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Monday, December 28, 2009

Jaffe Offers a Eulogy for the Defunct Funds of 2009

News summary by MFWire's editors

The mutual fund family shed more than a few members this year –- over 2,000 to be exact. In his Monday morning MarketWatch column, Chuck Jaffe reviews some of the notable mutual funds that perished in 2009, concluding that when a fund dies it's most often due to mediocre performance, marketing failures, a lackluster product, or key mistakes. The exception, in fewer cases, is the bright idea that unexpectedly dimmed.

First on the chopping block is Ameritor Security Trust –- ominously nicknamed the “Dead Man” funds by investors –- due to a combination of its consistently subpar performance, poor investment ideas, and high fees. Jaffe also highlights BlackRock Florida Municipal Bond fund as a bad investment idea and the Ralph Parks Cyclical Equity fund, which lost two-thirds of its value before biting the dust.

Inauspicious market timing and tough conditions claimed the Utopia Funds and the Kids Fund, which was launched in 2008 to help parents “seeking to educate their children on the virtues of investing” by investing in large, brand-name companies that appeal to kids. Other funds mentioned by Jaffe include the Free Enterprise Action Fund, and the MacroShares Major Metro Housing Up and MacroShares Major Metro Housing Down funds.

As for the mutual funds that called it quits despite what appeared to be sound investment ideas or respectable performance, Jaffe singles out Robert Markman's Markman Core Growth fund, Henderson Industries of the Future -– which was up 30 percent over the past 12 months -– AllState's ClearTarget funds, the Longevity series from Payden/Wilshire and Old Mutual's target-date funds, which failed to build a strong following. 

Edited by: Patricia Kelly


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