Even in the midst of arguably the worst crisis ever to hit Wall Street, new financial products continue to come out all the time. But just because a brand-new investment tries to capitalize on the latest headlines doesn't mean that you should jump right in -- especially before it's established any sort of track record.

Cashing in on the crisis
In this month's issue of the Motley Fool's Champion Funds newsletter, which is available hot off the digital presses this afternoon at 4 p.m. EDT, Foolish fund expert Amanda Kish takes a look at two new offerings from the world of mutual funds and exchange-traded funds (ETFs). Both of them draw much of their appeal from recent headlines -- yet both of them also raise some eyebrows as to whether they'll actually make their investors any money.

The first set of new investments, coming from firms like BlackRock (NYSE:BLK) and Legg Mason (NYSE:LM), are closed-end funds designed to give investors exposure to the same toxic mortgage-backed securities and other troubled assets. In light of recent events, it makes sense that some courageous investors might want in on this opportunity; after all, big Wall Street banks like JPMorgan Chase (NYSE:JPM), Goldman Sachs (NYSE:GS), and Morgan Stanley (NYSE:MS) are thinking about buying up toxic assets -- despite having received government aid themselves.

Another new offering targets those interested in hedge funds but who don't have the money needed to buy in directly. A new ETF plans to invest in a variety of strategies typically seen in hedge funds, including market-neutral stock strategies and fixed-income arbitrage. Although many hedge funds have suffered huge losses since the beginning of the bear market, some investors still see their exclusivity as a desirable characteristic. Unlike actual hedge funds, which require that investors have substantial net worth and income, anyone could buy shares of the ETF.

Why bother?
After the drubbing that many fund investors have seen in their portfolios, the idea of getting rid of all your old investments and replacing them with more promising ones is certainly tempting. There's nothing like bad performance to convince you that the funds you own are simply no good.

But if the financial crisis has taught us anything, it's that investments with elaborate bells and whistles won't necessarily help you succeed. Just as low-tech, old-economy stocks didn't get hit as hard when the tech bubble burst, so too have many companies with fairly simple business models held up reasonably well since late 2007's record highs in the stock market.

For instance, at their most basic level, companies like McDonald's (NYSE:MCD) and Coca-Cola (NYSE:KO) make money simply from marketing and selling products that many might typically think of as commodities. Yet each has solid profit margins that are substantially higher than their competitors. And each has remained profitable despite the recession -- or perhaps because of it.

Stick with solid funds
Similarly, mutual funds don't need to be complicated to perform well. Plenty of newfangled ETFs have made big splashes but failed to deliver long-term performance, while tried-and-true funds continue to plug away. Even if your funds didn't save you from the full impact of the bear market, they might do a far better job in the future than whatever you'd replace them with.

What are some of those desirable tried-and-true funds? Well, that's where you'll definitely want to take a look at the new issue of Champion Funds, where Amanda Kish talks about two strong funds with great track records that recently reopened their doors to new investors. Both funds are in the top 5% of their peer group over the past 15 years, and both have experienced managers who have seen their funds through bad times in the past.

It's easy to get full access to the latest issue and a host of other great resources by becoming a Champion Funds subscriber. And if you want to see what you're buying before you commit your hard-earned money, take advantage of our 30-day free trial offer, which opens the doors to everything the service has to offer.

Wall Street may continually offer new products, but that doesn't mean the old ones you own won't keep working for you. Often, the old ways truly are the best ways -- so don't trick yourself into replacing your current funds with long-term lemons.

For more on mutual fund investing, read about:

Frustrated with your 401(k)? Even if your employer's plan isn't the greatest, you don't have to give up your dreams of a happy retirement. Get the tips you need to turn your retirement savings around in our special report, "How To Make The Most of Your 401(k)" -- just click here for instant free access.

Fool contributor Dan Caplinger keeps his eyes open for investments that are too good to be true. He doesn't own shares of the companies mentioned in this article. Coca-Cola and Legg Mason are Motley Fool Inside Value picks. Coca-Cola is a Motley Fool Income Investor selection. The Fool owns shares of Legg Mason. Try any of our Foolish newsletters today, free for 30 days. The Fool's disclosure policy isn't the newest thing around, but it's just getting into its prime.