What we're looking at
We continue this week's coverage of small, low-profile mutual fund companies that don't get a lot of exposure with a look at a trio of new funds managed by Jarislowsky Fraser Ltd.
Okay, this isn't much of a screen. The three JF funds were launched only three months ago, so there's not much performance data to look at. The intent here is simply to draw the attention of investors to the fact that they now have access to a venerable portfolio management firm that previously wasn't widely available to people with as little as $500 to invest.
What we found
Jarislowsky Fraser was founded in 1955 and it now manages about $44-billion in assets for governments, corporations, universities, unions and high net worth individuals. You may not know these guys, but they have lots of Bay Street cred. JF started as an investment research firm and that expertise is put to use today in an approach the firm describes as "conservative, low-risk investment in high-quality securities."
JF may already be managing money for your company's pension plan. Now, the company's expertise is available in a Canadian equity fund and a pair of balanced funds, one tilted toward stocks and the other to bonds.
Shown here are the A series, which are available through investment advisers, and the E (for electronic) series, which is for self-directed investors and sold through the following online brokers: Disnat, National Bank Direct Brokerage, Scotia iTrade and TD Waterhouse.
With the cost of compensating advisers stripped out of their fees, JF's E series of funds represent a major bargain. The $10,000 minimum initial purchase may seem steep, but it's in keeping with other pension fund managers that offer mutual funds on the side. Examples are Beutel Goodman and McLean Budden, which offer Canadian equity funds with management expense ratios of 1.47 per cent and 1.25 per cent, respectively. Jarislowsky Select Canadian Equity Equity E is cheaper, and the A version is reasonably priced as well.