The only time you appreciate the bumper on your car is when you're headed for a brick wall.
And you'll only appreciate the joys of diversification if the stocks in
Garrett Van Wagoner's
this column pointed out the overlap in the five funds run by aggressive-growth guru Van Wagoner.
Four of his funds --
Post Venture and
Technology -- owned the same top five holdings at the end of December. (The Emerging Growth and Micro-Cap funds are both closed to new investors.)
Based on reader reaction, it seems some investors don't want to concentrate on the potential downside that comes with that duplication.
"I don't care if all five funds are identical!" cries
. "Their performance is spectacular and that's all I care about. I'd dare venture that if you looked at the top 100 performing equity funds over the last 52 weeks, you'd find lots of overlap. They all have to have big bets on tech and biotech to get the top performance," Micallef writes.
"I have 100% of my IRA, my wife's IRA, my daughter's IRA and my mother's IRA in his Tech fund, which is the 'worst' of the bunch so far this year."
Said another reader: "I have the Van Wagoner fund and I see nothing but good. When the market's down, my fund is up. I just think you've got a beef with Van Wagoner and are giving them bad publicity."
So much for the idea of reducing risk by dispersing your investments among a variety of assets.
With the run in technology stocks, the diversification theory has all but vanished in the minds of some investors. Whether they'll feel that way in a downturn remains to be seen.
If risk doesn't matter, go ahead and put more money into Van Wagoner's funds.
That's at least the way reader
seems to look at it. "I think it only addresses one of the important reasons one may want to invest in a fund, namely diversification. Another important one is research and experience that a fund manager offers.
"If I'm a person who likes aggressive tech exposure but lacks the knowledge, I will see a fund like Van Wagoner's as a perfect one. In other words, if I had the knowledge and experience I would have invested in only couple of stocks anyway, so why should I be surprised that the fund does so? By the way, I am not a fund investor myself."
Shame on you.
Kaufmann's Meaningless Makeover?
Based on the comments of a few readers, the folks at the
Kaufmann fund still have some surgery to do on that fund's image and its portfolio.
The fund, run by Lawrence Auriana and Hans Utsch, has experienced a
performance resurgence over the past few months, riding a heavier concentration in tech stocks.
The managers are also revamping their advertisements, which have been basically the same for years.
Some readers don't seem to care.
"It appears that these two guys have run out of steam,"
writes. "They are letting the current market scenario drive their investments."
expresses his own skepticism. "It's nice to see that they had a decent fourth quarter and all, but anyone who was foolish enough to hang tough lost a ton of potential appreciation had they moved their dollars to
or some other well-run and cost-efficient fund."
is equally unimpressed with Kaufmann's recent mass voice-mail communique.
"I'm a Kaufmann investor since 1995 and I just wanted to comment on the prerecorded blather that Larry and Hans sent out last week. They still don't quite get it," says Nicholson.
"It's about the money. It's not about wasting my time and voice mail. I don't care what they sound like. I don't care if they even speak English. Heck, I don't even know if it really was them and I certainly can't remember which one of them made the recording in the first place!"
Maybe Auriana and Utsch should consult Madonna on the topic of reinvention -- or Bob Stansky.
Dear Dagen aims to provide general fund information. Under no circumstances does the information in this column represent a recommendation to buy or sell funds or other securities.