Introduction to Benchmarks for Funds

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Do you use benchmarks to evaluate a mutual fund's performance? Let's look at the case for doing so. There are several alternatives you can use -- a personal benchmark, an index, and fund peer groups.

What you will learn

  • Your Personal Benchmark
  • Indexes as Benchmarks
  • Peer Groups as Benchmarks

What do you know?

Introduction to Benchmarks for Funds

Weightlifter Matthias Steiner hoisted more than 1,000 pounds in two lifts to claim the gold medal at the 2008 Beijing Olympics. He didn’t lift perfectly at the event, but the 310-pound athlete was nonetheless able to best his peers that day to take the top honors.

The maximum weight that you can lift is often regarded as the definitive statement of your strength. Yet what actually constitutes a "good" bench-press depends on the person: a 5’5" man or woman who can bench-press 150 pounds may have a superior strength-to-bodyweight ratio compared with a 6’2" man or woman who can bench-press 250 pounds.

The same relativity holds true when examining a mutual fund’s performance. What constitutes a "good" return depends on your needs and the type of fund. That’s where benchmarks come in to play.