MFO Switches To Lipper Database

By Charles Boccadoro

lipper_logoOriginally published in October 1, 2015 Commentary

In weeks ahead, MFO will begin using a Lipper provided database to compute mutual fund risk and return metrics found on our legacy Search Tools page and on the MFO Premium beta site.

Specifically, the monthly Lipper DataFeed Service provides comprehensive fund overview details, expenses, assets, and performance data for US mutual funds, ETFs, and money market funds (approximately 29,000 fund share classes).

Lipper, part of Thomson Reuters since 1998, has been providing “accurate, insightful, and timely collection and analysis of fund data” for more than 40 years. Its database extends back to 1960.

The methodologies MFO uses to compute its Great Owl funds, Three Alarm and Honor Roll designations, and Fund Dashboard of profiled funds will remain the same. The legacy search tool site will continue to be updated quarterly, while the premium site will be updated monthly.

Changes MFO readers can expect will be 1) quicker posting of updates, typically within first week of month, 2) more information on fund holdings, like allocation, turnover, market cap, and bond quality, and 3) Lipper fund classifications instead of the Morningstar categories currently used.

A summary of the Lipper classifications or categories can be found here. The more than 150 categories are organized under two main types: Equity Funds and Fixed Income Funds.

The Equity Funds have the following sub-types: US Domestic, Global, International, Specialized, Sector, and Mixed Asset. The Fixed Income Funds have: Short/Intermediate-Term U.S. Treasury and Government, Short/Intermediate-Term Corporate, General Domestic, World, Municipal Short/Intermediate, and Municipal General.

The folks at Lipper have been a pleasure to work with while evaluating the datafeed and during the transition. The new service supports all current search tools and provides opportunity for content expansion. The MFO Premium beta site in particular features:

  • Selectable evaluation periods (lifetime, 20, 10, 5, 3, and 1 year, plus full, down, and up market cycles) for all risk and performance metrics, better enabling direct comparison.
  • All share classes, not just oldest.
  • More than twenty search criteria can be selected simultaneously, like Category, Bear Decile, and Return Group, plus sub-criteria. For example, up to nine individual categories may be selected, along with multiple risk and age characteristics.
  • Compact, sortable, exportable search table outputs.
  • Expanded metrics, including Peer Count, Recovery Time, and comparisons with category averages.

Planned content includes: fund rankings beyond those based on Martin ratio, including absolute return, Sharpe and Sortino ratios; fund category metrics; fund house performance ratings; and rolling period fund performance.

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About Charles Boccadoro

Charles Boccadoro, BS (MIT), Post Graduate Diploma (von Karman Institute, BELGIUM). Associate editor, data wizard. Described by Popular Science as “enthusiastic, voluble and nattily-dressed,” Charles describes himself as “a recently retired aerospace engineer.” He doesn’t brag about a 30 year career that included managing Northrop Grumman’s Quiet Supersonic Platform and Future Strike Systems projects, working with NASA and receiving a host of industry accolades. Charles is renowned for thoughtful, data-rich analyses and is the driving force behind the Observer’s fund ratings and fund screeners.