Owning Too Many Mutual Funds a Bad Idea

I used to own many mutual funds in my account at TD Canada Trust. A glance at an old statement shows that at one time, I owned the following funds in the Canadian portion of my portfolio:

TD Canadian Equity Fund
TD Canadian Index Fund
TD Dividend Growth Fund
TD Blue Chip Equity Fund
TD Canadian Small Cap Equity

What is wrong with being invested in so many funds at once? The problem is that with 4 funds, primarily large-cap funds, I was over-diversifying and basically forming an index for myself. I was owning the entire market, which is what indexes do anyways, and diluting the active management within each of the funds. But I was not paying what I should have been paying for an index (MER <= 0.25%). These funds have MERs of at least 2%, except for the index fund. So basically I was buying the equivalent of an index, but paying through the nose for it. The effect of a high MER eating into your returns every year can be huge. Don't make the same mistake I made. Get an index for the large-caps, and no more than one other large cap fund. Perhaps owning an actively-managed small-cap fund as well. If I had to do it again at TD, I would have bought TD Canadian Index Fund and TD Canadian Small Cap Equity. The other large-cap funds (TD Canadian Equity, TD Canadian Dividend, and TD Blue Chip Equity) are not significantly better than the indexes themselves, so I would rather take the low-cost index fund. The small-cap fund gives me some exposure to smaller companies which are not owned by the index.

ETFs, the Inflation Fighter

The article, ETFs, the Inflation Fighter, talks about how sectors such as energy, utilities, and health care can help your portfolio during periods of high inflation. Historically, these sectors have done well during these periods. Sectors which are worse off during periods of “inflation acceleration” are consumer-discretionary, financial, industrial, and information-technology. My own advisor has recommended I overweight my portfolio in the energy markets (which does well during periods of high inflation and rising interest rates), especially since the S&P TSX indexes are heavily weighted in the financial sector (which does poorly during periods of high inflation and rising interest rates).

I have no idea why the title was “ETFs, the inflation fighter.” ETFs are just one way of investing in the stock market, and clearly not ALL ETFs are inflation fighters. Well, Ghosh works for Standard & Poor, so that might explain the bias towards an ETF rather than a managed mutual fund or individual stocks.