Three Alarm Funds

As of 2019, this page is no longer being updated.


Three Alarm Funds are the worst performers in their categories. More precisely, they have delivered absolute returns in the bottom quintile of their categories during the past 1, 3, and 5 years.

They are updated each quarter using the methodology described in “Three Alarm Funds Redux.” Latest results are presented in the first table below. If you own a fund on this list, you should check to understand why it appears at least to be performing so poorly.

Values tabulated in the table include 3-year annualized standard deviation percentage (STDEV) and annualized percentage returns (APR) for the past 1, 3, and 5 years.

Return Ratings are assigned to each fund for all the three evaluation periods. Funds recieve a “-2” (highlighted in red) for being in the bottom quintile, while those in top quintile receive a “2” (blue).

A Risk Rating is also assigned based a “potential bad year” relative to other funds in the same category. Funds get a “2” (highlighted in red) for being highest risk and a “-2” (blue) for being lowest risk. (Caution: This rating measures a fund’s risk relative to other funds in same category, so a fund in a high volatility category like energy can have high absolute risk relative to market, even if it has a low risk rating in its category.)

The funds are sorted initially by broad investment Type (bond, alternative, mixed asset, equity, and commodity), then by Category, and then by 3-year APR. Use icons in lower right corner to view full-size spreadsheet in Excel online, which includes supports search and print, or download. If having trouble viewing, click here.

The next table presents Honor Roll Funds, which have delivered absolute returns in the top quintile of their categories during the past 1, 3, and 5 years. If you own any fund on this list, congratulations! If nothing else, the list provides good contrast to the Three Alarm list.


  • The MFO Rating System evaluates oldest share class only.
  • All metrics computed using monthly total returns from Lipper Global Data Feed, which includes U.S. mutual funds, ETFs, CEFs, and insurance funds. Note that insurance funds typically use a CUSIP number for Symbol or Ticker.