Mutual Funds

Current Commentary

April 1, 2019

Dear friends,

It’s been an especially distressing month. Rapid and widespread flooding following a hard winter destroyed the lives and livelihoods of many thousands of good folks in eastern Nebraska and western Iowa. Levees failed, bridges and roads were swept away, homes and equipment left mangled. Many are in despair at the loss of thousands of newborn calves, with loss to private and public property exceeding a billion dollars. At the same time, Cyclone Idai, the second-worst in the region’s history, swept across eastern Africa, likely killing more than a thousand and leaving hundreds of thousands homeless and hungry. While it is only “weather,” persistent patterns in the weather define our climate and the pattern of the past five years has been increasing numbers of extreme weather events.  We really need to work together to figure out how best to manage these challenges.

Speaking of challenges, presidential wannabees are beginning to Continue reading →

Our Mission

David Snowball, PublisherThe Mutual Fund Observer writes for the benefit of intellectually curious, serious investors— managers, advisers, and individuals—who need to go beyond marketing fluff, beyond computer- generated recommendations and beyond Morningstar’s coverage universe.

We are non-profit, non-commercial, independent and accessible. Our special focus is on innovative, independent new and smaller funds. MFO’s mission is to provide readers with calm, intelligent arguments and to provide independent fund companies with an opportunity to receive thoughtful attention even though they might not yet have drawn billions in assets. Its coverage universe has been described as “the thousands of funds off Morningstar’s radar,” a description one fund manager echoes as “a Morningstar for the rest of us.”

What the Observer Provides

A monthly commentary, featuring a variety of voices that speak from many different perspectives but who all share the same values: intelligence, respect, civility.

Profiles of funds you ought to know more about. We ask three questions to start:

  1. Is there any reason this fund should even exist, other than because the manager needs a job?
  2. Is there any reason to believe that the manager can execute the strategy?
  3. Is there any reason to believe that the manager will end up sabotaging it?

If we find satisfactory answers to all three, we start digging through the public record, proceed to speak with the managers and end up defending a judgment.

Rich analytics focusing on risk, as well as rosters of distinguished and disastrous funds.

A lively discussion board, whose active members are diverse, lively, passionate …and occasionally hilarious.


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