3 Bad Reasons to Sell a Fund

Your own criteria should drive buying and selling an investment - not the news, social media or short-term performance

Valerio Baselli 17 June, 2021 | 9:26AM
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Looking at the market today, it's easy to forget where we were at around 15 months ago. Many of the market declines of the past decade or so, including the stock market crash of 2008, are fast becoming faded memories for most of us. But it is the investors who endured these difficult times came out in perhaps the best shape, and as is often the case, those who had the nerve to stay invested were richly rewarded.

And yet, the decision about whether to change your investment strategy or sell a fund is usually not clear-cut, even in hindsight. After the dust has settled on a decision and the investment has performed well or poorly, the “right” answer is wholly dependent on the individual. Selling criteria are not a one-size-fits-all list that fit every investor, but there are some situations when selling is particularly ill-advised. Christine Benz, director of personal finance at Morningstar, picks these three key examples.

Poor Short-Term Performance

It’s almost never a good idea to sell a fund based on weak performance alone, especially over the short-term. You might have been tempted to sell in last year's market sell-off for example, but we now know the Covid crash was the shortest in history. Instead, if a fund is lagging its peers or an index, your first move should be to investigate why that is. It could be that the manager is simply sticking with an investment strategy that happens to be out of favour, as has been the case with many value-leaning funds in recent years. But weak performance may also be a sign that something more serious is afoot - Morningstar's own research has found that many active funds fail to beat the market over the long-term.

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Valerio Baselli

Valerio Baselli  Valerio Baselli is an Editor at Morningstar Italy.

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