Disadvantages of Mutual Funds
Fluctuating Returns: Like many other investments without a guaranteed return, there is always the possibility that the value of your mutual fund will depreciate. Equity mutual funds experience price fluctuations, along with the stocks that make up the fund. The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) does not back up mutual fund investments, and there is no guarantee of performance with any fund. Of course, almost every investment carries risk. But it's especially important for investors in money market funds to know that, unlike their bank counterparts, these will not be insured by the FDIC.
Cash: As you know already, mutual funds pool money from thousands of investors, so every day people are putting money into the fund as well as withdrawing it. To maintain the capacity to accommodate withdrawals, funds typically have to keep a large portion of their portfolios in cash. Having ample cash is great for liquidity, but money sitting around as cash is not working for you and thus is not very advantageous.
Costs: Mutual funds provide investors with professional management, but it comes at a cost – those expense ratios mentioned earlier. These fees reduce the fund's overall payout, and they're assessed to mutual fund investors regardless of the performance of the fund. As you can imagine, in years when the fund doesn't make money, these fees only magnify losses.
Diworsification: Many mutual fund investors tend to overcomplicate matters – that is, they acquire too many funds that are highly related and, as a result, don't get the risk-reducing benefits of diversification; in fact, they have made their portfolio more exposed, a syndrome called diworsification. At the other extreme, just because you own mutual funds doesn't mean you are automatically diversified. For example, a fund that invests only in a particular industry sector or region is still relatively risky.
Lack of Transparency: One thing that can lead to diworsification is the fact that a fund's purpose or makeup isn't always clear. Fund advertisements can guide investors down the wrong path. The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) requires that funds have at least 80% of assets in the particular type of investment implied in their names; how the remaining assets are invested is up to the fund manager. However, the different categories that qualify for the required 80% of the assets may be vague and wide-ranging. A fund can therefore manipulate prospective investors via its title: A fund that focuses narrowly on Congo stocks, for example, could be sold with the grander title "International High-Tech Fund."
Evaluating Funds: Researching and Comparing funds can be difficult. Unlike stocks, mutual funds do not offer investors the opportunity to compare the P/E ratio, sales growth, earnings per share, etc. A mutual fund's net asset value gives investors the total value of the fund's portfolio, less liabilities, but how do you know if one fund is better than another?
Warning: Mutual Fund investments are subject to market risk. Please read the offer document carefully before investing' says the "Disclaimer" in the every advertisement of the mutual fund.