Mutual Fund Commentary
WHICH MUTUAL FUNDS ARE BLEEDING ASSETS?
With $41 billion of outflows in the first half, the struggles of PIMCO Total Return (PTTAX 11 ***) to retain assets since the departure of Bill Gross is worthy of attention. However, there are 73 other long-term (non-money market) portfolios that saw shareholders pulled $1 billion or more out in the first six months, according to Lipper. Below we look at some of these funds as well as the asset management families that experienced the most pain this year.
PIMCO as a firm had $60 billion of outflows in the first half, a reminder that the challenge the asset manager faces is not just tied to its flagship fund. Indeed, PIMCO All Asset All Authority Fund (PAUAX 9 NR), an alternative global macro fund, had $3.5 billion of outflows. While the asset allocation decisions stem from Research Affiliates, the underlying assets are PIMCO mutual funds such as PIMCO Income Fund (PIMIX 121*****) and PIMCO Emerging Markets Currency Fund (PLMIX 9 NR). Unfortunately, PAUAXis in the bottom quartile of its peer group on a one-, three-, and five-year total return basis.
PIMCO Unconstrained Bond Fund (PUBAX 11 NR) is another one of the 9 alternative funds that lost $1 billion in assets. This fund was managed by Gross for nine months before his late 2014 exit from the firm, but its three- and five-year record is also in the bottom quartile of its alternative global macro peer group.
(See a related Trends & Ideas titled "WHICH MUTUAL FUNDS GATHERED NEW ASSETS?" published yesterday to see where some of the PIMCO outflows ended up.)
Investors soured on many alternative equity and fixed income mutual funds in the first half of 2015, with the category bleeding $8 billion in assets, in contrast to the $59 billion that went into traditional bond mutual funds.
Among alternatives, Ivy Asset Strategy (WASAX 26 NR) had the greatest outflows in the first six months with $4.2 billion across all share classes. The fund recently had 51% of assets in U.S. equities, 26% in foreign equities, 5% in corporate bonds and 3% in precious metals. While in the last year, WASAX has underperformed, the three-, five- and ten-year record is in the top quartile of its peer group.
However, with $5 billion, Columbia Acorn Fund (LACAX 31 *), a U.S. mid-cap growth equity fund, had the second biggest outflows for a long-term fund. Performance struggles are likely a major contributor, as the fund is in the bottom quartile for the latest one-, three- and five-year periods. Even with weakness at LACAX and its sister share classes, Columbia Management had only $1.4 billion of outflows, dwarfed by many others.
The second and third biggest outflows for asset managers were at Goldman Sachs Asset Management ($17 billion) and Wells Fargo Funds Management ($16 billion). While both firms saw significant outflows in their money market funds that we disregard for now, they each have long-term funds with $1 billion of outflows.
Goldman Sachs Strategic Income Fund (GSZAX 10 NR) is another alternative fund that has lost significant assets. This alternative credit focus fund had $3.9 billion of outflows in the first half. While the fund has lagged its peers in the past year, the three-year record is in the top quartile.
Meanwhile, Wells Fargo Advantage Growth (SGROX 50 ***) had $1.1 billion of net outflows in the first six months. This multi-cap growth has outperformed in 2015, but lagged in 2013 and 2014. Unlike the other funds we highlight, this is in the only one closed to new investors, limited its overall cash flows. Despite its recent underperformance, S&P Capital IQ's three-star ranking is partially offset by a favorable view on the valuation of its recent holdings.
Other asset managers with sizable net outflows were Federated Investors ($12 billion), Charles Schwab Investment Management ($12 billion) and Dreyfus ($9.7 billion).
S&P Capital IQ ranks more than 20,000 mutual fund share classes with a star methodology based on holdings-based analysis as well as incorporating relative track record and cost factors. Reports can be found on the MarketScope Advisor.