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Old mutual funds
Old 02-01-2008, 03:04 AM   #1
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Old mutual funds

I was cleaning up and going through some old stuff and I found a list of old mutual funds from 1993.

After looking into mutual funds a lot recently I realized that some of these funds no longer exist that were around in 1993.

When I used mutual fund screens I noticed that very very few funds showed a loss after 10 years. At first I thought that was because it's very likely that what they were invested in went up in that amount of time.

But now I'm wondering if some of the funds that did bad no longer exist. I can't find any info on some of the funds that are no longer around that were around in 1993.

I just wanted to see if anyone knew what happens to these funds that no longer exist. And if that explains what so very few funds seem to show losses over 10 years...maybe the ones that do bad just get canceled or something.

Jim
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Old 02-01-2008, 08:34 AM   #2
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list the funds.
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Old 02-01-2008, 08:34 AM   #3
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Ah, survivorship bias at its best. Yes, usually the MF's that do terrible are either closed or merged into another fund. It nicely erases the poor performance history.

If you post the names of the funds i'm sure someone can find out what happened to them.

- Alec
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Old 02-01-2008, 10:51 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by ats5g View Post
Ah, survivorship bias at its best. Yes, usually the MF's that do terrible are either closed or merged into another fund. It nicely erases the poor performance history.
I am trying to locate an article on this issue that I read in the past couple weeks. The jist of the article was that this is a marketing ploy intentionally pursued by many mutual fund families. (It was a good article and, in light of summer2007's insight, I wish to re-read... more carefully.)

In my search, I did come across this:


I recently sifted through the most prominent fund-picking books from 1996 to see how the 10-year numbers stacked up as of June 30, 2005.
I had four books to work from:
  • 1996 Buyer's Guide to Mutual Funds, by Gordon Pape
  • World of Mutual Funds, by Ranga Chand
  • Smart Funds 1996, by Jonathan Chevreau with Steve Kangas and John Platt
  • Top Funds 1996, by Duff Young and Riley Moynes
So, just how insightful were these guys?
The results were stunning. The majority of funds lagged their benchmarks over the 10-year time horizon. In fact, many of the funds recommended weren't even good enough to survive the period in question. The recommended funds had a collective performance that could only be described as awful.

found at RRSP 2006 - GlobeandMail.com
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Old 02-01-2008, 11:02 AM   #5
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I'm pretty sure that the fund survivorship bias is a major factor in Burton G. Malkiel's Random Walk Down Main Street - and almost every book I've come across on index funds.

It's amazing to see how many funds just get folded in, thus keeping the survivors' rate of success at a hugely inflated number.
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Old 02-01-2008, 11:21 AM   #6
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I'm pretty sure that the fund survivorship bias is a major factor in Burton G. Malkiel's Random Walk Down Main Street - and almost every book I've come across on index funds.

It's amazing to see how many funds just get folded in, thus keeping the survivors' rate of success at a hugely inflated number.
Check out Table in Carhart's On the persistence in mutual fund performance from 1997. From 1/1962 - 12/1993, one-third of diversified US equity funds [excluding sector, int'l, and balanced funds] ceased operations.

See also, Mutual Fund Survivorship.

- Alec
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Old 02-01-2008, 11:28 AM   #7
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Which leads me to say to myself yet one more time, "Bogle's got it right." At least for me.
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Old 02-01-2008, 12:40 PM   #8
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Which leads me to say to myself yet one more time, "Bogle's got it right." At least for me.
Yep. You can bury a fund, but you can't bury an asset class that underperforms. Thus the indexes or by extension index funds' performance is 'clean' -- free of survivorship bias.

btw, I'm guessing for all those funds that were closed, in virtually none of those cases did the money get sent back -- "sorry, we're such terrible managers we thought we'd better send your money back and let you reinvest it with someone competent." I'm sure it all ends up getting folded into the next hot fund that the fund company is running...
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Old 02-01-2008, 12:56 PM   #9
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Yep. You can bury a fund, but you can't bury an asset class that underperforms. Thus the indexes or by extension index funds' performance is 'clean' -- free of survivorship bias.
I think this is not quite right. Underperforming asset classes can also be buried (or at least, de-emphasized). If you were an investor reading about foreign asset classes in 1950, you'd probably be reading about Britain and France. You might see a bit about the possible resurgence of Japan or Germany (I'm not sure when things really got going again there). You probably wouldn't have seen too much emphasis on Russian imperial bonds. (My exact facts/references/implications about specific asset classes and timeframes here may be wrong, but hopefully you get my general point.)

New indexes are created all the time, as are new index funds. There seems to have been an explosion of these in the last few years. I would venture that a significant number of current index funds will not be around in 10 years, and that the ones that disappear will disproportionately be in asset classes that underperform on a relative basis.
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Old 02-04-2008, 10:42 PM   #10
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Yeah, you're probably on to something... but index funds aren't always a 1:1 mapping to asset classes. So agreed, there are so many indexes flying around these days they surely won't all survive. But while 'foreign stocks' probably used to mean UK and Japan or somesuch, the asset class itself isn't likely to go away, but just keep getting a little broader. But things like GNMA might end up looking a little dated a few decades hence. And I'm guessing every 10 years or so, evil data mining backtesters will probably find some new asset class or two that become must-haves for the well-dressed portfolio of the 2020s... It'll probably be just dancing around those last 3 or 5%, though, so may not be a big shift from a typical Asset Allocation style portfolio of today.
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Old 02-05-2008, 11:54 PM   #11
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WOW! Thanks so much everyone!

I learn so much reading this forum!

Here are a few of the funds that were around in 1993 that are no longer around.

T Rowe Price

PRARX
PRRXX
PTIBX

Vanguard

VQIXX
VGSUX
VGSEX
VGTCX

There is also some at Fidelity but they have so many funds that it's going to take a long time to go through them all.

Jim
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Old 02-06-2008, 09:59 AM   #12
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Originally Posted by ESRBob
Yep. You can bury a fund, but you can't bury an asset class that underperforms. Thus the indexes or by extension index funds' performance is 'clean' -- free of survivorship bias.

Huh?? What about the little index known as the Dow Jones Industrial Average? Percentage-wise, what index has changed more than that one?...not to mention the constant changes in the S&P 500.
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Old 02-06-2008, 11:27 AM   #13
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Which leads me to say to myself yet one more time, "Bogle's got it right." At least for me.
Agreed. And at the other end of the persistence continuum, there's "Stay The Course" Steadman...

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Old 02-06-2008, 06:20 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by ESRBob
Yep. You can bury a fund, but you can't bury an asset class that underperforms. Thus the indexes or by extension index funds' performance is 'clean' -- free of survivorship bias.

Huh?? What about the little index known as the Dow Jones Industrial Average? Percentage-wise, what index has changed more than that one?...not to mention the constant changes in the S&P 500.
Art,
Yikes! Goods point -- was having a brain phart or something... Yeah, these indexes are morphing all the time. Probably worse with a small index like the dj.
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