Between September's terrorist attacks and the completion of the worst two-year stretch for stocks since the early 1970s, there wasn't a slew of good news in 2001. Here's a rundown of some of the biggest events and trends in the fund world this year:
Sept. 11: Scores of Alger Funds employees, including veteran fund manager David Alger, perished in the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center, where several fund firms had offices. Despite assurances from fund managers, fund companies and financial advisers, redemptions from stock funds set a record in September.
Steepest stock fund losses in almost 30 years: Stock funds trailed bond funds for the second-straight year and suffered their worst losses since the early 1970s. Several funds lost more than 85% of their value in a 12-month stretch, but the biggest funds held up well.
Fund companies pare offerings: With a glut of small, unprofitable and sputtering funds out there, many fund shops alike began merging and liquidating funds, including Merrill Lynch, Berger, Strong and Munder, to name just a few. The upshot for investors: Fewer funds means better funds.
Fund companies pare staff: Thanks to shrinking profits and lousy returns, portfolio managers got pink slips at several fund shops, including Vanguard, Merrill Lynch, RS Funds, Harbor Funds, Munder Funds and American Skandia.
2002 Preview: A Mutual Fund Wish List
Top '01 Stock Fund Managers: Ritchie Freeman, Joel Tillinghast
Top '01 Foreign Stock Fund Managers: Jean-Marie Eveillard, Charles de Vaulx
Top '01 Bond Fund Managers: Ken Leech and His Supporting Cast
Janus backs off its tech faves: After riding fat tech stakes to outsize gains and inflows in 1999 and 2000, Janus fund managers' third-quarter moves, year-end comments and their funds' recent returns illustrate a less-aggressive tack.
Bubble-born funds wilt: During the tech bubble, fund shops launched a slew of ill-conceived and gimmicky funds that buckled in 2001. Even those that were around for big gains in 1999 have given almost all of those profits back.
Investors give up on stock funds: After another tough year, net cash flows to stock funds are a fraction of what they were last year, while bond funds and money market funds raked in cash.
Special reports on this year's losses and what to do now: Statement Shock, 10 Lessons for Fund Investors, Lessons From the Fall and 10 Things to Do Before You Invest a Dime.
Fund investors and fund companies seek advisers: Fund shops that traditionally sold their funds directly to investors like Invesco, Scudder, Founders, T. Rowe Price and Janus are offering share classes that pay advisers commissions.
10 Questions with: Bill Nygren (Oakmark), David Corkins (Janus Growth & Income), Robert Sanborn (Elkhorn), Kevin Landis (Firsthand Technology Value), Bill Schaff (Berger Information Technology), Brian Hayward (Invesco Telecommunications), Jim Schmidt (John Hancock Financial Industries), Robert Olstein (Olstein Financial Alert), Sandy Rufenacht (Janus High Yield), Jim Oelschlager (White Oak Growth), Bern Fleming (AXP Utilities Income), and Jordan Schreiber (Merrill Lynch Health Care).
Ian McDonald writes daily for TheStreet.com. In keeping with TSC's editorial policy, he doesn't own or short individual stocks. He also doesn't invest in hedge funds or other private investment partnerships. He invites you to send your feedback to
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