Understanding Fund Fact Sheets
One of the more confusing parts of participating in an employer-sponsored retirement plan is choosing how to allocate your funds. Fund fact sheets provide information on a fund’s objectives, holdings, fees, and past performance and can be used to compare funds within the same category, learn more about a single fund, or contrast funds in different categories. But fact sheets can also be overwhelming. It might be tempting to focus on the Performance and Calendar Year Returns in making your decisions, but past performance is no guarantee of future results. Consider your diversification goals, risk tolerance, and investment time frame when making your decision.
To help you get started, here are some of the key areas to focus on:
- Both the Fund Name and Description appear at the top of the page. The description provides a short summary of the fund’s objective and what types of securities it invests.
- The Style Box places the fund into 1 of 9 classes by Market Cap and Style. Market Cap (or Market Capitalization) refers to the size of companies the fund invests in: Large Cap, Mid-Cap, or Small Cap/Small Company. The Style Box also categorizes the fund as a Growth, Value, or Blend Growth Funds contain stocks of companies whose earnings are expected to grow faster than the market, Value Funds contain stocks of companies the managers believe are underpriced and expected to rebound, and Blend Fund managers buy both Growth and Value stocks.
- The fund’s Characteristics include:
- The Ticker symbol assigned to the fund. This symbol can be used to search for additional information on the fund through the general internet or the fund company’s
- Turnover shows the percentage of securities bought and sold within one year. Funds with high turnover rates can incur more transaction costs than those with lower
- Total Net Assets shows the size of the fund. Combined with the Number of Securities in the fund, this illustrates the fund’s diversification. A very large fund with a relatively small number of holdings is less diversified than a smaller fund with
- Asset Allocation displays the percent of stocks, bonds, cash, and other types of securities the fund may hold and offers a quick way to determine what the fund invests
- The Fee Summary provides the Net Expense Ratio. This is the percentage you pay toward the mutual fund’s operating costs. In general, a lower Net Expense Ratio is better as the Net Expense Ratio is subtracted from the fund’s returns to the investor