Mutual funds offer many benefits over investing in individual stocks. For example, the transaction costs are divided among all the mutual fund shareholders, which allows for cost-effective diversification. Investors may also advantage by having a third party (professional fund managers) apply expertise and dedicate time to manage and research investment options, although there is dispute over whether professional fund managers can, on average, outperform simple index funds that mimic public indexes. Yet, the Wall Street Journal reported that separately managed accounts (SMA or SMAs) performed better than mutual funds in 22 of 25 categories from 2006 to 2008. This included beating mutual funds performance in 2008, a tough year in which the global stock market lost US$21 trillion in value. In the story, Morningstar, Inc said SMAs outperformed mutual funds in 25 of 36 stock and bond market categories. Whether actively managed or passively indexed, mutual funds are not immune to risks. They share the same risks associated with the investments made. If the fund invests mainly in stocks, it is usually subject to the same ups and downs and risks as the stock market.
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