CHAPTER NINETEEN INVESTMENT COMPANIES © 2001 South-Western College Publishing
The Investment Company Industry Open-End Investment Companies Closed-End Investment Companies Outline
Interpreting Past Performance
The Investment Company Industry The automatic diversification and professional management provided by mutual funds make it simple for even the smallest investor to participate in our capital markets. There are two types of investment companies: open-end funds and closed-end funds . The investment company industry
is a significant portion of the financial landscape in the United States.
An open-end investment company is commonly called a mutual fund . A mutual fund has no limit on the size of the fund or the number of shares outstanding. The value of a mutual fund share is called its net asset value . Open-End Investment Companies
Mutual fund shares are not sold in the traditional sense. Instead, they are redeemed by the fund management.
Upon opening an account with a mutual fund, the investor must select from among several options. Some common options are : - automatic reinvestment option - automatic monthly investment plan - periodic payment option Open-End Investment Companies
- telephone redemption option
A closed-end investment company has a fixed number of shares. Investors buy and sell these shares on an exchange just like shares of stock. Closed-End Investment Companies
The pricing of closed-end fund shares is a financial puzzle - they usually sell at a discount to their net asset value.
The Investment Company Industry : Regulation The Investment Company Act of 1940 provides the potential investor with some degree of protection from misleading advertising or incomplete investment information. Almost all mutual funds choose to
organize as a regulated investment company , so that any tax liability on capital gains and income can be passed on to the accountholders.
The Investment Company Amendments Act of 1970 serves primarily to clarify legal points. It mandates that the fund manager and the board of directors be held to fiduciary standards in their actions. The Investment Company Industry : Regulation
Many states have their own version of the Securities and Exchange Commission. Today, these blue sky laws function largely to inform investors of the suitability of certain proposed investments.
The Investment Company Industry : Regulation
The National Securities Markets Improvement Act of 1996 sought to largely eliminate Federal and state regulatory overlap. The principal effects include lower registration fees, lower broker-dealer margin fees, and ensuring that a fund’s name is consistent with its objective.
The Investment Company Industry : Fees Load funds have a salesforce and the shareholders have to pay a sales charge . If paid at the time of purchase, the fee is a front-end load . If levied when shares are sold, the fee is a back-end load , or contingent deferred sales charge . A no-load fund charges no sales commission. Most mutual funds separate their
charges into a number of categories.
The Investment Company Industry : Fees Source: Wiesenberger Mutual Funds Update , October 1999 Prevalence of Load Charges by Type
Certain expenses such as the management fee are associated with operating a mutual fund. These fees are measured by the fund’s expense ratio , which is the fund’s total expenses expressed as a percentage of the fund’s assets. The Investment Company Industry : Fees
Note that within the same fund, there may be several classes of shares with different fee combinations. Their relative merits depend on how long the investor anticipates keeping the investment.
The annual 12b-1 fees permit the fund manager to pass certain advertising costs on to the accountholders. A trailing commission is an annual fee paid to a broker, sometimes independent of the level of activity in the account or its size. Other fees include fund transfer charges, custodian fees, low-balance fees, account opening or closing fees etc. The Investment Company Industry : Fees
Studies indicate that the lower the expense ratio, the better the fund performance.
Rationale : Mutual funds provide automatic diversification, professional management, and convenience. Eligibility : One need only consider funds whose requirements, such as the minimum initial investment, are satisfied. Selecting A Mutual Fund
Interpreting Past Performance : Buying last year’s best performing mutual funds is seldom a winning strategy.
Selecting A Mutual Fund before-load (gross) return change in net asset value capital gains distributions income distributions beginning net asset value + + = after-load (net) return change in net asset value capital gains distributions income distributions beginning net asset value + + - = load fee
With a mutual fund, return comes from the change in the net asset value , capital gains distributions , and income distributions .
Money market funds invest in short-term government securities and sometimes in short-term corporate securities. They are used primarily as a temporary cash haven. Bond funds invest in fixed income securities. They vary widely, and have no common maturity date to simultaneously return the components to their par value. Selecting A Mutual Fund : Types of Funds
Stock funds vary widely in their risk and price behavior. They are classified as growth or value, and as large-cap or small-cap.
A balanced fund is a mixture of stocks and fixed income securities. It forces discipline on the fund manager. An international fund is limited to buying securities registered outside the country where it is sold, while a global fund can invest anywhere in the world. Selecting A Mutual Fund : Types of Funds
Fund of funds invest only in other mutual funds. Their diversification is good, but their expense ratios tend to be higher than that of the typical mutual fund.
Sector : Such funds invest in specific market sectors, such as physical commodities or stocks closely tied to natural resources e.g. oil, forest products, and gold. An index fund may be a stock or bond fund that tries to behave exactly like the market. A stock index fund, for instance, may seek to mirror the performance of the Standard & Poor’s 500 stock index. Selecting A Mutual Fund : Types of Funds
Investors should determine their investment objective first, and then choose an appropriate fund or group of funds.
One important item in the prospectus is the fund’s portfolio turnover rate . A higher rate usually means higher expenses. Information Sources : Company Information The Statement of Additional Information is required by the SEC, although it is generally only sent to accountholders upon their request. It is a more detailed version of the prospectus. The prospectus is a legal document
describing the operation of the fund, its management, and the fees accountholders must pay.
The internet is also a good source. Several periodicals like Forbes , Fortune and Business Week provide excellent coverage of the investment company industry. Information Sources : Commercial Services Some organizations like the Investment Company Institute publish some educational material for the public. Most public libraries carry some
reference material , such as the Morningstar Mutual Funds and the Weisenberger Investment Company Survey .
Review The Investment Company Industry Open-End Investment Companies Closed-End Investment Companies
Interpreting Past Performance