Who's Behind Your Mutual Fund?

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As any savvy investor will tell you, research is the key to getting the most out of your money. Constantly updating your knowledge of your investments is the only way to know what is working and why.

And when it comes to mutual funds, knowing who the people are behind the funds is just as important as the funds themselves. Are these people looking out for their investors or for their own wallets?

So start looking at your fund's statement of additional information, or SAI. This information, contained in the fund's official sales documentation, lists the fund's directors, their pay and how much of their own money they have invested in the funds they oversee.

You might be surprised to learn that many directors do not have money invested in the funds for which they are responsible. That can be OK; this does not mean the director is incompetent or indifferent in his or her oversight of these funds. Many funds have excellent returns and are well managed by directors who have no assets in them. Conversely, other funds where directors have their own money at stake can perform terribly.

However, the absence of any personal commitment to a fund from its directors can be a warning sign, particularly if you find any other indications that the fund is poorly managed. In that case, it might be time to get your money out.

The SAI is not included in the fund's prospectus and is not sent out unless requested, so call your fund to request a free copy.