This FAQ deals with a few common questions about the website. You may also find answers to your questions in the Help pages or the Fundpaedia.
If you have a question which is not answered here, please email firstname.lastname@example.org, or phone +27-11-728-5510. Ask for Customer Support.
FundsData Online is predominantly a subscription site that offers basic fund fact sheets for free. Where a hyperlink is dimmed it means that you don't have subscription rights to that page or function.
Two levels of subscription are available on FundsData Online: Retail and Professional. To subscribe or to find out more about the subscription packages, please click here. Alternatively, please phone +27-11-728-5510 and ask for FDO Sales.
FundsData Online provides free-to-view information, for the benefit of investors, on every South African domestic retail fund. Management companies are invited to enhance their fund listings and to provide quick links to their own fact sheets and online purchase facilities. The fact sheets of funds from participating management companies are displayed in colour.
Funds of Funds (FoFs) are unit trusts that invest in other unit trusts. FoFs are unable to calculate their own NAVs until they have received the confirmed NAVs of the underlying funds. As confirmed prices are often only available the next business day, NAVs for FoFs are often a day behind other funds. NAVs and performance figures are always date-stamped on FundsData Online. You should be wary of services that do not date-stamp individual prices – prices across the market are never consistently up-to-date for the previous day.
Performance figures are a complex area. It is important to look carefully at table headers and footers so that you know exactly what you are looking at. Most default performance figures shown on FundsData Online are annual compound returns including reinvestment of dividends, but it is possible to produce tables showing absolute returns (rand values or percentages), or performance figures based on price movements only.
When looking at performance figures, note that historical returns are not a predictor of future performance. Most funds (flexible funds being the major exceptions) are mandated to invest in certain asset classes or sectors, and are therefore bound to fluctuate accordingly. Comparative performance over time may give an indication of a fund manager's ability to outperform his or her peers, but be careful to ensure that such comparisons consider all factors.
The performance figures at the bottom of the Summary Fact Sheet show both the absolute return as a cash value and the annual compound equivalent over three years. These figures include reinvested distributions.
The performance line chart on the Summary Fact Sheet shows the TRI of the fund compared to the sector benchmark. The TRI, or Total Return Index, shows the performance of the fund including the effect of reinvested distributions (dividends).
The comparative performance bar chart shows the absolute performance over various periods from 3 months to five years for the fund and the sector average.
For more information on performance figures, please see the section on Performance Data in the Fundpaedia.
Fund managers update their fact sheet information at different times and according to different cycles (ie, some update monthly, others update quarterly). Even after a quarter end, some management companies may take a full month to release updated fact sheets, and others may get them out in two weeks. For all these reasons, some fact sheets in FundsData Online may be more up-to-date than others at any point in time.
Note that prices for FoFs (Funds of Funds) are sometimes a day behind direct funds.
If you spot an out-of-date fact sheet in FundsData Online which is not due to unavailability of data from the fund manger, please be so kind as to bring this to the attention of ProfileData's research department by emailing email@example.com or calling +27-11-728-5510 (ask for Unit Trusts Research).
It is not compulsory, in terms of disclosure rules, for management companies to distribute full portfolios. The vast majority of fund managers make their full holdings available on a quarterly basis, but there are two or three management companies that do not allow us to publish their portfolios on the website. Interestingly, experience in the UK shows that management companies that withhold their portfolio information do not necessarily gain the competitive advantage they seek.
Performance figures are designed primarily to facilitate comparisons of the investment performance of different funds and different sectors. In order to achieve this, performance statistics must be calculated on an absolutely uniform basis, and must be as close to real-life returns as possible. However, performance figures are not particularly designed to reveal the investment returns achieved by a particular individual investor in one fund. This is much better achieved by calculating the market value of a specific investment and comparing it to the entry cost. Entry and exit points often have a dramatic effect on performance calculations, and even shifting the entry or exit point by a few weeks can dramatically alter the achieved return – this is usually why the specific performance of an investment doesn't match official figures.
Typically, standardised performance statistics run from the first day of the month to the last day of the month at the end of the period. Investors do not necessarily enter and exit funds on the first and last of any month, so performance figures seldom give an accurate indication of a particular investor's returns.
Standardised performance statistics are useful, however, in comparing funds or sectors. Indeed, it is only by having standardised figures calculated on a uniform basis that such comparisons are possible.
Click here for more information on performance figures.