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Number Cruncher

Stock screens for investment ideas from professional investors. Exclusive to subscribers of Globe Unlimited.


How the dogs of 2008 are faring lately Add to ...

What are we looking for?

How the dogs of 2008 are doing.

The global stock market meltdown dealt a cruel blow that year to some investment funds. Given this year’s market turmoil, let’s see how those laggards have held up.

The screen

We ranked the 15 worst performing funds in 2008, and see how they have done lately. The alternative strategy and retail venture capital categories were excluded, as well as U.S. dollar, segregated and duplicate versions of funds.

What did we find?

Several dead funds.

Mavrix Growth, Landry Morin Small Cap Momentum and Sprott Growth have all bitten the dust.

Mavrix Growth, renamed Matrix Canadian Growth last year, shed 68 per cent in 2008. It was off 9 per cent for the first six months of this year before manager Roger Dent left Matrix Fund Management Inc. The assets have now been folded into Matrix Small Companies Fund. Chad King of Seamark Asset Management Ltd. runs the merged funds, and will invest less in the micro-caps that get hurt more in downturns, said Matrix executive David Balsdon.

Landry Morin Small Cap Momentum, a high-turnover, small-cap pooled fund, lost 66 per cent in 2008. The small fund was closed at the end of 2009 after gaining nearly 29 per cent. The assets, along with tax losses, were rolled into the new Landry Morin World Momentum Fund, which became a global stock mutual fund last April. “The problem with a momentum strategy in small caps is the lack of liquidity” in the Canadian market, said co-manager Richard Morin of Landry Morin Inc.

Sprott Growth, which shed 63 per cent in 2008, was run by Peter Hodson who left Sprott Asset Management in September. The high-turnover, growth fund, which lost nearly 17 per cent by July this year, saw its assets rolled into the Sprott Small Cap Equity overseen by value manager Allan Jacobs. Mr. Hodson has now started a firm researching stocks for individual investors, and bought Canadian MoneySaver personal finance magazine.

FrontierAlt Resource Capital, which lost nearly 73 per cent in 2008 when it was run by Caldwell Investment Management Ltd., is still struggling. The fund, now managed by Lightwater Partners Ltd., lost 43 per cent in the first 10 months. Changes are afoot there too, starting with its new name, BlackBridge Resource Capital Class.

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