Fund Watch


The Skinny on Spinoff Funds

Kathy Kristof

If you want to take the fund route to invest in spinoffs, your choices are limited.



Your choices are few if you want to invest in spinoffs through a fund. The purest play is Guggenheim Spin-Off ETF (symbol CSD), an exchange-traded fund that tracks an index of about 40 companies disgorged within the past 30 months. Fund tracker Morningstar calls the ETF a mid-cap fund, but in truth it invests in companies of all sizes, with a tilt toward smaller firms (58% of assets at last report). Among its best-known holdings are Philip Morris International, Time Warner Cable and AOL.

SEE ALSO: Our Special Report on Exchange-Traded Funds

The ETF has performed impressively since the end of the last bear market. It earned 65% in 2009 and nearly 4% in 2011, a rough year for stocks. But its five-year return—an annualized 0.5% through May 4—still suffers the effects of a disastrous 55% loss in 2008. The annual expense ratio is 0.65%—high for an ETF.

Keeley Asset Management runs several mutual funds that specialize in “companies in transition,” including those restructuring through asset sales and spinoffs. Keeley All Cap Value Fund A (KACVX)—which invests, as its name suggests, in companies of all sizes—holds shares of Kraft, Covidien, Williams Cos. (which just spun off WPX Energy) and Pfizer, which is weighing a plan to divest its animal-health unit.

Advertisement

As is the case with the Guggenheim ETF, the Keeley fund’s five-year record, an annualized loss of 0.9%, has been dragged down by a big loss (49%) in 2008. That trails Standard & Poor’s 500-stock index by an average of 1.2 percentage points per year.

The Keeley fund’s biggest shortcoming is that it charges a 4.5% front-end commission. If you can buy the fund without paying the load, or if you qualify for the no-load, institutional class (KACIX), it’s a reasonable choice. If you can’t avoid the load, take a pass.

Kathy Kristof is a contributing editor to Kiplinger’s Personal Finance and author of the book Investing 101. Follow her on Twitter. Or email her at practicalinvesting@kiplinger.com.



Editor's Picks From Kiplinger


You can get valuable updates like Fund Watch from Kiplinger sent directly to your e-mail. Simply enter your e-mail address and click "sign up."

More Sponsored Links


DISCUSS

Permission to post your comment is assumed when you submit it. The name you provide will be used to identify your post, and NOT your e-mail address. We reserve the right to excerpt or edit any posted comments for clarity, appropriateness, civility, and relevance to the topic.
View our full privacy policy


Advertisement

Market Update

Advertisement

Featured Videos From Kiplinger