The Capital Group's American Funds has been offering mutual funds to its clients since the early 1930s, making it one of the oldest established mutual fund companies. As of 2015, American Funds offers a total of 57 mutual funds spread across the investment categories of equities, bonds, money market funds and target-date retirement funds. The oldest American fund that is still active is a growth- and income-focused equity fund with an inception date of Jan. 1, 1934.
American Funds is a strong advocate of actively managed funds guided by professional analysts and managers. The company's mutual fund portfolios are constructed by combining the "highest conviction investment ideas" of a team of specialized researcher-analysts assigned to each fund.
Learn more about the 10 American Funds mutual funds with the longest established track records.
1) American Funds Investment Company of America
The Investment Company of America fund is an actively managed growth- and income-focused equity fund launched in January 1934. Its average annual return since inception is 12.05%, soundly outperforming the S&P 500 average annual return of 8.26% over the same time span. The five-year annualized return as of November 2015 is 12.25%. It has an expense ratio of 0.58% and a dividend yield of 1.35%.
2) American Mutual Fund
The American Mutual Fund is a large-cap value fund with the threefold aim of preserving capital, capital growth and income. Stocks are selected based on fundamental value factors and sustainable dividends. The fund launched in February 1950, and its average annual return since inception is 11.52%. The five-year annualized return is 11.87%. The fund's expense ratio is 0.59%. The dividend yield is 1.86%.
3) AMCAP Fund
The AMCAP Fund was started in May 1967 to seek long-term capital growth. The fund manager selects stocks of companies with established growth records based on consistently above-market average growth and earnings. The fund's average annual return since inception is 11.36%. The five-year annualized return is 14.18%. The fund's expense ratio is 0.68%, well below the category average of 1.19%. There is currently no dividend yield.
4) New Perspective Fund
American launched the New Perspective Fund in March 1973. The investment goal is long-term capital appreciation. The fund manager invests globally in primarily blue-chip multinational companies. The fund may be invested in common stock, preferred stock, bonds or convertible securities. The average annual return since inception is 12.16%. The five-year annualized return is 10.16%. The fund's expense ratio is 0.77%. Dividend yield is 0.53%.
5) The Growth Fund of America
The Growth Fund of America launched in December 1973, seeking long-term capital growth. The fund manager may invest in cyclical businesses, depressed industries or companies, and value or turnaround opportunities. The fund's average annual return since inception is 13.43%. Its five-year annualized return is 12.1%. The fund has a 0.67% expense ratio and offers a 0.32% dividend yield.
6) The Income Fund of America
The Income Fund of America was also introduced in December 1973, and its average annual return since inception is 10.96%. The five-year annualized return is 8.96%. The fund aims first for current income and then for capital growth by investing in a mix of stocks, convertible securities and bonds. The expense ratio is 0.55% and the fund has an attractive dividend yield of 2.95%.
7) The Bond Fund of America
The Bond Fund of America launched in May 1974 and has shown an average annual return of 7.73%. The fund's five-year annualized return is 2.93%. This is one of the most diversified bond funds, providing excellent flexibility for the fund manager to adjust to changing bond market conditions in pursuit of high income and preservation of capital. The fund is invested in corporate, mortgage and government debt securities. The expense ratio is 0.6%, and the fund yield is 1.84%.
8) American Balanced Fund
American began offering the American Balanced Fund in July 1975, and the fund has delivered an average annual return of 10.6% since inception. This fund seeks long-term capital growth and income growth. The fund manager invests a maximum of 75% of fund assets in common stock, and the remainder in bonds and other fixed-income securities. The fund's five-year annualized return is 10.77%. The expense ratio is 0.59%, and the dividend yield is 1.42%.
9) Fundamental Investors Fund
The Fundamental Investors Fund launched in August 1978 with the investment goal of capital appreciation. The fund manager invests in value opportunities and stocks identified as offering superior potential growth in sales and earnings. The fund's average annual return since inception is 12.26%, closely matching the five-year annualized return of 12.66%. The expense ratio is 0.6%, and the dividend yield is 0.99%.
10) The Tax-Exempt Bond Fund of America
The Tax-Exempt Bond Fund of America launched in October 1979. This fund seeks maximum tax-exempt income by investing primarily in municipal and public authority bonds and notes. The fund has an average annual return since inception of 6.55% and a five-year annualized return of 4.61%. The fund's 12-month yield is 3.12%, and its expense ratio is 0.54%.