July 1, 2024

By David Snowball

Dear friends,

Welcome to Really, Really Summer … and to the July issue of Mutual Fund Observer.

Summertime is an especially blessed and cursed interval for those of us who teach. On the one hand, we’re mostly freed from the day-to-day obligation to be in the classroom. Some of us write, some travel, and some undertake “such other duties as may from time to time be assigned” by our colleges. On the other hand, we hear the clock ticking. All year long, as we try to face down a stack of 32 variably literate essays at 11 p.m. Sunday night, we think “If I can just make it to summer, I’ll Continue reading →

Morningstar Celebrates 40th Year – MICUS Chicago 2024

By Charles Boccadoro

Morningstar held its annual investment conference [Morningstar Investment Conference US (MICUS) 2024] last week in Chicago, on 26 and 27 June. It employed a new venue and conference schedule: The Navy Pier and a chock-full, two-day agenda. The 292-foot-wide Pier, which opened originally in 1916, and was “built by the city for the people, is the largest in the world, projecting east 3,040 feet into Lake Michigan. It remains the longest public pier in the world today.”

The occasion also Continue reading →

Families you can trust

By David Snowball

Fund families that get it right, over and over

Briefly brilliant performance isn’t all the tough. It requires rather more luck the skill and it can be wildly profitable for the adviser, though deadly for the investors. ARK Innovation ETF is, of course, the current poster child for boom-then-bust. The fund posted triple-digit returns in 2020, saw its assets explode then promptly (and predictably) crashed. Anyone who bought five years ago and has devoutly held on has lost 1% annually and has trailed 99.9% of all similar investors. Those who bought at the peak three years ago have clocked annual Continue reading →

If Berkshire Hathaway was a mutual fund, what would it be?

By Charles Lynn Bolin

My largest holding by far is an actively managed, total stock market fund of funds with a tilt toward large-cap growth stocks.  According to multpl.com, the Price-to-earnings ratio of the S&P 500 is 28.5 which is 50% higher than the average of 19.8 since 1970 and higher than 80% of the years since 1970. Table #1 shows the price-to-earnings ratio of Vanguard sectors and style exchange-traded funds. While most sectors are Continue reading →

Artisan Partners and the international investing conundrum

By Devesh Shah

International Investing in Theory

Sometimes I wish I lived in Theory. In Theory, investing is such a reasonable, predictable activity. Theoretical Investors know that they’re buying pieces of a company’s future earnings stream. And, being rational, they know that they’re better off buying $1 worth of future earnings for $0.60 rather than for $0.90. In Theory, investors will logically and smoothly migrate from high-cost providers to low-cost providers of an earnings stream.

In Theory, if investors Continue reading →

The Most Consistent Winners, 2013-2024

By David Snowball

Our colleague Devesh Shah has been in search of a reason to have any direct international exposure. That is, for an answer to the question, “Why should I invest one cent in an international equity fund?” He notes that the default for many endowment portfolios is 18% international, but that – over the course of the 21st century so far – the actual efficient frontier portfolio held only 5% international equity.

International stocks are 40% of the total global capitalization. They are Continue reading →

fountain pen writing a note

Briefly Noted

By TheShadow


Effective June 3, 2024, David Baron and Michael Baron became Co-Presidents of Baron WealthBuilder Funds and of Baron Asset Management. Ron Baron remains Chairman, CEO, and Portfolio Manager.

On or about August 28, 2024, IQ Winslow Large Cap Growth ETF and IQ Winslow Focused Large Cap Growth ETF will change from semi-transparent active ETFs to fully transparent active ETFs which will publicly disclose all of its actual portfolio holdings on a daily basis. Continue reading →