Over at iShares, they have this new gimmicky Flash thing that lets you see a bunch of data in a friendly (although not all that useful) way. On the “Index Return Chart” it says:
Index returns are for illustrative purposes only and do not represent actual iShares Funds performance. Index performance returns do not reflect any management fees, transaction costs or expenses. Indexes are unmanaged and one cannot invest directly in an index. Past performance does not guarantee future results. For actual iShares Fund performance, close this window and visit Product Information.
How newbie-unfriendly is this comment: “Index returns are for illustrative purposes only and do not represent actual iShares Funds performance.” I can just imagine what some people must be thinking when they read that fine print…they made up these numbers! Of course, if you’re like me, you know the difference between “index” and “actual iShares fund.” But the difference is subtle because most people would call an iShare ETF fund and index…
Why couldn’t they just put the iShares performance instead of their underlying indexes’ performance? Is that so hard to do? Second, since they are actually using the indexes’ performance, could they go back more than 5 years? I mean 5 years only takes us back to approximately the start of the most recent bull market. It was interesting though to click around and see how well all the different indexes in different sectors have fared over different periods relative to each other. There’s also a tracking error chart which I don’t really care about too much. I opened it up for the heck of it and…drum roll…the tracking error is small. I commend them for putting up this data though as well as the premium/discount chart. The more data is publicly accessible in easy to read forms, the better.