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Mutual Fund News

Sizing up the giants of fundland

rcarrick@globeandmail.com

What we're looking at

The biggest of the big in fundland.

How have the most popular mutual funds delivered for investors in the near, medium and long term?

Our screen

Presented here are the 25 largest mutual funds as measured by assets, from largest on down. Each fund's one-, five- and 10-year numbers are included, along with corresponding quartile numbers.

Quartiles allow us to compare the returns of funds in a particular category; first and second quartile are desirable, third and especially fourth are not.

What we found

Rest easy if you're invested in these mega-selling mutual funds. For the most part, you're getting returns that compare well with the rest of what the fund industry has to offer.

Of special note are the funds that have managed first-quartile returns across each of the three timeframes applied here.

Among them is the largest fund in the land, RBC Canadian Dividend, which has been pretty consistent over the years at beating the S&P/TSX Composite Total Return Index (dividends included) as well as its average peer fund. RBC's brand is also on a few of the less competitive big funds.

Of the funds in our screen with a 10-year history, only a very few have returns that rank below the first or second quartile over that period.

One conclusion you can draw here is that fund companies take their top sellers very seriously and use top people to run them.

A notable name among the less successful big funds is Investors Mortgage & Short Term Income, which has a management expense ratio of 1.96 per cent. The category average is 1.48 per cent, and even that looks pricey when you consider how low interest rates on bonds and mortgages are today.

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CANADA'S 25 LARGEST MUTUAL FUNDS AS MEASURED BY ASSETS

FundCategoryAssets ($-mil)MER1-yr % rtn (to Jan. 31)1-year Quartile5-yr % rtn (to Jan. 31)5-year Quartile10-yr % rtn (to Jan. 31)10-year Quartile
RBC Canadian DividendCdn. Dividnd & Incom Equity14,477.21.7810.67%13.76%18.80%1
Investors Dividend-ACdn. Equity Balanced14,235.92.5414.11%13.64%1--
TD Canadian BondCdn. Fixed Income11,167.21.112.17%25.79%25.52%1
RBC Select ConservativeGlobal Neutral Balanced10,233.11.835.64%32.81%35.04%2
RBC BondCdn. Fixed Income9,729.21.212.49%25.64%25.24%1
RBC Monthly IncomeCdn. Neutral Balanced8,721.71.25.82%24.84%27.81%1
RBC Select BalancedGlobal Neutral Balanced8,145.81.937.29%22.04%25.25%2
TD Income Advantage Portfolio-ICdn. Fixed Income Balanced7,262.21.663.95%24.77%2--
B.E.S.T. Total Return Fund Inc.Retail Venture Capital7,184.06.06-3.56%20.29%2--
RBC BalancedCdn. Neutral Balanced7,135.52.364.76%31.27%35.43%2
TD Monthly IncomeCdn. Equity Balanced6,718.71.488.17%25.08%28.37%1
CIBC Monthly IncomeCdn. Neutral Balanced6,482.71.484.15%32.62%36.83%1
Manulife Monthly Hi Income Fd.Cdn. Neutral Balanced6,022.22.189.22%13.97%17.51%1
RBC Cdn EquityCdn. Equity5,446.62.053.98%30.45%37.74%2
Dynamic Strategic YieldGlobal Neutral Balanced5,284.82.286.19%3----
TD Dividend GrowthCdn. Dividnd & Incom Equity5,273.32.0310.55%23.25%29.23%1
TD Dividend Income-ICdn. Equity Balanced5,151.12.049.75%13.49%17.61%1
Investors Income Plus Portfolio-ACdn. Fixed Income Balanced4,841.42.365.17%13.15%1--
RBC Select Very Conservativ PortCdn. Fixed Income Balanced4,727.81.673.95%2----
RBC Canadian Short-Trm IncomeCdn. Short Term Fixd Income4,713.81.211.08%23.14%23.03%2
CI Signature High IncomeGlobal Neutral Balanced4,519.81.612.04%17.55%19.79%1
TD Canadian Core Plus Bond-ICdn. Fixed Income4,385.11.513.29%16.14%1--
BMO Monthly IncomeCdn. Neutral Balanced4,326.11.573.87%44.00%46.09%2
Investors Mrtgag & Shrt Trm Inc.Cdn. Short Term Fixd Income4,325.21.960.94%32.70%32.64%3
Investors Real Property-AMisc. - Incom & Real Proprty4,190.62.534.83%32.53%3--
Source: Lipper

© 2007 The Globe and Mail. All rights reserved.

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