Why Knowing The Investment Style of a Stock Mutual Fund is Important
There are three broad equity investment styles:
Within these three broad styles, the equity fund manager can further specialize by focusing only on companies of a certain size, called market capitalization or market cap for short. The two most common market cap styles are small and large. The definition of a small cap or large cap company varies, so don't worry about it. What is important is that you know what market cap area the fund focuses on. For the same diversification reasons that you don't want three funds that are all growth focused, you don't want all your equity funds to be focused in only one market cap area.
Here Is An Example
For the portion of my portfolio I want to invest in stocks, here is an example of a reasonable allocation between styles that would give me a well diversified, growth oriented portfolio: 50% in a large cap growth fund, 25% in a small cap growth fund, and 25% in a large cap value fund.
Where To Find Fund Style Information
Don't know the style of your different equity investment options? There are a number of good web based resources you can use to find out this information. One of the best is Morningstar (www.morningstar.com). Just enter the funds ticker or name in the Quotes & Reports dialog box and you will get complete information on the fund including style data.
Confused Or Just Don't Want To Deal With It?
Putting your equity allocation into an index fund can give you a style diversified portfolio without all the hassle. Index fund manager take a very simple approach. They attempt to mirror the exact holdings of one of the major stock market indexes. The most common is the Standard and Poor 500 index which contains both value and growth companies that have a range of market caps. A manager who is running a S&P 500 index fund is going to attempt to hold the same percentage weighting of a given stock as the actual index holds. Therefore, the style allocation (and investment return) on the fund is going to closely approximate that of the index. This is a passive approach to investing and has many advantages.
Remember, this information is provided as general guidance on the subject of asset allocation and is not provided as legal, tax or investment advice. Individual situations vary. Please be sure you consult with your tax, legal or financial advisor for more detailed information and advice.
This is for educational purposes only. The information provided here is intended to help you understand the general issue and does not constitute any tax, investment or legal advice. Consult your financial, tax or legal advisor regarding your own unique situation and your company's benefits representative for rules specific to your plan.