Hello: newbie here. I know this topic of "oldest funds" has been covered before; it was an internet search for it that first led me to Mutual Fund Observer. Feel free to answer with a simple link to posts that pre-date my joining.
Typical Internet search hits for this topic (e.g., investopedia) focus on the oldest funds "still active today." That's not very helpful for my purposes.[survivorship bias etc.] I have the 1939 SEC report (Part 2) which shows all the largest mutual funds in existence as of 1936 *under their names at the time.* And older copies of the Wiesenberger yearbook can sometimes track what happened to items on the SEC fund list (e.g., Quarterly Income Shares, 4th largest as of 1936, was merged into American Business Shares, a Calvin Bullock fund).
But it is hit and miss. Just by chance did my eyes fall on a note that "Incorporated Investors" (2nd largest) became Putnam Investors in 1966.
I'm still trying to track down the current name of "State Street Investment." (3rd largest, under that name through 1965).
That's one specific query. Anyone have some tips? A database (in my dreams) that tracks defunct mutual fund names, or would surface the fact that Putnam Investors used to be called Incorporated Investors"?
That's where I struggle.
Oldest Mutual Funds Still in Existence (2019 thread)
Second Oldest Stock Fund Is As Nimble As A Teenager (2014 thread)
As to the merger of Quarterly Income Shares into American Business Shares in 1944, you can find the NYTimes story reporting it here. This was a case of the minnow ($5M company) swallowing the whale ($21M).
According to a 1942 NYTimes article, American Business Shares was sponsored by Lord, Abbett Co., Inc.
According to the SEC, American Business Shares changed its name on April 4, 1976 to Lord Abbett Income Fund, Inc., and from that to Lord Abbett US Government Securities Fund, Inc. on January 27, 1986.
Again according to the SEC, that first change involved a "change from Delaware to Maryland corporation accompanied by change in name, fundamental investment objective and institution of policy requiring automatic redemption of small accounts"
In 1997, the SEC announced the fund's impending demise: https://www.sec.gov/news/digest/1997/dig042297.pdf
As to Affiliated Fund, Inc. that's easy. Do a search on the name, you'll come up with Lord Abbett Affiliated Fund. That fund's webpage gives its inception date as 5/14/34, noting that the fund changed its investment strategy on 1/1/50.
On p. 735, both Loomis-Sayles Mutual Fund, Inc. and Loomis-Sayles Second Fund, Inc. appear. Only the "second" fund appears on p. 877's short list.
"Prior to establishing CGM, Mr. Heebner was at Loomis, Sayles & Company where he managed [CGM Mutual Fund], then known as Loomis Sayles Mutual Fund."
Likewise, on p. 738 is listed "Second Investment Fund of Security Management Co. (predecessor of Broad Street Investing Co., Inc., The)". Broad Street Investing Corp. was the name of Seligman Common Stock Fund prior to April 26, 1982.
https://www.referenceforbusiness.com/history2/65/J-W-Seligman-Co-Inc.html NYTimes, October 14, 1929, p. 44
There's a much more complete list of investment trusts and investment companies in Appendix A of Part 1 of the SEC study, starting on p. 114.
That would be a good guess. But it wasn't quite a name change. Kiplinger says that T. Rowe Price only started its first mutual fund in 1950.
In 1992, T. Rowe Price buried the real history of this fund (which existed at the time) and substituted the history of a different fund, Axe-Houghton Fund B, which had an earlier inception date. In short, RPBAX was created well after 1939, but you'll never know when.
According to RPBAX's SAI, In 1992, the NYTimes reported: https://www.nytimes.com/1992/10/03/your-money/IHT-briefcase.html
Here's a little bit more about Axe-Houghton Fund B and USF&G: http://www.managerreview.com/su_companydetails.php?iCompanyId=906&CompanyName=Axe-Houghton Assoc.
Axe-Houghton Fund B apparently dates back to August 5, 1938, but it might not have been offered for sale until its stated 1939 inception date. I'll leave it for others to resolve that minor discrepancy.
Astonishing about the T. Rowe Price acquisition. A reminder that any time there is an old date for a name that doesn't match slightly younger yearbooks, Morningstar or Wiedenberger, then probably there is a merger of this kind, following perhaps arcane SEC rules about 'a fair rendition of the full history.' Or not, as in the two examples from your earlier post.
I can add one tidbit. The "Administered Fund Second" is in Table 264 of the 1939 SEC report, established 1934. The 1946 Wiedenberger yearbook indicates that Axe Houghton took it over and made it part of AH A. AH A and B were still separate as of 1966 (my latest W*). AH B was very small in 1946, too small for Wiedenberger to discuss, but had come into its own by 1955.
My guess is that both A and B were consolidated prior to the T. Rowe Price merger, but that's supposition. Both were balanced funds, at least by 1955.
Unfortunately, almost all the early closed-end funds were leveraged, and most were not diversified common stock funds exclusively. And there was an enormous bust after 1929, on the order of the South Seas bubble, with incredible survivorship bias when examined from a later period. So, regretfully, I have (thus far) decided not to include closed-ended funds.
But it's a choice I'll have to defend, and its good to be reminded of the Barron's piece.