What Is a Value Fund?

A value fund is a fund that follows a value investing strategy and seeks to invest in stocks that are deemed to be undervalued in price based on fundamental characteristics. Value investing is often compared with growth investing, which focuses on emerging companies with high growth prospects.

How a Value Fund Works

Value funds and value investing are often synonymous with strategies developed by notable value investors Benjamin Graham and Warren Buffett. Value managers choose stocks for value funds based on the fundamental characteristics associated with a stock’s intrinsic value. Value funds are typically used as long-term investing allocations that have the potential to grow steadily over time. Value fund investing is thus often associated with investment due diligence and patience.

Nearly every large fund family offers a value fund. Value funds are often broken down by varying components. One of the most popular categories for variation is market capitalization. For example, investors may choose from a fund family that includes small-, mid-, and large-cap value funds.

The premise behind value investing is that the market has some inherent inefficiencies causing specific companies to trade at levels below their actual worth for various reasons. Value fund managers are skilled in identifying these market inefficiencies. In theory, once the market corrects these inefficiencies, the value investor will gain from an increase in the share price. Often value stocks are also associated with dividend payments since they are usually well-established companies with committed dividend distribution programs.

Key Takeaways

  • A value fund follows a strategy that focuses on investing in stocks that are undervalued in price based on fundamental characteristics.
  • Managers of value funds look for stocks that for various reasons are trading below their actual worth. 
  • The premise behind a value investing strategy is that once the market realizes the true value of these stocks, the share price will increase and the value fund investor will gain from this increase.
  • Value stocks are frequently well-established companies that offer investors dividend payments.
  • Warren Buffett, one of the world's most successful investors, is a value investor.

Examples of Value Funds

Below are four examples of some of the investment market’s value mutual funds and exchange traded funds (ETF).

1. The Vanguard Equity-Income Fund Investor Shares (VEIPX)

The Vanguard Equity-Income Fund Investor Shares focuses on investing in large-cap companies that pay investors above-average dividends. The fund is best for investors who want higher yields and have a long-term investment horizon.

2. The ClearBridge Large Cap Value Fund (SAIFX)

The ClearBridge Large Cap Value Fund is an actively managed value fund that seeks capital appreciation and income through a value-focused investing strategy. The fund offers multiple share classes. It also pays a consistent quarterly dividend.

3. The Invesco S&P 500 Enhanced Value ETF (SPVU)

The Invesco S&P 500 Enhanced Value ETF tracks the performance of the S&P 500 Enhanced Value Index. Fund managers invest at least 90% of the fund's assets in stocks that are part of the underlying index. Stocks in the index have a high "value score," which means they tend to be undervalued based on fundamental analysis.

4. The iShares Edge MSCI USA Value Factor ETF (VLUE)  

The iShares Edge MSCI USA Value Factor ETF is an index fund. It seeks to replicate the holdings and return of the MSCI USA Enhanced Value Index. The index includes U.S. large- and mid-cap stocks with value characteristics that trade at a comparatively low valuation.