Educational Programming Video
The Value Line Mutual Fund Survey
Program 1: Introduction
This is the first lesson in a series designed to give you a basic understanding of both The Value Line Mutual Fund Survey and mutual funds, and explain how we think you should use our Mutual Fund Survey to select the funds that are most appropriate for you.
When The Value Line Mutual Fund Survey was begun in 1993, the purpose was to offer both individual and institutional investors the same high-quality research and information that Value Line has offered for stocks for nearly 70 years in The Value Line Investment Survey. As more and more new investors turned to mutual funds to achieve a wide variety of investment goals, Value Line's management decided to expand on our traditional equity research products and offer information and advice on mutual funds. Mutual funds are, after all, simply another means by which investors seek to meet their financial goals.
Moreover, since a mutual fund consists of a collection of individual securities, and since Value Line already conducted research on approximately 1,700 actively traded U.S. and foreign stocks, a move by Value Line into mutual fund research seemed totally logical. When you think about it, the exhaustive research Value Line performs on stocks provides an extra level of insight into the performance of mutual funds, which own those stocks.
Ultimately, The Value Line Mutual Fund Survey has one overriding goal: to provide the subscriber with as much timely, relevant information as possible in an easy-to-use format.
The information we present is divided into two parts: the "Ratings & Reports" section, which presents full-page coverage on over 1,400 equity mutual funds and abbreviated coverage of more than 500 bond mutual funds; and the "Performance & Index" section, which offers advice, commentary, and insight on important investment trends affecting mutual funds, as well as updated performance statistics on 2,000 funds.
There are ten separate Editions of "Ratings & Reports," each covering approximately 150 equity funds. One of the 10 Editions is updated every two weeks, so that a full cycle is completed every 20 weeks. Thus, Value Line updates each fund profile about three times a year. And, of course, each page is filled with important statistics and an in-depth research report written by our Mutual Fund analysts.
The fund profiles are arranged by investment objective to facilitate the user's comparison of one fund with others having similar objectives and policies. Performance statistics, meanwhile, are updated every two weeks in the "Performance & Index" section.
Much like The Investment Survey, one of the most useful tools that our reports provide are mutual funds Ranks. Our Overall Rank is vastly different than any other ranking system currently available in that it does not focus exclusively on performance; we also include the notion of growth persistence--or how frequently a fund outperforms without regard for the magnitude of the outperformance. Although we will discuss the Ranking system in more detail later on, it is important to note this vital difference.
The Ranking system lets you quickly and easily sort through a large number of funds, picking only those that are above average. Our Risk Rank, based on standard deviation, gives you insight into the relative risk of a fund. Like our stock ranking system, both of these measures are based on a one to five scale with one being the highest attainable score.
In addition to the two main sections, a Supplemental Edition is published annually, presenting analysis of the 100-largest mutual fund families. The fund family analysis offers a convenient framework for investors to evaluate funds in another context: the organization behind the fund. This information is especially useful for investors who want to build a well-rounded portfolio of funds using just one fund family.
In our next session we'll discuss the question, "What is a mutual fund?"