When managers get fired, we should demand that the fund companies inform us immediately of any personnel changes. This weekend Charles Jaffe, a syndicated columnist, wrote an outstanding article about how the management of
Putnam Voyager made a change without doing anything to tell investors.
This kind of attitude is way too prevalent in the mutual fund business. It is all part of the mantra that says: "It doesn't matter who manages the money, and even if it does, we aren't going to tell you because if one manager did well, it is because we are all great managers, and, if he did poorly, that's because our charter forced us to perform poorly."
How could this great capitalist nation accept something so ridiculously Soviet in its lack of accountability? Why do we allow this type of obfuscation? I have an idea why. First, at most newspapers and magazines, mutual funds are not important. That's crazy on the face of it. Mutual funds are the repositories of our savings. Second, nobody likes to criticize the mutual funds. They are giant advertisers. All of them. Third, even the top editors know that going after these funds is a losing proposition. If you hit them too hard, they simply stop returning your calls and they pull their advertising. It is in no one's interest other than yours to write these folks up critically.
That's one of the reasons why I won't stop bashing those who need to be bashed in this business. I am confident that -- other than the coverage provided by Chuck Jaffe and
personal finance group -- there will be no spotlight thrown on these funds. They will continue to get away with whatever suits them. It is a real crime.
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James J. Cramer is a director and co-founder of TheStreet.com. He contributes daily market commentary for TheStreet.com's sites and serves as an adviser to the company's CEO. Outside contributing columnists for TheStreet.com and RealMoney.com, including Cramer, may, from time to time, write about stocks in which they have a position. In such cases, appropriate disclosure is made. While he cannot provide personalized investment advice or recommendations, he invites you to send comments on his column to