May 1, 2012, A brief note

By Editor

Dear Gentle Reader,

There will be a slight delay in publishing the May 2012 issue of the Observer.  In the past 24 hours I’ve been laid low by a particularly unattractive virus.  While our monthly essay is pretty much done, I haven’t been able to complete the final pre-publication quality review.  With luck (and a lot of medicine), we’re hopeful of having the May issue available on the evening of May 1st.

Highlights of some of the stories we’re pursuing this month include:

The Greatest Fund that Isn’t.  As of mid-April 2012, data services reported one fund with 180% year-to-date returns.  It turns out to be an old and occasionally troubled friend that’s not quite a fund any longer.

The Return of the Giants, a review of the cheerful notion that the “star managers” have regained their footing in 2012.

“A Giant Sucking Sound” and Investor Interest in Mutual Funds. We’ve updated our link to Google’s analysis of interest in mutual funds and the picture isn’t getting brighter.  We suspect that fund companies, in too many instances, abet the decline through insensitive, desultory communications with their shareholders, so we talk about really good shareholder communication and a new service designed to help smaller fund companies get better.

The Best of the Web: Curated News Aggregators.  Google News manages to draw 100,000 clicks a minute with its collection of mechanically assembled and arranged content.  News aggregators offer a useful service, and it’s possible for you to do a lot better than robo-edited content.   Junior highlights two first rate, human curated aggregators (Abnormal Returns and Counterparties).

As always, we offered new or updated profiles of four cool funds (Amana Developing World, Artisan Global Value, FMI International and LKCM Balanced).

There’s important news from a half dozen fund companies, including a new fund in registration that represents a collaboration of two fine firms, RiverNorth and Manning & Napier.

Except for our monthly highlights and commentary, all of the new content is available now using the navigation tabs along the top of this page.

Thanks for your patience and regrets for the delay,