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Mutual Fund News

Fledgling funds, 55 years of Street cred

rcarrick@globeandmail.com

What we're looking at

We continue this week's coverage of small, low-profile mutual fund companies that don't get a lot of exposure with a look at a trio of new funds managed by Jarislowsky Fraser Ltd.

Our screen

Okay, this isn't much of a screen. The three JF funds were launched only three months ago, so there's not much performance data to look at. The intent here is simply to draw the attention of investors to the fact that they now have access to a venerable portfolio management firm that previously wasn't widely available to people with as little as $500 to invest.

What we found

Jarislowsky Fraser was founded in 1955 and it now manages about $44-billion in assets for governments, corporations, universities, unions and high net worth individuals. You may not know these guys, but they have lots of Bay Street cred. JF started as an investment research firm and that expertise is put to use today in an approach the firm describes as "conservative, low-risk investment in high-quality securities."

JF may already be managing money for your company's pension plan. Now, the company's expertise is available in a Canadian equity fund and a pair of balanced funds, one tilted toward stocks and the other to bonds.

Shown here are the A series, which are available through investment advisers, and the E (for electronic) series, which is for self-directed investors and sold through the following online brokers: Disnat, National Bank Direct Brokerage, Scotia iTrade and TD Waterhouse.

With the cost of compensating advisers stripped out of their fees, JF's E series of funds represent a major bargain. The $10,000 minimum initial purchase may seem steep, but it's in keeping with other pension fund managers that offer mutual funds on the side. Examples are Beutel Goodman and McLean Budden, which offer Canadian equity funds with management expense ratios of 1.47 per cent and 1.25 per cent, respectively. Jarislowsky Select Canadian Equity Equity E is cheaper, and the A version is reasonably priced as well.

***

JARISLOWSKY FRASER'S NEW ENTRIES

Fund nameAsset CategoryEstimated MER (%)Assets ($-mil) (Dec. 31)Minimum Upfront Purchase ($)
Jarislowsky Fraser Select Canadian Equity ACanadian Equity1.9914.6500
Jarislowsky Fraser Select Canadian Equity ECanadian Equity0.9414.610,000
Jarislowsky Fraser Select Balanced ACanadian Equity Balanced1.919.3500
Jarislowsky Fraser Select Balanced ECanadian Equity Balanced0.869.310,000
Jarislowsky Fraser Select Income ACanadian Fixed Income Balanced1.598.7500
Jarislowsky Fraser Select Income ECanadian Fixed Income Balanced0.808.710,000
Source: Globe Investor

© 2007 The Globe and Mail. All rights reserved.

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