Is Vanguard Balanced Index Institutional (VBAIX) a Strong Mutual Fund Pick Right Now?

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If you’re looking for a Mutual Fund Equity Report fund category, then a possible option is Vanguard Balanced Index Institutional (VBAIX). While this fund is not tracked by the Zacks Mutual Fund Rank, we were able to examine other factors like performance, volatility, and cost.

History of Fund/Manager

VBAIX is a part of the Vanguard Group family of funds, a company based out of Malvern, PA. Vanguard Balanced Index Institutional debuted in December of 2000. Since then, VBAIX has accumulated assets of about $12.81 billion, according to the most recently available information. The fund is currently managed by a team of investment professionals.

Performance

Obviously, what investors are looking for in these funds is strong performance relative to their peers. VBAIX has a 5-year annualized total return of 12.16% and is in the top third among its category peers. Investors who prefer analyzing shorter time frames should look at its 3-year annualized total return of 14.66%, which places it in the top third during this time-frame.

When looking at a fund’s performance, it is also important to note the standard deviation of the returns. The lower the standard deviation, the less volatility the fund experiences. Compared to the category average of 14.44%, the standard deviation of VBAIX over the past three years is 11.63%. The fund’s standard deviation over the past 5 years is 9.69% compared to the category average of 11.87%. This makes the fund less volatile than its peers over the past half-decade.

Risk Factors

Investors should note that the fund has a 5-year beta of 0.62, so it is likely going to be less volatile than the market at large. Another factor to consider is alpha, as it reflects a portfolio’s performance on a risk-adjusted basis relative to a benchmark-in this case, the S&P 500. Over the past 5 years, the fund has a positive alpha of 0.55. This means that managers in this portfolio are skilled in picking securities that generate better-than-benchmark returns.

Expenses

For investors, taking a closer look at cost-related metrics is key, since costs are increasingly important for mutual fund investing. Competition is heating up in this space, and a lower cost product will likely outperform its otherwise identical counterpart, all things being equal. In terms of fees, VBAIX is a no load fund. It has an expense ratio of 0.06% compared to the category average of 0.89%. VBAIX is actually cheaper than its peers when you consider factors like cost.

Investors need to be aware that with this product, the minimum initial investment is $5 million; each subsequent investment needs to be at least $1.

Bottom Line

Your research on the Mutual Fund Equity Report segment doesn’t have to stop here. You can check out all the great mutual fund tools we have to offer by going to www.zacks.com/funds/mutual-funds to see the additional features we offer as well for additional information. And don’t forget, Zacks has all of your needs covered on the equity side too! Make sure to check out Zacks.com for more information on our screening capabilities, Rank, and all our articles as well.

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