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We’ve been adding quite a few funds to coverage in recent months, so I thought I would bring you up to speed on some of the better ones. Although some of these are nominally load funds, all are available for no-load in no-transaction-fee supermarkets from the likes of Schwab and Fidelity, or available for no fee straight from Vanguard.
Invesco Asia Pacific Growth ASIAX is the rare fund to start off with a Morningstar Analyst Rating of Silver. We know lead manager Steve Cao and his team from other Invesco funds such as Invesco International Small Company IEGAX and Invesco Developing Markets GTDDX, where they’ve produced strong long-term results. Over Cao’s 19-year tenure, the fund has produced annualized returns of 8.73% versus 7.1% for the Pacific/Asia ex-Japan stock Morningstar Category and 5.89% for the MSCI AC Far East Ex-Japan Index. They evaluate companies using an earnings, quality, and value framework. Although there’s a lot of drama in Asian markets, Cao and his team are patient low-turnover investors.
Vanguard International Dividend Appreciation Index VIAAX is employing a strategy that has been a big success when applied to the United States. Both the actively managed Vanguard Dividend Growth VDIGX and Vanguard Dividend AppreciationVDAIX have produced strong results because rising dividends point you in the direction of quality companies with fairly healthy balance sheets. Dividends work a little differently outside the U.S., so it’s possible that this won’t be quite as successful, but it’s still pretty promising. This Bronze-rated fund charges just 0.25% in open-end form.
Prudential Global Total Return GTRAX scored a Silver rating owing to the deep, seasoned team behind it. The fund is run by Michael Collins, Robert Tipp, and Arvind Rajan with help from a huge analyst staff. Collins has been at Prudential since 1986 and Tipp since 1991. Going back to their tenure on this fund in 2002, the fund is well ahead of peers and the benchmark.
Can you think of a tree that hasn’t been used for a fund name? It isn’t easy. But Pear Tree Polaris Foreign Value Small Cap QUSOX is better than its name. The Bronze-rated fund is a well-run value fund that veers from the beaten path. Bernard Horn and team have had some unusual country weightings, such as a big overweighting in Taiwan, and they’ve built a strong record since the fund was launched in 2008.
Bronze-rated Columbia Floating Rate RFRAX is run by the experienced pair of Lynn Hopton and Yvonne Stevens. When you buy a bank-loan fund, you are buying some protection from rising rates in exchange for the credit and liquidity risk. It’s not an easy category to run well, but this team has shown a steady hand and done a nice job of containing risk.
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