Monday, February 13, 2012

Calling attention to a problem they help to cause

Karen Dolan has an article at Morningstar about what she calls the biggest cost investors can control.  No, not fees.  In this case, we are talking about performance chasing.  According to Morningstar's calculations, investors have lagged their funds by an average of 1.45% per year due to poor timing.  This is even more than the 0.8% that was paid in fees.

Of course, it isn't news that investors lag the funds they invest in.  Dalbar has been studying this for years.  I did find it interesting, however, that Morningstar was calling attention to this.  Is it really surprising that investors chase performance when Morningstar rates funds based only on past performance?  They hand out manager of the year awards, and even they know that investors will misinterpret these awards.

If you provide data that you know is not predictive, but you also know that investors will misinterpret that data, aren't you intentionally misleading people?

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