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Fund Spy

You Won't Believe These Numbers

A dozen shocking statistics about fund returns, fees, and broken promises.

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Investing is full of numbers, charts, and statistics; the fund industry hardly disappoints on that score. There are the old standards--total returns, yields, and expense ratios, for example--and there are plenty of mountain charts and quartile plottings. Then there are category averages, return rankings, index comparisons, and so on. But sometimes buried deep in the sea of numbers are some interesting, even shocking, figures and relationships. We regularly compile some of the ones that have caught our eye and share them with readers. Thanks to my fund analyst colleagues who contributed.

$631 Million
The fees  PIMCO Total Return (PTTRX) raked in for the year ended March 31, 2009, according to its latest annual report. About half of that was for investment advisory services (aka Bill Gross and the rest of PIMCO's investment professionals) and the other half went to supervisory and administrative fees. These are just the fees charged by the mammoth fund and don't include the other institutional and subadvisory relationships that utilize the same strategy. Those fees have been well worth it for the thousands of investors who have experienced topnotch returns last year and over the fund's long history.

78 and Negative 46%
The number of commodity-focused exchange-traded funds that launched in 2007 and 2008--just in time for staggering losses. The S&P GSCI Index, a commonly tracked broad commodity index, shed 46% of its value in 2008.

Karen Dolan does not own (actual or beneficial) shares in any of the securities mentioned above. Find out about Morningstar’s editorial policies.