Investment Companies - Performance

Total Return
When measuring performance, the actual rate of return of an investment or a pool of investments over a given evaluation period. Total return includes interest, capital gains, dividends and distributions realized over a given period of time. Total return accounts for two categories of return: income and capital appreciation. Income includes interest paid by fixed-income investments, distributions or dividends.

Capital appreciation represents the change in the market price of an asset.

Annual Income. or Current Yield

For investors who are interested in generating current income or who have income as a secondary objective comparing the income or current yields of two funds may be an important point to review to determine the best overall performance.

Expense Ratio
The percentage of total fund assets that is used to cover expenses associated with the operation of a mutual fund. This amount is taken out of the fund's assets and lowers the return that fund holders achieve. These expenses include management fees and operating expenses. The management fee is the fee that is charged to the fund by the portfolio manager, and it is often a fixed percentage. The operating expenses are the expenses that the fund incurs through operation and this can include brokerage fees, taxes, investor services, and interest expenses.

Also known as the "management expense ratio" (MER).

The amount of the MER is usually dependent on how active the portfolio manager is in the trading of the fund; an actively managed fund will have a higher ratio than an index fund, for instance. It is important for investors to be aware of the MER as it affects the rate of return that an investor in the fund achieves. The amount of the MER must be stated in the fund's prospectus.

Quantitative Risk Management
A form of analysis that uses financial information derived from a security's issuing company's annual reports and income statements to evaluate the security's investment risk.

Tracking Investment Company Securities Performance
Mutual fund quotations are available in daily publications such as the Wall Street Journal or the business section of your local newspaper. Financial sites such as, and Yahoo! Finance offer free mutual fund quotes and allow you to search by the fund's five-letter symbol.

These websites also have a symbol look-up feature, in case you do not know the fund's trading symbol. Moreover, most investment companies now have their own websites where you can download prospectuses, fact sheets and detailed information on fund holdings and investment objectives.

Related Articles
  1. Professionals

    Career Advice: Financial Analyst Vs. Investment Banker

    Read an in-depth comparison about working as a Financial Analyst vs. working as an Investment Banker, two highly prestigious business careers.
  2. Professionals

    Who Needs to Take the Series 65?

    Most states require individuals to pass the Series 65 exam in order to act as investment advisors.
  3. Investing Basics

    How to Vet Financial Advisors Via BrokerCheck

    Many people research restaurants or movies, but few select brokers or financial advisors with much research. Here's how BrokerCheck can help.
  4. Professionals

    Career Advice: Financial Planner Vs. Stockbroker

    Read an in-depth review of a career as a financial planner as opposed to a career as a stockbroker, including how to decide which is best for you.
  5. Term

    Understanding the Maintenance Margin

    A maintenance margin is the minimum amount of equity that must be kept in a margin account.
  6. Investing Basics

    Brokers and RIAs: One and the Same?

    Brokers and registered investment advisors have some key differences. Here's what you need to know.
  7. Professionals

    Is a Google Robo-Advisor on the Horizon?

    It's possible that Google is looking to get into the robo-advisor business, either as a new venture or as a way to provide more benefits to employees.
  8. Professionals

    Understanding Series 6

    Upon successful completion of the Series 6, an individual will have the qualifications needed to sell open end mutual funds and variable annuities
  9. Professionals

    Top Strategies on How to Become a Stock Broker

    Gunning to be a stock broker and want an edge? Here's some veteran advice.
  10. Trading Systems & Software

    Steps to Starting Up an Independent Broker Dealer

    Launching your own broker-dealer is a lot of work, but the potential payoff is great, both personally and financially.
  1. Maintenance Margin

    The minimum amount of equity that must be maintained in a margin ...
  2. Series 6

    A securities license entitling the holder to register as a limited ...
  3. Comprehensive Automated Risk Data ...

    The Comprehensive Automated Risk Data System (CARDS) is an initiative ...
  4. Corporate Financing Committee

    A regulatory group that reviews documentation that is submitted ...
  5. Series 79

    A examination to ensure a candidate is qualified to become a ...
  6. Research Analyst

    A person who prepares investigative reports on equity securities. ...
  1. Do financial advisors need to pass the Series 7 exam?

    The exact nature of a financial advisor's job responsibilities determines whether he must have a Series 7 license. If a financial ... Read Full Answer >>
  2. Is a financial advisor required to have a degree?

    Financial advisors are not required to have university degrees. However, they are required to pass certain exams administered ... Read Full Answer >>
  3. Do financial advisors need to be approved by FINRA?

    The term "financial advisor" can refer to a couple of different roles. It most often refers to a broker-dealer or an investment ... Read Full Answer >>
  4. How does a broker decide which customers are eligible to open a margin account?

    Brokers have the sole discretion to determine which customers may open margin accounts with them, although there are regulations ... Read Full Answer >>
  5. What are some of the major regulatory agencies responsible for overseeing financial ...

    There are a number of agencies assigned to regulate and oversee financial institutions and financial markets, including the ... Read Full Answer >>
  6. Why is the Nasdaq more heavily weighted to tech stocks than other stock exchanges?

    The Nasdaq became the world's first electronic stock exchange at its inception in 1971. The exchange's dedication to advancing ... Read Full Answer >>
Hot Definitions
  1. Section 1231 Property

    A tax term relating to depreciable business property that has been held for over a year. Section 1231 property includes buildings, ...
  2. Term Deposit

    A deposit held at a financial institution that has a fixed term, and guarantees return of principal.
  3. Zero-Sum Game

    A situation in which one person’s gain is equivalent to another’s loss, so that the net change in wealth or benefit is zero. ...
  4. Capitalization Rate

    The rate of return on a real estate investment property based on the income that the property is expected to generate.
  5. Gross Profit

    A company's total revenue (equivalent to total sales) minus the cost of goods sold. Gross profit is the profit a company ...
  6. Revenue

    The amount of money that a company actually receives during a specific period, including discounts and deductions for returned ...
Trading Center
You are using adblocking software

Want access to all of Investopedia? Add us to your “whitelist”
so you'll never miss a feature!