Here is some really good news for you. The Skilled Investor has published an article about lower cost S&P 500 index mutual funds that you can read, entitled: Low Cost S&P 500 Index Mutual Funds. The Standard & Poors 500 stock index is the most common equity index fund benchmark in the U.S. The S and P 500 tracks about 75% of publicly traded U.S. equity market asset value.
Below you will also find our Fund Authority Score summary for Vanguard 500 Index mutual Fund Admiral Shares. From a lower cost standpoint, these VFIAX Admiral Shares are on the list as one of these best choices among all S&P500 index mutual funds.
The dominant issue in choosing among passively managed index mutual funds and ETF funds benchmarked against the S & P 500 is that securities industry management and trading fees are all over the map from reasonably low to shockingly high.
Vanguard Admiral Shares are not for the individual investor with limited funds, because they require an initial investment of $100,000 to get a rock-bottom annual expense ratio of .09%. For those who are starting their investment program or those who currently have more modest means, the Vanguard Investor Shares (VFINX) are an alternative. VFINX shares have a low annual expense ratio of .18% and a minimum initial deposit requirement of $3,000 in a taxable account.
Alternatively, an investor might choose one of the other funds listed in our Low Cost S&P 500 Index Mutual Funds article. Nevertheless, you should not be daunted by the $100,000 investment requirement. With a regular monthly investment program, over the years your assets could grow until you qualify for the lower expense ratio of VFIAX Admiral Shares. Furthermore, if you already have assets in Vanguard accounts that you have held for at least 10 years, then $50,000 is the minimum conversion limit.
The diversified investment fund strategy of the Vanguard 500 Index Fund
According to Vanguard’s website, the investment strategy of the Vanguard 500 Index mutual fund is to use a passive management or index “investment approach designed to track the performance of the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index, a widely recognized benchmark of U.S. stock market performance that is dominated by the stocks of large U.S. companies. The fund attempts to replicate the target index by investing all, or substantially all, of its assets in the stocks that make up the index, holding each stock in approximately the same proportion as its weighting in the index.”
The Fund Authority Score for Vanguard 500 Index mutual Fund Admiral Shares
Fund Authority Scores rate mutual funds and exchange traded funds (ETFs) on the most important economic factors that influence individual investors’ net long term diversified investment fund performance. The Skilled Investor developed the Fund Authority Score system to provide individual investors with concise and objective summaries of mutual funds and ETFs for comparisons within investment asset classes.
Using an integer scale ranging from -10 to +10, Fund Authority Scores measure five factors:
1) annualized management and investment sales expenses (40% weighting),
2) annual trading costs implied by investment fund portfolio turnover (30% weighting),
3) inferior and superior historical performance (20% weighting),
4) minimum fund maturity (5% weighting), and
5) minimum fund size for operating efficiency (5% weighting).
Fund Authority Summary for Vanguard 500 Index Fund Admiral Shares (VFIAX)
|Fund Authority Score Summary||Vanguard 500 Index Fund Admiral Shares||Fund Authority Score|
|TOTAL FUND AUTHORITY SCORE (scale of -10 to +10)||10|
|FUND AUTHORITY SCORING COMPONENTS|
|A) Management expenses and sales load fees (-4 to +4)|
|- Net annual management expense ratio with 12b-1 fees||0.09%|
|- Annualized front-end sales load with a 5 year amortization||0.00%|
|--- Total annual direct costs||0.09%||4|
|B) Investment fund portfolio transactions costs (-3 to +3)|
|-- Annual portfolio turnover as a trading cost proxy||5.2%||3|
|C) Penalize very inferior historical performance and credit average and superior historical performance (-2 to +2)|
|-- Total of the 3 year Morningstar and Lipper ratings||8||2|
|D) Is this investment fund sufficiently mature? (0 or +1)||1|
|E) Very small fund operating efficiency penalty (-1 or 0)||0|
|INVESTMENT FUND OVERVIEW|
|-- Type of investment fund||index mutual fund|
|-- Active versus passive management||passive index fund|
|-- Total net assets||$123.3 Billion (total fund assets -- $37.5B Admiral Shares)|
|-- Type of investment portfolio securities||stocks - equities|
|-- Geographic focus||North America|
|-- Market capitalization of portfolio securities||large|
|-- Strategy skew (value/growth/neither)||neither|
|-- Target performance benchmark index||Standard and Poors 500 Index|
|-- Year of inception||1976|
|-- Trading symbol||VFIAX|
|-- Share class evaluated||Admiral Shares|
|-- Minimum initial deposit for individual investor||$100000|
|TOP 10 INVESTMENT SECURITIES HOLDINGS||ExxonMobil Corporation (XOM)|
|General Electric Company (GE)|
|AT&T Inc. (T)|
|Microsoft Corporation (MSFT)|
|Citigroup Inc. (C)|
|Bank of America Corporation (BAC)|
|Procter & Gamble Company (PG)|
|Cisco Systems Inc. (CSCO)|
|Chevron Corporation (CVX)|
|Johnson & Johnson (JNJ)|
|--- Top 10 Investment Portfolio Holdings (%)||19.99%|
|Fund family website||www.vanguard.com|
|Customer service telephone number||800-662-2739|
|SEC Edgar fund filings and fund website accessed on||December 29, 2007|
– Most mutual funds and ETFs change their fees and trading strategies relatively little over time. Because investment expenses, trading/turnover costs, fund maturity, and operating efficiency account for 80% of the Fund Authority Score rating system, Fund Authority Scores tend to remain relatively stable over time for such consistent investment funds.
– The date in the table above indicates when fund information was accessed from SEC EDGAR filings and/or the fund company website. Normally, data used to develop Fund Authority Scores rely upon reporting periods ending the previous calendar quarter or half year.
– Unless otherwise stated, there are no business arrangements of any kind between The Skilled Investor and any financial product, service, or company that may be discussed in our publication’s articles.
– Fund Authority Scores are developed on a fund by fund basis. Just because a mutual fund or ETF has a high Fund Authority Score does not mean that other funds from that fund family do, as well. On your own, always be careful to check current management expenses, sales loads, portfolio turnover, fund maturity, fund size, fund performance, and other current factors before investing in any diversified investment fund.
– If you do not need and/or are unwilling to pay the direct and indirect costs of an investment counselor, stock broker, or other financial advisory intermediary, you should note that many mutual funds can be purchased directly from diversified investment fund families by accessing their websites or by calling their customer service telephone numbers. Similarly many ETFs can be purchased with lower transactions fees through discount brokers. (See these articles: Payment of Investment Advisors, Financial Planners, and Investment Counselors)
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