If you've been burned on Wall Street (and who hasn't?) but still need a practical place to park your savings (who doesn't?), Gregory Baer and Gary Gensler have your number. While somewhat mistitled because it decries "active investing" in individual stocks as well as in mutual funds, The Great Mutual Fund Trap
is nonetheless a clearly and even entertainingly written argument in favor of the alternative: investing broadly in stocks that mirror the performance of the overall market. During their years in private investment and with the U.S. Treasury and Federal Reserve, Baer and Gensler have come to believe the high fees and high risks that go with always trying to beat the market make "active investing"--be it constantly fiddling with your own portfolio or relying on professionals to do so for you--a no-win proposition. Instead, they say, you can actually improve returns by shifting to "passive investments" that offer lower costs and greater tax efficiency. After explaining why they feel as they do, the authors thoroughly describe the appropriate vehicles--index mutual funds, exchange-traded index funds, and several other products--in a way that makes these staid options seem almost exciting and gives interested readers all the tools they need to utilize them. --Howard Rothman
From Publishers Weekly
Gregory Baer is the former Assistant Secretary of the Treasury for Financial Institutions, and Gary Gensler was once Under Secretary of the Treasury responsible for policies in the areas of U.S. financial markets, debt management and financial services. The two have teamed up to write The Great Mutual Fund Trap: An Investment Recovery Plan. Their book is meant for Americans who invest in the stock or bond market as a means to achieve long-term goals-such as paying their children's college tuition or securing their own retirement-but who, say Baer and Gensler, are paying unnecessary fees and running needless risks. Wishing to alert consumers to the traps that await them in financial markets, the authors offer alternatives and new opportunities for investors to improve returns and diminish risks, such as moving from "active" to "passive" investment, investing in international stocks, distrusting "hot funds" and investing in index funds. Conversational and easy to read, Baer and Gensler present realistic advice that will be useful to everyday investors.
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc.