May 2018 IssueLong scroll reading

Premium Site Update – Much Expanded Data Feed

By Charles Boccadoro

“I’ve come loaded with statistics, for I’ve noticed that a man can’t prove anything without statistics.”

                                                                                              Mark Twain

We launched our premium site in November 2015. Its origin stems from our desire to identify funds that minimized downside performance across full market cycles, using metrics and evaluation periods not readily available on other sites at that time. Parameters of interest included maximum drawdown (MAXDD), Ulcer Index, Martin Ratio, and Recovery Time.

The internal search tool site we developed supported custom requests from David and Ed, and it quickly grew to include other metrics and unique ratings, like the legacy Three Alarm Funds and Fund Family Scorecard. We thought such tools might be of interest to individual investors and financial advisers, as well as provide thanks to contributors of the MFO non-profit. So, MFO Premium was launched.

The site has continued to evolve with the help of several betas testers (thank you teapot and openice) and from the positive feedback and customized format requests from our subscribers.

New Data Feed

The big news this month is we have reached an agreement with the good folks at Thomson Reuters (thank you Joy and John) to get access to the Thomson Reuters Lipper Global Data Feed (LGDF).

In addition to the 8100 US mutual funds and 2200 ETFs for which we currently maintain ratings, the new feed will include more than 600 Closed End Funds (CEFs) and 2200 Insurance Products. It will also include several new parameters that will enable enhanced screening and calculation of unique metrics. The new parameters include holdings data, specifically top ten portfolio positions in equities, fixed income, country, and industry.

Other new parameters include fund benchmarks that, along with our access to full holdings data, will enable the calculation of alpha, tracking error, information ratio, and active share … the latter is something only the folks at AlphaArchitect gave us access to for ETFs.

We will continue to have monthly data back to January 1960, as applicable, all share classes, numerous key indexes, and expanded portfolio metrics, like pay-out ratio, debt/equity, price to sales, price to cash, and a managed volatility attribute. Oh, and a nifty link to the fund advisor’s website.

Updated Site Organization and Features

In anticipation of the new feed, we reorganized and updated features on the premium site:

  • Our main tool MultiSearch now groups input and output parameters by Basic Info, Period Metrics & Ratings, Rolling Averages, Composite Period Ratings, MFO Designations, Portfolio Info, and Purchase Info, plus a “Summary Info” group of more popular metrics.
  • Added “Group” and “Column” options on MultiSearch results page, which enables showing or hiding various metrics by group (eg., “Period Metrics”) or individually.
  • Redesigned Commentary page using WordPress to better match format and features of our main This update also enables posting of subscriber comments, guest article submission, and site feedback. (I’m hopeful here is where David will start drafting his “Little Book of Mutual Fund Investing.”)
  • Added new Portfolios page, enabling users to save up to 10 WatchLists of 25 Symbols from MultiSearch.
  • Added sliding displays to make appearance more compact, especially move text to background, added header definition pop-ups on hover in MultiSearch screener, and enabled a column reorder feature.

Upcoming Improvements

A few key additions are inbound shortly…

The first is adding Upside Capture, Downside Capture, and Capture Ratio to the correlation metrics, which we discussed previously in “Against The Herd.” They will be available across all 21 evaluation periods on the site, including lifetime and market cycles, and versus S&P 500, US Aggregate Bond, US 60/40 Balanced, and World minus US indexes.

Did you know…?  Since the start of the current market cycle in November 2007 through March 2018 that both the S&P 500 and US Aggregate Bond indexes have been positive 82 months and negative 43 months.

The second feature is ability to assign holding allocations to the saved portfolios (watchlists), enabling all risk and performance metrics to be quantified at the portfolio level.

The third is expanding the ability to screen on Rolling Averages, first introduced in “Rolling Averages, Finally!” for any evaluation period, not just lifetime.

Finally, greatly expanded evaluation periods to include 1, 2, 3, 6, 9, 10-month (and YTD) periods; 1, 2, 3, 5, 7, 10, 12, 15, 20, 25, 30, 40, 50-year periods; lifetime (back to January 1960); and the current five up, down, and full-market cycles, again since January 1960.

Our last webinar (charts, recording) was January and we will plan the next one at mid-year mark to demonstrate all the new features. If you can’t wait that long, please drop us a note ([email protected]) and we will promptly set up a time to call or web conference.

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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.