Readers: What are Your Favorite Mutual Funds?

I know mutual funds are mostly a dinosaur product at this point, but some of them are still quite useful and every once in a while I come across one that I find to be a real value add.  That said, the mutual fund universe is enormous and I don’t follow them all.  So I am curious – what are your absolute favorite MUTUAL funds?  I am hoping to spark a little bit of a discussion about different funds and what some of you find to be the characteristics or reasons for owning an old school mutual fund.  I’ll throw an obvious candidate out there just for fun – The DoubleLine Total Return fund which has a reasonable expense structure and adds diversification through the uniqueness of Gundlach’s approach and expertise.

Thanks for any input and thoughts here!


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Cullen Roche

Mr. Roche is the Founder of Orcam Financial Group, LLC. Orcam is a financial services firm offering research, private advisory, institutional consulting and educational services.

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  • Josh

    ADANX – AQR Diversified Arb
    AUENX – AQR Defensive Equity
    PTTRX – PIMCO Total Return
    PDCRX – PIMCO Credit Absolute Return
    OSTIX – Osterweis Strategic Income Fund

  • Cognitive Dissonance

    TFSMX – TFS Market Neutral Fund, not usually a big fan a pure quant plays, but I like this fund.

  • Romeo Fayette

    Not an exhaustive list…

    DLTNX DoubleLine Total Return
    GWMTX GW&K Muni Bond
    MDDVX Blackrock Equity Dividend
    ODMAX Oppenheimer Developing Markets
    RSFLX RS Floating Rate Fund
    SGENX First Eagle Global Fund

  • S.E.

    Most of the American Fund Family

  • Colin

    OAKIX- Oakmark International
    OAKMX- Oakmark I
    FAIRX- Fairholme Fund
    MXXVX- Matthews 25
    YACKX- Yacktman Fund

  • Tom Brown

    For those who don’t like to think too much (like me):

    Vanguard Target Retirement 20XX (there’s a lot of them).

    For example, the 2030 fund:


    Relatively low expense ratio (0.17%), and they do the re-balancing for you as the years go by. Right now it’s 78% stocks and 22% bonds. It’s very broadly diversified (composed of Vanguard’s total stock market fund, total international stock market fund, and total bond market fund).

  • Jimmie


  • sk

    Akre Focus akrex
    Fairholme fairx
    Goodhaven goodx
    Keeley Alternative Value kalix
    Marketfield mfldx
    Lord Abbett Inflation Focused liffx
    Oppenheimer Developing Markets odvyx
    Doubleline Total Return dbltx

  • Jorge

    Agreed that mutual funds are dinosaurs, however, there are a few reasons to own a select few. Products that give the investor access to unique or niche areas of the market, where ETFs are yet to prove themselves effective, is one reason.

    My most interesting holding is the Perritt Ultra-Microcap Fund (PREOX), it invests in the smallest companies in the equity market, the fund has the lowest average market cap I’ve yet to see.

  • jack

    The father and son team at The Bruce Fund have a good product.

  • Chad M

    VWENX (VWELX) depending on whether you are retail or institutional. They are the same. Sadly they are closed to new investors. Large cap, generally 65/35 equity/bond exposure. This is an oldie but goodie around since 1929.

  • Ryan

    Kinetic Paradigm WWNPX

  • Ryan

    A couple more….

    Matthews Asia Dividend Fund (MAPIX)
    Artisan International Small Cap Fund (ARTJX) –closed
    Artisan Global Small Cap Fund (ARWX) –opening April 24th

    Why are mutual funds “old school” “dinosaurs”?

    The are cheaper then SMAs. They are more liquid, less expensive, and just as transparent as hedge funds. And if you find a manager with high active share and high tracking error, you can out perform ETFs.

  • Frederick

    Waiting on the Roche Fund. Where is it Cullen? You understand most of this stuff better than 99% of the public and yet you seem like you don’t want to help people by running a fund? Have you ever looked into it?

  • Tom Brown

    Vanguard is great for low cost index funds in general. I pay a 0.02% expense ratio on my Vanguard S&P 500 fund (VIFSX). I feel like a chump if I’m paying anything above 0.30% for any fund now.

  • Peter

    Won’t repeat a bunch of good ones listed above, but do have one to add: Thomas Soviero at Fidelity and the Leveraged Company Stock Fund (FLVIX). Truly terrifying on the way down, but more than makes up for it on the way up.

  • jazzman

    PRHSX – T Rowe Price Health Sciences

    Expenses are higher than Vanguard but it’s been a solid performer.

  • Aaron


    Doing any buy and hold, long and strong, makes me cringe. I think we all have to think more tactical and global over the long term. There’s no guarantee that US stocks and bonds will have a positive return over the rest of my lifetime. Any trading/investing system I use, includes international stocks and bonds.

  • Boston Larry

    Vanguard Wellesley Income Fund (VWINX) is one of the very best “All Weather” funds. It lags in up markets (like 1st Qtr ’13) and it does fall in down markets, but nowhere near as much as most stock funds. It earns a B in up markets and a B in down markets, but overall I think it deserves an A. It is balanced with 37% equities and 63% bonds. The 5 yr annualized return is 8.0%, which includes Oct 2008.

  • Cullen Roche

    Thanks everyone. Super helpful.

  • View from Silicon Valley

    What’s a mutual fund? What’s out there that can’t be replicated by en ETF?

  • Ben


  • zmt63

    A lot of great suggestions. I’m surprised that no one included The Permanent Portfolio (PRPFX). Similar framework as a lot of what Brigewater’s Dalio talks about but at a cost of 70bps.

  • Cullen Roche

    I am exploring ways to get back into the game. But if I do it I want it to be ultra retail client friendly and in keeping with many of the principles that I founded Orcam on….

  • Glen Bradford


  • Anon Jon

    OCS.UN – OCP Credit Strategy Fund – It’s a Canadian/TSX listed closed-end fund run by Onex Credit Partners. Plus their monthly updates are an absolute hoot when they talk about going to court and their other event-driven investment strategies.

  • Hntnfsh4evr

    Geez I don’t even pay attention to mutual funds anymore as alpha generation via security selection is neither reliable nor static across managers.

    Fundamental indexing and/or rebalancing, low volatility equities and high quality is about all you need once the asset allocation mix is established.

    If you ignore risk parity you are in good shape also. Being agnostic about valuation is a backwards way to invest I think.

  • Boston Larry

    The big problem with Permanent Portfolio is its holdings in Gold and Silver. It was a fantastic ride on the way up. It’s gonna be one helluva drag on the way down as the precious metals bubble bursts and goes slip sliding away…. You are gonna be better off in VWINX.

  • ogd

    VTSAX – vanguard total stock market
    VTIAX – vanguard total international stock market

    (These two are as good as any ETFs you’re gonna find. Core holdings. Don’ need to justify)

    VWILX – vanguard int’l growth – a little cheap management and tech bias for internationals
    DBLTX, MWTRX – DoubleLine and MetWest Total Return – because the bond landscape is tricky these days. They are both cheap-ish at these levels.
    VWELX – Wellington – parents get income, a little bond management, don’t freak out in bear markets.
    VCADX – CA munis – for bonds in taxable accounts.

  • Giuseppe Piazzolla

    CISGX Very low turnover and high growth
    FAIRX Loved because no benchmark aware
    FPACX Where I’ll leave all my money if forced to choose only one fund for the long term
    FPPTX Where I’ll leave half of my money if forced to choose ANOTHER fund …
    GAVAX Original approach, about intellectual property & intangible assets
    PZFVX Hated but genuine deep
    RYSEX Great high quality, good balance sheet
    TGVAX Really eccentric and pure all world caps

  • farthing

    PRWCX, T. Rowe Price’s Capital Appreciation. Only 2 losing years since inception in 1986.

    One-stop shopping, to my way of thinking. Rarely mentioned on any message boards.

  • BHB

    Agree with YACKX. Really underappreciated mutual fun. Or should I say under the radar as in not on CNBC and Bloomberg everyday.

  • http://pragcap Michael Schofield

    It may not be a mutual fund but I find BRKB to be an extremely useful default.

  • bart

    A rich wife is the very best “mutual” fund, throughout history.

    And a bit more seriously, a gold hedged S&P has been quite good since 2009 – SPGH.

  • Ginko

    I would echo a number of the funds mentioned above (including FPA Crescent, Doublelines, Yacktman, Oppenheimer Developing Markets, and Matthews funds), but I’d also add Pimco All Asset All Allocation. Even though I find that the manager, Robert Arnott, has a highly ideologically driven understanding of monetary variables, he seems to share that to such an extent with markets that he ends up being a savvy investor.

  • Jaybird

    I like these:

    Matthews Growth & Income
    First Eagle Global
    Third Avenue Real Estate
    Fidelity Small-cap Discovery
    Oakmark International

    And my absolute favorite….

    Hussman Strategic Growth (JUST KIDDING!!!!!)
    -This blowhard is the worst manager ever.

  • Liz Logan

    Wasatch Frontier Emerging Small Countries Fund (WAFMX) cannot be replicated with ETFs and is my favorite holding.

  • Andy G

    Fidelity Low-Priced Stock managed by Joel Tillinghast has been a perennial winner. I also like Driehaus Emerging Markets and Permanent Portfolio.

  • UbuTranscendent

    An equal weight portfolio with an excellent track record:

    The Bruce Fund
    Yacktman Focused
    SouthernSun Small Cap
    T. Rowe Price Capital Appreciation

  • dags

    Invsco perpetual high income. Neil woodford is very good.

  • Aaron

    Forgot about WAVIX. Although it is new, the concept is good and I like the guys running it. Closest thing you can get to a fund run by now-retired Tom Basso.