Monday, April 23, 2012

When Mutual Fund Management Changes Is It Time To Sell?

Asset Allocation on Wikibook
Asset Allocation on Wikibook (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Mutual funds come in many different types and styles. With over 5,000 different mutual funds out there, knowing the right one to choose is difficult. When you finally make the choice of a mutual fund you have the concern of when will be a time to sell it. What percentage of decline are able to endure. On the upside, when do you sell it to take profits. It's can be confusing.

Recently, Howard B. Schow, 84, a well-regarded manager of Vanguard mutual funds such as the $30.1-billion Vanguard Primecap, died of natural causes April 8 at Huntington Hospital in Pasadena. Schow's years at Vanguard started when he landed the contract with Vanguard to run its new Primecap fund. Schow was at Vanguard and work along side Jack Bogle for many years.

Schow's management style cited the importance of patience to go along with savvy stock picking. "We don't go for 20% or 30% gains," Schow said. "We go for triples, quadruples, octuples. But that takes years." "A lot of doing well is drudgery," he added. These quotes come from a rare 1994 interview with Forbes magazine, the publicity-averse Schow cited the importance of patience to go along with savvy stock picking.

Now that Schow's influence on the company is gone, how will this affect the performance of the mutual fund if any. Should the investor jump ship or hang in there and see what happens?

According to, there are eight reasons to dump a mutual fund. Forbes advice is that there does come a time when selling is a good idea because even though buy and hold is recommended, it's not forever.

Portfolio Rebalancing.
In your mutual fund portfolio you have an asset allocation that conforms to your risk tolerance and long term investing plans. Some mutual funds do better than others and gain a disproportional percentage of the portfolio. Selling off the gainers and rebalancing the entire portfolio, through purchases and sales, puts your investments back into the asset allocation that your plan calls for.

Mutual Fund Changes.
Here is where Howard B. Schow's passing on can be a reason to sell the investment. Will his investment style continue on now that he is gone? He has been a manager for so long and his day to day influence even to the end could possibly influence the fund for years to come. But eventually his successors will flex their muscles and run things the way the want to, it's inevitable.

Investor Growth.
A novice investor usually starts out investing in mutual funds. They feel other forms of investing like stocks, bonds, real estate, and collectibles is to complicated while mutual funds are relatively simple. As the investor increases in experience, there is an urge to try out other types of investing.

Life Cycle Changes.
While in the accumulation phase, the investors prefers stocks as a big part of the portfolio. But as the investor's needs change they may want less volatility so they move away from equities. The investing goals may change causing a shift out of the market to more fixed and safer investments. Moving to safer products or college savings plans does restructure the portfolio.

Sometimes you just pick the wrong mutual fund. You may find that the fund is too volatile for their tastes. You could also have too many investments for one type of asset allocation and you want to adjust to simplify your portfolio.

Something Better Comes Along.
This doesn't refer to chasing the high flyer's or fad mutual funds. If you can find an investment that is doing something in a way that is better than what you have now, maybe you should consider moving to it. Finding mutual funds that are doing what you need to have done in the style you need it done in a way that will increase your return and save you money .

Tax Reduction.
Mutual funds held in taxable accounts, might be down substantially from their purchase price. They can be sold to realize capital losses that are used to offset taxable capital gains and thus lower taxes.

Keep in mind the sales charges, short term trading fees and taxes when you want to sell. If any of these factors don't apply then all the better reason to sell.

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  1. Whether to sell Primecap or not would depend on what Vanguard does with the fund..... who do they assign the day to day management, does this person or team have a consistent investment philosophy and do they have a consistent track record, and so on.....

  2. Wow it’s amazing. I like the way you explain about mutual fund changes.


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