By David F. Swensen
Swensen, CIO of Yale University and the author of Pioneering Portfolio Management, reveals why the mutual fund industry as a whole does a disservice to the individual investor. Soft money, 12b-1 fees, overtrading, market timing, and other management practices lower performance and virtually guarantee that most mutual fund returns will fall short of their benchmark, such as the S&P 500. Furthermore, for-profit mutual fund companies have a fiduciary obligation to their stockholders, not to their investors, and this relationship "inevitably resolves in favor of the bottom line." Swensen is also highly critical of the Morningstar rating system, which only causes investors to chase hot performing funds and managers. He advises considering alternatives to the for-profit mutual fund industry, including Exchange Traded Funds and not-for-profit financial institutions such as Vanguard and TIAA-CREF. He highly recommends that as an individual, you should play a more active role in your financial future. This includes periodic portfolio evaluation and rebalancing, to ensure that your asset allocation remains diversified and suits your investment time line.
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