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A thrilling transfer to my actively managed portfolio

Last Updated on January 4, 2019 by Mr. FightToFIRE

A cold breeze is passing through and Halloween is right around the corner. Yep, it’s October. So it’s time I do something frighting. Why don’t I deposit an additional 10,000 EUR to my actively managed portfolio?

Active funds aren’t popular in the FIRE community or with anyone looking into investing themselves and who know of ETFs.
There is a reluctance to use these funds and with good reason given their entry and management fees. Even Warren Buffett is dismissive about them.

The fees these funds charge are hefty after all. Exactly how hefty? here are the five funds I have:

  • Robeco QI Emerging Conservative Equities EUR DIS (LU0582532197):
    • Entry fee: 2.00%
    • Running costs: 1.51%
  • Franklin US Opps A acc EUR HDG CA (LU0316494391):
    • Entry fee: 2.00%
    • Running costs: 1.99%
  • Fidelity Pacific Fund EUR CAP (LU0368678339):
    • Entry fee: 2.00%
    • Running costs: 2.02%
  • JPM Europe Equity PLus A acc CAP EUR CAP (LU0289089384):
    • Entry fee: 2.00%
    • Running costs: 2.00%
  • Robeco CAP grwth-property CAP RC 4 (LU0187079180):
    • Entry fee: 2.00%
    • Running costs: 2.00%

So knowing these ridiculous costs why would I even think about adding 10,000 to my original 10,000 EUR account? Why am I not doing the exact opposite?

Smooth sailing with active funds

To be frank, I wish to experience firsthand, using my own money and taking a personal risk, just how these fees impact performance. On top of that, I view this portfolio as another diversification of my wealth. A costlier diversification, I admit, but one regardless.
Finally, I also want to use it as a sort of benchmark, to see how well (or bad) these funds, recommended by my local bank, perform against my own personal investment choices.
In defense of these funds, they don’t perform that bad.

Take Fidelity Pacific fund for example. Using the convenient MorningStar comparison tool, I can generate a simple graph indicating how the fund performed the last 10 years.
An important note here is that the past decade was one of nothing but smooth sailing except for the bump caused by China in 2015 and these last couple of weeks. This resulted in solid and smooth returns for this fund. It’s a similar picture with all but the Robeco growth property fund.

Performance of the Emerging Markets
The actively managed funds are actually performing remarkably well compared to its index and even the passive fund IEMA.

That's it

At the moment of writing, instead of going up, my active funds took a hit and my portfolio is down to ~8%. I’m not really sad or upset about it. Besides the idea of using this portfolio as a benchmark of sort, I saw this recent drop as a good opportunity to invest some extra cash.
While I also have a personal portfolio, I played with the idea to add some additional funds to these active funds one more time for quite some time. Instead of waiting even longer I decided to go for it now.

In the end, time will tell if this was all a waste of time or if the selected funds did provide a good Return On Investment (ROI). After this new deposit in don’t plan to add more in short- and midterm, i.e., the next 2 – 5 years.

My actual deposit will happen in the coming days (at the last November 02, 2018), but I’ll only update the portfolio at the end of the quarter so that the portfolio overview stays aligned. Something I will update, is my milestones page.
Look forward to how these new funds impact the performance.

I'm a developer for a major financial institution in Belgium that is present in over 40 countries. I have over 8 years of working experience in the development of customer applications focussing on all aspects of banking. This helped me gain a deep understanding of the inner workings of a commercial bank. All of this experience in both banking and life culminates in this blog about personal finance and my fight towards FIRE.

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Hi, nice blog you have.
I wan’t to comment on your choice to invest in these actively managed funds.

There are multiple studies that show the impact of recurring fees on your investment performance over the long run.
It’s statistically unlikely that these will outperform the index on a 50+ year horizon.
Having found some funds that do outperform on a 10-year horizon is no guarantee for the future.
There will be even a handful that beat the index in the coming decades, but you will not know upfront.

Second, you don’t have to own these funds in order to compare your investment performance as a benchmark.
Just compare them on paper.

Lastly, these funds are no real diversification to your portfolio, as the are just a subset of all the companies in the index.

My advice would be to get rid of them and go for low-cost index funds.
But above all, keep saving and investing.



Hi FightToFire,

I was referring to the fact that you already have index funds with focus on that region:

ISHARES MSCI Emerging Markets ACC

I think there will be an overlap with the fidelity pacific fund.


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