An Overkill of Funds in August MFO Ratings Update

On Monday 7 September, Labor Day, all fund risk and return metrics, ratings, and analytics were uploaded to MFO Premium, reflecting performance through August 2020.


There are now more than 10,000 US funds (OEFs, ETFs, CEFs). 10,007 to be precise. That excludes Insurance Funds, which number 2,107. Add in all share classes and the number explodes to 32,094.


Here’s latest breakout found in our Lipper (Refinitiv) Global Data Feed, oldest share class only, plus averages and indices:



Below is a breakout one level down. You’ll find about 3,300 US Equity funds alone. Given there are less than 5,000 publicly traded companies in the US, it certainly seems like overkill. The irony remains that since the mid-1990’s, the number of funds has increased rapidly, while the number of listed companies has decreased … even more rapidly! How can that be? (Hint: Same reason bank robbers rob banks.)



The principal goal of MFO’s unique search tools is to help winnow this overabundance of fund options facing financial advisers and individual investors today. Since that awful time in March, I have never used the site more or found it more useful. Hopefully, you feel the same.


New site features this month include:


  • Category. Refinitiv added the “Alternate Energy” category, which targets sector equity funds focused on renewable sources like solar and wind. You can find definitions of all 176 categories here.

  • Display Periods. MultiSearch evaluation periods now include six full cycles, as described in A Thirty-Year Proposition. Plus, a new unique period called “Irrational,” alluding to the title of Robert Shiller’s book. That period begins March 2000 and continues to this day.

  • Blog. The Blog page on MFO Premium is intended to be more informal than the MFO Commentary, but more formal than the Discussions page. An Archive feature has been added so you now can peruse posts by calendar year. (Just scroll to bottom of Blog page.)

  • Screenshots. The Welcome page now includes 40 screenshots of the suite of tools. Best one is probably Compare Tool Page, which shows all ratings and metrics available in MultiSearch. Next favorite is MultiSearch Input Page (Expanded View) … shows all screening criteria available.

As always, if you see anything amiss or have suggestions for improvement, let us know and we will respond soonest. One suggestion we recently received from a long-time subscriber is to post short videos illustrating the features of each tool.


Please enjoy the latest data and site features.