Nearly 600 funds were> introduced last year, and chances are none of their managers thought a market crash and recession would be the ideal environment. But timing could ultimately be a blessing for some of them. In fact, funds launched in the fall, after the market s beating, may be even better off. It s like the scene from The World According to Garp when they are shopping for a house. An airplane flies into it, and Garp says, We ll take it, says Dan Culloton, senior fund analyst at Morningstar. Certainly, you can go down from here, but there is considerably more upside potential.
At a time when the financial crisis has sullied the records of even the most respectable funds and caused investors to yank $150 billion out of stock funds, starting with a clean slate is a nice advantage, says Lipper senior research analyst Tom Roseen. New funds have plenty of cash on hand to pick up what some have described as bargains of a lifetime. That s even more of an edge right now because many of their rivals are handcuffed by redemptions, keeping them from picking up similar bargains that will help future returns. If it weren t for my Catholic upbringing, I d say I feel like Warren Buffett in the 1970s, when he likened the climate of opportunity then to an oversexed guy in a whorehouse, says Charles de Lardemelle, comanager of IVA Worldwide and IVA International, two value funds launched in October.
Several funds, though, were undeniably ill-timed like the India funds that launched just months before that country s market cratered. And then there are the niche offerings, such as a double-gold exchange-traded note, which uses derivatives to provide twice the return of gold. Investors need to be very wary of anything that s very niche and gimmicky that has been launched in the last year, Culloton says. Of course, with any new fund, investors are better off sticking with managers who have admirable records with past funds or companies with a good reputation. Find the right one and it could be a rare opportunity to get in on the ground floor, says Bridget Hughes, Morningstar s associate director of fund analysis.
3 new funds
Artisan Opportunistic Growth (ARTRX)
IVA International (IVIOX)
Harbor Commodity Real Return Strategy (HCMRX)