Welcome to the latest installment of our weekly fund review, in which we scrutinize the past week's notable fund news and tell you what it means for Foolish investors.
Fidelity reorganizes on a massive scale
Fidelity has recently undertaken the largest reorganization it has ever faced, and some of the changes include more responsibilities for Abigail Johnson, the daughter of the firm's chairman, Ned Johnson. The reorganization, which is being led by new president Roger Lawson, is being described as an attempt to better integrate Fidelity's operations while cutting spending.
As a part of the move, four new divisions will be created. One unit, which will combine retirement plans with retail mutual fund sales, will be led by Abigail Johnson. A second unit will focus on the institutional side of Fidelity's business, such as banks and investment advisors, and a third unit will consist of the firm's technology operations. A human resources division will be split off into a fourth unit.
While investors have a right to view any corporate reorganization with skepticism, it's too soon to tell what effect these changes will have on Fidelity. It is worth noting, though, that Abigail Johnson taking on greater responsibilities may be an indication that she is being groomed to take over the top spot in the near future. Fidelity fundholders might welcome having a successor in place for Ned Johnson.
But anyone who owns a Fidelity fund should be focused on something else: What changes are being made directly to their funds?
Odds are, this reorganization will not have any effect on the day-to-day operations of the firm's many mutual funds, at least for the time being. Investors should be most concerned about changes on the fund level, and they may need to keep a sharper eye out for any subtle shifts as a result of the shuffling. But fundholders should sit tight for now and see how everything shakes out. Pay attention to your funds, and try to block out the noise from movements elsewhere in the company.
Vanguard rolls out managed-payout funds
Vanguard recently announced that it has plans to launch three new funds that will be designed to generate regular cash flows for investors. The three fund-of-fund vehicles, named Vanguard Managed Real Growth, Vanguard Moderate Growth, and Vanguard Capital Preservation, will aim to distribute 3%, 5%, and 7% annual payouts, respectively. Each of these funds will hold shares of other Vanguard funds and will likely have core holdings in the Total Stock Market Index (VTSMX), which maintains exposure to the broad stock market, including megacap blue chips such as Exxon Mobil
Vanguard appears to be on a roll lately, and it seems intent on testing the waters with new fund offerings. While it is reasonable for firms to try to reinvent themselves and stay up to date with market demand, that doesn't mean you need to run out and try every new product offering a firm rolls out. Vanguard may prove to be adept at running these types of funds, but it's too soon to tell.
Since having a reliable income stream is attractive to many investors, especially those in retirement, there may be a rush of demand for these managed-payout funds. However, there's no need to be a part of that rush right away. When the funds finally hit the market, let the dust settle and see how they perform for a few quarters and how the distribution scheme works in practice. Then reconsider whether they might be right for you.
Remember, when it comes to investing, slow and steady wins the race.
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