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What we're looking for

Funds that have been kicking out solid returns over the past 20 years.

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Introducing the 20-10 club - funds in all categories that have 20-year compound average annual returns of 10 per cent or more. We've provided three-year returns here as well so you can compare long and shorter term numbers.

What we found

Mostly precious metal and resource funds, which is no surprise because these sectors have been gone crazy in recent years. It's worth noting that a fund can stroll along for years doing nothing special, then hit its stride and end up with very good average returns over the long term. That's investing math for you. Suggestion: Use Globeinvestor.com's fund profiles to see how consistent a fund's returns are.

A big question in looking at the funds on this list is what to make of any discrepancies between the 20-year numbers and the three-year numbers. In the case of a few funds, most of them heavily into gold, resources or small-size stocks, the recent numbers match up well to the long-term numbers.

Mackenzie Universal Canadian Resource is an example from the group of funds where recent results are way below the long-term pattern. The average annual 20-year return to April 30 was an excellent 14.6 per cent, but the three-year return of 0.8 per cent is way below the resource fund category average of 2.2 per cent.

Could this be an opportunity to buy low in the natural resources sector? Fred Sturm has been running the fund since 1978, so he's totally responsible for the great 20-year numbers. Another manager who's been there all along over the past 20 years is Francis Chou, who runs the pair of Chou funds on the list.

Final note: Funds on this list with high management expense ratios may have charged performance fees to unitholders.

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About the Author
Personal Finance Columnist

Rob Carrick has been writing about personal finance, business and economics for close to 20 years. He joined The Globe and Mail in late 1996 as an investment reporter and has been personal finance columnist since November 1998. Rob's personal finance columns appear in The Globe on Tuesday and Thursday, and his Portfolio Strategy column for investors appears on Saturday. More

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