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Mutual Fund News

A guarded approach in volatile markets

rcarrick@globeandmail.com

What we're looking at

This week features Round Two of a series on mutual fund families you may not have heard of, but are worth knowing about. The first round was published Sept. 28-Oct. 1 and you can read it here: http://tgam.ca/u1e.

Our screen

Today's fund company is Sentry Investments, a mid-size investment company that offers funds and other products.

The funds presented here are ranked by assets. To assess their performance, we've presented their quartile rankings over various periods. Quartiles divide funds in a category in four groupings - a ranking in the first and second quartiles is what you want to see as an investor.

What we found

Sentry has been around since 1997 and was in early on the theme of income trusts. The firm claims to have had the first diversified portfolios of income trusts and real estate investment trusts.

The firm's largest fund, Sentry Canadian Income, has had consistently third-quartile returns when viewed against its peers in the Canadian income trust fund category. But this fund, managed by Bay Street veteran Sandy McIntyre, takes downside protection seriously and has shown less volatility than its peers. Lipper, a fund analysis firm, recently handed the fund an award for best risk-adjusted returns in its category over five years.

Another fund in the lineup with strong risk-adjusted returns is Sentry Diversified Total Return, which is in the Canadian focused equity category.

It has been consistently top quartile in the past five years, but with less than half the volatility of the S&P/TSX composite index.

Sentry Precious Metals Growth has done a great job of making money for unitholders during the recent runup in gold prices, and its longer-term numbers look sharp as well.

Note the fees on Sentry funds. They are not cheap.

***

SENTRY INVESTMENTS

Fund NameAsset Category(As of Oct. 31) Assets ($-mil)Latest MERQuartile 1 YearQuartile 3 YearsQuartile 5 YearsQuartile 10 Years
Sentry Canadian IncomeCanadian Income Trust Equity890.112.72433n/a
Sentry Precious Metals GrwthPrecious Metals Equity705.602.751112
Sentry REITReal Estate Equity604.352.841133
Sentry Cdn Resource ClassNatural Resources Equity240.402.811133
Sentry Diversified Total RtnCanadian Focused Equity249.792.83111n/a
Sentry Growth & IncomeCanadian Dividend and Income Equity162.512.771n/an/an/a
Sentry Mining Opportunity ClPrecious Metals Equity63.132.8814n/an/a
Sentry Small Cap IncomeCanadian Small or Mid Cap Equity51.232.80111n/a
Sentry Energy Growth & IncomeNatural Resources Equity68.182.74214n/a
Source: Globeinvestor.com

© 2007 The Globe and Mail. All rights reserved.

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