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Fund Spy: Morningstar's Inside Secrets to Selecting Mutual Funds that Outperform [Kindle Edition]

Russel Kinnel
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Author Russel Kinnel walks readers through the handful of keyfactors they need to pick winning funds. Armed with thequantitative data and qualitative research, they will gain theconfidence to pick great funds for the long-term. This book will beaccompanied by a web-based tool created by Morningstar, which willenable readers to evaluate their own funds using Kinnel's criteria.

Written in a fun and accessible manner, The Fund Spy offersKinnel's unique insight as a 14-year Morningstar fund analyst. Hespeaks plainly about the conflicts that can go against investors'interests, explaining how to avoid traps and push out the slicksales pitches facing today's investors. He also offers several "10lists," which provide quick answers to investors' most commonquestions (e.g., the Top 10 Funds to Recommend to Relatives, the 10Best Contrarian Managers, the 10 Most Overrated Managers).

Editorial Reviews

From the Inside Flap

If you're serious about picking the right investments for your portfolio, Fund Spy will put you on the right track.

Nobody is more familiar with mutual funds than author Russel Kinnel, the Director of Mutual Fund Research for Morningstar, Inc. and Editor of Morningstar® FundInvestor, a monthly newsletter for individual investors. He has spent over 15 years researching mutual funds and meeting with the people who manage them. Now, with Fund Spy, he offers unparalleled guidance that will sharpen your investing skills and help you find the best funds for your portfolio.

Filled with in-depth insights and expert advice, Fund Spy arms you with the information needed to intelligently screen and select a variety of funds. While both effective new strategies and time-tested techniques are outlined throughout this reliable resource, all of the methods here will help you avoid common mistakes and outperform the average investor.

Page by page, Fund Spy puts this process in perspective with detailed discussion of:

  • How to find managers who invest millions of their own money in their funds

  • Why fund expenses really matter

  • Using a fund's performance to understand its risk and reward profile, as well as its behavior in different types of markets

  • How to find great fund managers and teams

  • And much more

Combining quantitative data with qualitative research, Kinnel highlights key factors that drive fund performance and writes candidly about the industry's conflicts of interest that can harm investors.

Don't settle for high-cost, poorly run funds simply because they fell into your portfolio or someone is touting them. Follow the guidance found in Fund Spy and you'll quickly discover what it takes to research and buy the right funds. Three months from now, you may not see a difference, but you will see a dramatic difference in five or 10 years, when the power of compounding has substantially grown your portfolio and put more money in your pocket.

From the Back Cover

Many people spend more time researching purchases like cars and computers than they do figuring out how they will invest their money. Although buying a car or computer may be more fun, choosing the right investments can significantly impact your life—whether it be retirement or your kids' college education.

Picking funds that will outperform their peers over the long haul may take a little time, but in the end, you'll be better off for it. That's why Russel Kinnel—Director of Mutual Fund Research for Morningstar, Inc. and Editor of Morningstar® FundInvestor—has written Fund Spy. With a straightforward and accessible style, this book offers unparalleled guidance that will sharpen your investing skills and help you find the best funds for your portfolio.

With this book as your guide, you'll discover:

  • How knowing a fund's strategy can enable you to properly evaluate performance, adopt reasonable expectations, and build a portfolio of funds that work together

  • Why you want fund managers who "eat their own cooking"

  • The pros and cons of big no-load fund companies and broker-sold fund companies

  • And much more

You don't have to be a professional fund manager to succeed at this endeavor, but you do have to be prepared. Fund Spy contains proven methods that will allow you to build a portfolio of dependable funds that will prosper over the long term.

Product Details

  • File Size: 971 KB
  • Print Length: 196 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0470414014
  • Publisher: Wiley; 1 edition (March 23, 2009)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00245A49G
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #612,178 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Worth Your Time To Read May 9, 2011
I recently received this short read as a free promotional item offered with my subscription to Morningstar FundInvestor. I almost didn't read it, because I thought it was going to be too basic for someone who has been investing in equity mutual funds for over thirty years.
Well, I am glad I put aside that belief and spent a few hours of my time to read this well written book by Russel Kinnel. Sure it contains a lot of basics, but what is wrong with being reminded of basic fund investment advice. Every time I play golf I think of the basics of the swing. We all need to be reminded of basic investment advice.
However, this small book contains much more than basic fund investing advice. Mr. Kinnel shares with the reader his many years of experience in researching and dealing with hundreds of funds and fund advisors. He recommends funds and fund advisors although he makes the point that funds can drift from their objectives and advisors come and go, so his recommendations may change since the book was published. Mr. Kinnel doesn't pull any punches in his evaluation of funds. If the fund is a good one over the long term he says so. If the fund is a stinker, he says that as well in exactly that way. It's a STINKER!
I highly recommend this book to anyone investing in mutual funds. It contains many nuggets of wisdom and will bring your vision back to the basics of mutual fund investing.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good Starting Point June 27, 2011
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
This book helps you narrow down your list of possible mutual funds to purchase using historical data for thousands of funds over the last several years along with the experience of Morningstar's team of investors. One of the most helpful hints in the book is the free link at which can be used to screen potential mutual funds using the key factors described in the book. Some of these factors are subjective on the author's part, so be aware that the FundSpy tool is not based on objective data only. Personally, I think using Morningstar's Basic Fund Screener first to narrow down your list of funds to a select few followed by use of the FundSpy tool is a great way to get started, then you can dive down into the details before a final selection. Of course, this is only one person's take on mutual fund investing, but for those of you (like me) who are pressed for time, it's a helpful addition to the process of selecting funds.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I am very surprised this has only 6 reviews. The book is full of useful information on how to evaluate funds, well organized, easy to read. I am taking notes from it at this moment for a report I am preparing for my own firm. I started with the kindle edition and ended up ordering the hard copy as well because I want the graphs.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Of the dozens of books on investing that I have read in recent years, FundSpy has proven to be one of the most useful and practical, with very promising results. As with most Joe Six-Packs who have tried to unlock the secrets of buying/selling stocks by using information widely available in print and on the internet, I came to the realization at some point that I simply was not cut out for the job. To be sure, I was the proverbial sucker at the poker table who could not spot the sucker at the poker table.

This predicament reminded me of an excerpt from William Bernstein's book, The Investor's Manifesto:
Consider what Charles Ellis, who helps oversee the $15-billion endowment fund at Yale University, said:
Watch a pro football game, and it's obvious the guys on the field are far faster, stronger and more willing to bear and inflict pain than you are. Surely you would say, 'I don't want to play against those guys!'

Well, 90% of stock market volume is done by institutions, and half of that is done by the world's 50 largest investment firms; deeply committed, vastly well prepared -- the smartest sons of bitches in the world working their tails off all day long. You know what? I don't want to play against those guys either.

At the point where a bloke realizes that he cannot swim with the Wall Street sharks, it's time to seek help from more experienced others. Perhaps a Certified Financial Planner (non-commission based)...or a writer who has made a career out of examining the inner circles of popular fund companies. This is where Russel Kinnel and his FundSpy book come into play.
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15 of 22 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Great Service for Investors May 12, 2009
This book is well written and, in the typical Morningstar style, makes what many fund managers want you to believe is a very complex subject, quite simple.

Mr. Kinnel separates the hype of what worked well over a couple of years from the statistically valid predictors of performance. He even gives you the odds of investing.

While I don't agree with all of Mr. Kinnel's fund selections, they are well thought out and methodically selected. Much of the mutual fund industry will hate this book, which is exactly why you should read it.

How a Second Grader Beats Wall Street: Golden Rules Any Investor Can Learn
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars as described a wonderful seller
as described a wonderful seller
Published 8 months ago by Paul Ganjian
5.0 out of 5 stars Very informative
This Morningstar manual is very informative and helps the investor deepen his or her knowledge of mutual fund investing. An interesting read for those who want to know.
Published 12 months ago by Jerry
1.0 out of 5 stars Fund Spy
I decided to not buy this book because after reading excerpts from it on google I decided that Mr Kinnel's biased approach was more a sales pitch for mutual funds than it was an... Read more
Published on October 26, 2009 by Richard Knutson
5.0 out of 5 stars Good, easy read for those not necessarily investment savvy
Easy read, breaks mutual funds down into easy to understand pieces and if you still don't get it, Kinnel gives you his top 20 favorites.
Published on September 11, 2009 by Cynthia C. Newman
5.0 out of 5 stars Morningstar is the best source of mutual fund information
Morningstar was founded in order to cover mutual funds. What better source to learn about mutual funds from if not the SOURCE? Read more
Published on August 12, 2009 by Mariusz Skonieczny
5.0 out of 5 stars Investing
If you invest in Mutual Funds, this is one you should have in your library.
Published on June 27, 2009 by Robert A. Bowen
5.0 out of 5 stars Morningstar Fund Spy
Morningstar has been at it for a while now and again bring out the best of information for the small investor to read with Fund Spy. Read more
Published on June 12, 2009 by Dr Adam Weiss
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More About the Author

With a bachelor's degree in economics and journalism from the University of Wisconsin-Madison under his belt, Russel Kinnel began his career at Morningstar in 1994. Fifteen years later, Russ is now Director of Mutual Fund Research and Editor of "Morningstar® FundInvestor," a monthly print newsletter for individual investors. He also oversees Morningstar's Fund Analyst Picks & Pans, writes the "Fund Spy" column for the company's investment Web site, and pens a monthly mutual-funds column for "Kiplinger's Personal Finance" magazine.

During his time at Morningstar, Russ has analyzed virtually every type of fund and has covered the most dominant fund families, including Fidelity, T. Rowe Price, and Vanguard. In fact, Russ's hard-hitting and sometimes controversial analysis led one fund company to put his name on a punching bag in their offices.

Russ helped develop the new Morningstar Rating for funds and the new Morningstar Style Box methodology. He also is co-author of the company's first book, "The Morningstar Guide to Mutual Funds: 5-Star Strategies for Success," a national best-seller which was published by John Wiley & Sons in January 2003.

Russ's most recent achievement, "Fund Spy: Morningstar's Inside Secrets to Selecting Mutual Funds That Outperform," was published in 2009. Written in a straightforward and accessible style, this book is filled with in-depth insights that will sharpen your investing skills and help you screen and find the best funds for your portfolio. "Fund Spy" offers proven strategies that show you methods on how to evaluate performance, assess fund managers, and ultimately choose funds that will help achieve your long-term financial goals. According to the Associated Press, "the book presents the essentials of fund selection in a way that's accessible to novice investors."

Russ lives in Chicago with his wife, Elisabeth. He is an avid fan of the Chicago Bulls and Wisconsin Badgers. Russ also likes hiking and jazz.

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