Wylie Pick: BlackRock International Index A MDIIX
Selecting from mutual funds available through Etrade with no load or transaction fee and an initial $2500 investment or lower minimum and subsequent $100 or lower minimums, when looking for another Foreign fund, I include all International Foreign Category Funds and use the Mutual fund screener to a number of options.
I was planning to choose a Foreign Small/Mid Cap Value fund to balance against the Foreign Small/Mid Cap Growth fund already selected. Sadly, there is only one available through Etrade to new investors and I do not like the looks of it.
ICON International Equity I IIQIX is listed as a Small/Mid Cap fund, but then is also listed (yes, both links go to the same page!) as a Large Cap Blend fund that recently changed from being a Large Cap Growth fund. The average market value of companies held by the fund is $15 billion. A small company fund this ain't. And it may be focused on value companies or growth or both. Now we could dive deeper into this and try and figure it out, but why bother...
The expenses on this fund are 1.71% which is higher than any of the other Foreign funds across all categories. The turnover ratio was also higher than all other funds from this search and that is only acceptable if performance is stellar on a comparative basis and it is not. It has slightly out-performed one of the benchmarks it claims to track, but has underperformed the average of its peers in this group:
So instead of a Small/Mid Cap company fund I'll chose a Foreign Large Cap Blend fund to compliment the Foreign Growth and Value funds already in the portfolio and I'll ignore the ICON fund because of high expenses and turnover.
Among Blend funds we have 6 choices and really 2 choices that stand out. And upon further investigation, one of these two funds- SSgA International Stock Selection SSAIX is listed as a Blend fund but is also listed as a Value fund and has been a operating as a Value fund for many years. I already have a value fund so I am going with the other choice.
I'm starting to wonder if all of these category designations are being manipulated to represent performance in a better light than is legit. Funds are often measured against their peers, but if a fund is compared against peers in a category other than the one in which it invests, then the comparison is not really valid and perhaps fraudulent.
Anyway, BlackRock International Index A MDIIX is a foreign blend index fund. It has lower than average expenses (0.81%) and turnover (23%) which one expects with an index fund and has performed better than all the other legit Blend funds available over the last year.