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My 401k options - Please help me in identifying good ones

edited January 2013 in Fund Discussions
Hi All,

I am long time vistor of this forum, from the days Fund Alarm.
My new employer have the following funds in the 401k plan and I need your help to identify good funds, just funds, not asset allocation.


Allianz NFJ International Value A LW AFJAX.lw
Premier OFI Global MGFSX Class S
Oppenheimer Developing Markets Y ODVYX

Large Value/Blend/Growth

Select Wellington Fundamental Value Fund MVUSX Class S
American Funds Washington Mutual R4 RWMEX
Select Harris Focused Value Fund MFVSX Class S
MM S&P 500 Index Fund MMIEX Class S
Fidelity Contrafund FCNTX


Perkins Mid Cap Value T JMCVX
Northern Mid Cap Index NOMIX
Select T. Rowe Price/Frontier Mid Cap Growth II MGRFX Class S

Small Cap
Invesco Select Companies A Load Waived ATIAX.lw
Invesco SmallCapValue A Load Waived VSCAX.lw
Select Small Cap Growth Fund MSGSX Class S

Asset Allocation/Bonds

Premier Babson Inflation-Protected and Income Fund MIPSX Class S
Select PIMCO Total Return MSPHX Class Y
Premier Babson High Yield Fund MPHSX Class S
Premier Babson Balanced Fund MBLDX Class S
Manning & Napier Pro-Blend Cnsrv Term S EXDAX

I know FCNTX, MGRFX, AFJAX, Pimco Fund (MSPHX), ODVYX and JMCVX are some of the better known names and discussed here as well as M* forums. Could you please provider your expert opinion and recommendations on these funds ?

Thanks a lot.



  • EXDAX is a fund to consider if you are looking for a conservative balanced fund.

    A lot of Funds are MassMutual variety which I am not familiar one. Even the PIMCO fund is MassMutual PIMCO which might mean not the exactly same thing as PTTAX/PTTRX but could be managed in a similar way.
  • In fact, the default investment choice was EXDAX until employee changes his/her options.
    I am in my early 40s and want have a moderately agressive portfolio. This account/amt is much smaller in comparison to my entire portfolio (Rollover IRA, Roth IRAs) and I have a pretty diversified portfolio using Vanguard funds and TD Ameritrade fund super market.
    It is all about finding good choices here and adjusting accordingly at other places.
    For example, I would take FCNTX anytime over Vanguard Large Growth funds.

    PIMCO fund is called total return fund and run by Bill Gross, so I think it is run with the same mandate.
  • Any other comments from regulars/ fund gurus.
  • Reply to @mrc70: It may be good to compile all the expense ratio of the MassMutual funds, which I expect to be higher with a second layer of fees. Pimco is most likely a subadvisor to this MassMutual fund. Personally I would avoid funds offer by insurance companies for the added fee alone without adding value.

    For now I would go with FCNTX and EXDAX.

    good luck.
  • This is a strange collection of funds, but not unusual for more 401k plans. I always wonder who puts these lists together. Certainly not anyone with participants' interests in mind, or maybe just out of ignorance. In this case, it would appear to be a rep from Mass Mutual, who no doubt is getting some kind of fee. There are some big holes in the options. No foreign/emerging market bonds at all. No alternative options at all (MFLDX, LASYX, etc). A dearth of decent, flexible fixed-income options (BSIIX, LSBDX, OSTIX). And no go-anywhere funds, like Ivy Asset Strategy, PIMCO All Asset All Authority, or FPACX.

    There are a few good funds, however. ODVYX is a clear winner. Latch on to it for your international exposure. VSCAX is a strong performer, too. I would pick FCNTX, since it's hard to find a better long-term large cap record than that of Will Danhoff. The bond options are not great, but MSPHX is probably the best bet. Its expense ratio is 0.67, which is ok. So there you have it. Use MSPHX as your conservative ballast, and allocate the others around it.

    EXDAX is a good option for a very conservative investor.

    Forget about MMIEX, RWMEX, JMCVX, and MSGSX.

  • Thanks Bob and everyone.

    Invested in the following funds for now, taking into consideration my other accounts.

    Select PIMCO Total Return MSPHX - 50%
    Select Wellington Fundamental Value Fund MVUSX - 10%
    Fidelity Contrafund FCNTX - 10%
    Invesco SmallCapValue A Load Waived VSCAX.lw - 10%
    Allianz NFJ International Value A LW AFJAX.lw - 10%
    Oppenheimer Developing Markets Y ODVYX - 10%

    My overall portfolio is around 70% stocks and 30% bonds. I use Vanguard and TDA fund super market for my other tax-deferred investments.
  • Hi Bob,

    I called the 401k administrator folks to expresess my displeasure but I know nothing would happen. Imagine 150k employee company having such a mediacre set of options. Nobody cares about it and none of them have the knowledge of investment options/funds that most of us have here on these forums.

  • Reply to @mrc70: It is indeed too bad that you will probably get no response. But if enough plan participants raise a fuss, the plan trustees might be forced to do a thorough review of plan investment options. The new laws that took effect last year put some fiduciary liability on trustees to be sure the options in the plan are truly diversified and that the selected funds ultimately benefit only the participants, not some salesperson who appears to be very uneducated in this case.

    In fact, everyone involved must do a review at least annually: custodian, plan administrator, investment advisor. And plan trustees should review all of the information prepared. A number of company plans now offer self-directed brokerage accounts with tons of no-commission funds available. These are almost always a better option than the core plan options, which are usually limited in their scope, but contain the basic required options.

    You might check to be sure that your plan does not have a self-directed brokerage account option. We have found these available when clients were totally unaware. They are often (deliberately, I think) hidden. And sometimes participants may only move 50% of their current assets to the self-directed account. But even that gives a way to really diversify outside the limited and often-poor core investment options.
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