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

Russel Kinnel
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Author Russel Kinnel walks readers through the handful of key factors they need to pick winning funds. Armed with the quantitative data and qualitative research, they will gain the confidence to pick great funds for the long-term. This book will be accompanied by a web-based tool created by Morningstar, which will enable readers to evaluate their own funds using Kinnel's criteria.

Written in a fun and accessible manner, The Fund Spy offers Kinnel's unique insight as a 14-year Morningstar fund analyst. He speaks plainly about the conflicts that can go against investors' interests, explaining how to avoid traps and push out the slick sales pitches facing today's investors. He also offers several "10 lists," which provide quick answers to investors' most common questions (e.g., the Top 10 Funds to Recommend to Relatives, the 10 Best 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:
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #324,992 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
3 of 3 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
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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2 of 2 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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14 of 21 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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5.0 out of 5 stars Very informative April 14, 2014
By Jerry
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
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.
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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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