouting to everyone that it is time to "get in!" The Wallet Doctor is not only sought after for investment advice and coaching in stock investing but also in futures trading and real estate investing. Visit Dr. Brown's site at http://www.BonanzaBase.com or sign up for his investment tips at http://www.WalletDoctor.com
Retire Dollar Smart
Jim Miller is a registered investment advisor. This means that he is not beholden to a particular brokerage or financial institution. As such, he does not charge monthly fees for "money-managing"; instead, through a consultation fee he is free to give whatever advice will best benefit his clients; he doesn't have to serve them whatever "flavor of the month" the brokerage or financial institution happens to like at that point in time. His investment advice in his book, "Retire Dollar Smart," is clear and filled with common sense.
Guru Focused: Robert Olstein?s Short Sells
While it is rather rare that value gurus sell stocks short, Robert Olstein has been selling short in his Financial Alert Fund. The accountant-turned fund manager spots values by looking behind the numbers. In the second quarter of 2004, Robert Olstein sold short American Italian Pasta Co. (PLB) at $31. After about 6 months he covered at $20, easily made more than $1 million for his fund. Currently he is shorting two stocks: Computer Sciences Corp (CSC) and Fleetwood Enterprises Inc (FLE), although things do not always go that smoothly.
Four Key Components To Building A Trading System
Need some insight on what you should really be striving for when you're building a mechanical trading system? When it comes down to it, there are really only a few criteria that are used in judging the merits of a trading system. The most obvious one is profitability - does the system work? But really, there's more to it than just that. The number of wins versus the number of losses is important too, but there's a lot of latitude there if the profitability is high. The size of the average win versus the size of the average loss tends to be held as important, and it is. However, that criteria is correlated to the number of wins and losses, so again, there's a lot of leeway there. The one thing that is too often overlooked is the consistency of a system. The fancier term for this is 'drawdown', but it's just a matter of consistency.....you'll see why below. Each of these four components is examined below, and then some of the common mistakes made when folks start building trading systems are discussed.
Going Offshore For Asset Protection
There are a number of key reasons why individuals and businesses consider going offshore for asset protection purposes.
Trading Tips No 4: Technical Analysis The Holy Grail Syndrome
Everyone knows that the Holy Grail of investing and trading is a myth. Finding a good technical analysis tool that will give you a trading system that wins all the time is called the holy grail of trading. This means that one would never have a losing trade, not to mention consecutive losing trades, never have an equity curve drawdown, and after five winning trades in a row will just keep on delivering winning trades forever! There is simply no technical analysis or system that wins on every trade.
Stocks: Reduce Risk Yet Maximize Profits
It is important to note that every smart investor wants to minimize risk while maximizing profit potential. Yet conventional investment theory tells us that in order to increase returns, you have to increase risk.
Just Say NO to Your Stock Broker
We have all heard that slogan that started back when Nancy Reagan was in Washington. It was all about drugs. Now I want to remind you this can be your slogan when you get one of those telephone solicitations from a strange broker or even your own stockbroker who is acting a little strange. By that I mean he wants you to buy something.
How To Start Investing For Financial Independence, Part 1
Today, I am going to start a multi-part series about how to go from being a beginning investor to being "financially independent" in a steady and predictable way. At our website, we get tons of e-mails about how do I start, how do I start with little $'s, etc., etc., etc. If you are asking this question, congratulations because you are ahead of most. All of us have been there at some point.
Reasons For Joining An Investment Club
Whether you're a novice investor or an experienced stock picker an investment club may be beneficial to growing your investment portfolio. This article explains what an investment club is, why you should have an investment program and finally why you should join an investment club.
Retirement is Never Urgent Until
If you're like many people, your retirement savings have not been growing consistently over the years. We're not referring to the wild fluctuations in the stock market, but rather the fluctuations in our short-term needs. Every once in a while, it just seems like a good idea to yank ALL those retirement savings out and pay for something.
Investing Online Has Its Rewards: Find Out How To Take Advantage Of Them
Computerized investing. Online investing. Have you taken the next step yet? These days among savvy investors, online investment resources are synonymous with opportunity.
Find Your Investing Soulmate on the Jersey Turnpike
As a followup to a previous column, "Irreconcilable Differences," I received an e-mail from a reader asking how she could ensure, ahead of time, investment compatibility with a future spouse.
How To Create Wealth In The Stock Market
First and foremost, an opportunistic strategy for creating wealth in the stock market is needed. And the opportunistic strategy for creating wealth in the stock market must have two ingredients, a plan and a goal. The plan must be a definite, concrete plan of investing that would profit you and your family for the rest of your lives.
Fundamentals of Option Pricing
When one begins to consider an option, it is very important to figure out how the premium is calculated. Option premiums depend on a variety of factors including the time left to expiry as well as the price of the underlying security. There are two parts to an option premium: intrinsic value and time value. Consequently, several different factors have an influence on intrinsic and time value.
Making Every Penny Count
More and more workers are leaving their jobs and taking their 401 k retirement plan funds with them. While some are rolling their funds over into IRAs or other qualified plans; many are taking their distributions in cash. Once an employee has left the job, any payments of earned vacation, sick or other leave made after leaving the job were not considered for inclusion in deferrals to Solo 401k, 401(k), or 403(b) plans. These plans' definition of compensation excluded any post employment earnings as the IRS excluded it from the definition. As far as these plans' were concerned, it's as if the money was never earned.
Beta Factors: How They Can Be Used In The Current Situation
Ever since the turn of the century, world stock markets have been very volatile. In other words there have been significant movements (up or down) in share prices. This phenomenon has been evidenced by the collapse in recent years of the share prices of the dot com companies (e.g. Yahoo, Amazon etc.) and the sharp falls in the share prices of telecommunication stocks (e.g. British Telecom, Marconi etc.). Yet despite these events there is very little emphasis placed on measuring the volatility of stocks.
Going Against the Conventional Investment Wisdom
First of all, I want to give everyone the disclaimer that I am not a registered financial advisor and I don't play one on TV. Therefore, I cannot legally provide financial advice and I will not do so. This is for informational purposes only and I'm not recommending any of my personal investment strategies to anyone else. Now, with that being said, I will outline some techniques I use for my personal investment strategy, without going into a whole lot of specifics. I generally go against the conventional investment wisdom that you are accustomed to hearing, although I do use both a conservative and a not-so-conservative strategy.
Why Do You Want to Become a Online Trader?
Motivational guru Tony Robbins teaches that the reason for doing something rates much higher than the methods you use to get the job done. In order to make your goal REAL, you need to attach severe, horrifying, intense and profound fear to failure.
Brain Snappers and Other Wall Street Nonsense
The last time you spoke with your broker did he use any of the following words? Diversification, Price-to-earnings ratios, discretionary trading, lifting a leg (he's talking to you not your dog), leverage, divergence, fee-based compensation, escalator clause, tactical asset allocation and other mesmerizing words to place you in stupefying shock.
When It Comes To Investing, Asking The Right Questions Can Help You Make The Right Decisions
Are you ready to open your pathway to financial independence?
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