Monday, March 16, 2015

The Performance of Mutual Fund Managers

Jeff Sommer wrote an article in the New York Times this weekend about a recent study of mutual fund performance.  The findings support a longstanding body of literature, but nevertheless, they are worth sharing because they are so stark.  Sommer describes research conducted by Standard & Poors.  They examined over 2,800 actively managed domestic equity mutual funds from 2010.  They identified the top 25% performers during that year, and then examined how many of those funds stayed in the top 25% each subsequent year.  How many achieved that feat through 2014?  Only two! (Hodges Small Cap and AMG Southern Sun Small Cap).  Amazingly, Sommer notes that random chance would have outperformed these mutual fund managers during this time period.  If the managers of these funds had simply flipped a coin to select their stocks, we should have expected that three funds would have remained in the top 25% each year from 2010 through 2014! 

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