Luckily, not all things in this world come with a cost.
When it comes to investing, many people have a pre-conceived notion that they will need to purchase expensive research platforms and/or investment tools in order to compare the best mutual funds, ETFs and index funds.
Lucky for you, there is a free way for you to not only compare mutual funds side by side for free but to also do index fund and ETF comparisons!
When it comes to comparing mutual funds, it is important to see how different funds compare to each other. From a comparison of mutual fund fees to projected returns net of fees, this tool will help you make important investment decisions based on a heap of mutual fund data.
Not only will you be able to compare mutual funds to other mutual funds, you will also be able to compare ETFs and index funds to those mutual funds as well!
FINRA Fund Analyzer
An important note regarding this free comparison platform is that it is provided by a not-for-profit organization called, FINRA (Financial Regulatory Agency). According to FINRA, it is an “…organization authorized by Congress to protect America’s investors by making sure the broker-dealer industry operates fairly and honestly.”
An important part of FINRA is to educate the public about this very topic of mutual fund fees, ETF fees, and index fund fees.
The FINRA Fund Analyzer allows you to search over 18,000 different funds! It is a great free tool to learn, so let’s delve into some of the functions you can achieve with the FINRA fund analyzer.
Easily compare mutual fund fees, ETF Fees, and index fund fees
This tool will allow you to do a side by side comparison of index funds, ETFs, AND, mutual funds.
You may have read about the fees associated with mutual funds. This comparison tool is a great way to show comparison charts of index fund fees, ETF fees, and mutual fund fees.
The analyzer compares the fees and the projected growth of investments net of fees, in a nice visual comparison.
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Mutual fund comparison
Comparing Mutual Fund Share Classes
To show you what the FINRA fund analyzer can do for mutual fund comparisons, we will start with a comparison of a single mutual fund with three different share classes.
Mutual funds have the option of different share classes with different fees. This tool will help you compare mutual fund share classes to other mutual fund share classes of the same mutual fund.
We will pick the following three share classes from the Oppenheimer Capital Appreciation fund.
- The Oppenheimer Capital Appreciation Class A [OPTFX]
- The Oppenheimer Capital Appreciation Class B [OTGBX]
- The Oppenheimer Capital Appreciation Class C [OTFCX]
All you have to do is add any three funds to the FINRA Fund Analyzer and you can compare the funds.
Here you can see the first section of results showing the growth after ten years if the funds grow at 5% and the mutual fund fees are taken out of each mutual fund class. You can see the total mutual fund fees for each class of funds and the total sales charges.
In the below section, you can see the mutual fund chart with the three classes of mutual fund investments compared. This mutual fund chart comparison shows the growth of the mutual funds after fees and sales charges are deducted.
This section shows the redeemed value over time, profit and loss, and mutual fund fees and expenses, broken out per year for twenty years.
This section shows you the expenses annually, the sales charges, the fund objective according to prospectus and different style information about the fund.
This last section shows returns and sales charge schedules.
As you can see, the analyzer provides a great deal of information to compare mutual fund share classes.
Comparing Different mutual funds
You don’t just have to compare mutual fund share classes within the same fund company, you can compare different fund companies and different share classes.
As you can see here, I entered three mutual funds from three different fund companies:
- The Oppenheimer Capital Appreciation Class A [OPTFX]
- American Funds The Growth Fund of America® Class A [AGTHX]
- Franklin Growth Allocation Fund Class C [FTGTX]
This will provide similar comparative tables to what was provided in the above example. It will include the mutual fund chart with the three mutual fund investments compared to each other. This mutual fund chart comparison will show the growth of the funds after fees and sales charges are deducted.
It will also include the redeemed value over time, profit and loss, and mutual fund fees and expenses, broken out per year for twenty years.
It will also show the mutual fund expenses annually, the mutual fund sales charges, the fund objective according to prospectus, and different style information about the fund.
ETF comparison and index fund comparison
The FINRA Fund Analyzer doesn’t just compare mutual funds, it also allows you to compare ETFs to other ETFs, and ETFs to index funds.
The difference will be that this will provide the ETF chart, and index fund chart, with the three index fund/ETF investments compared. This index fund/ETF chart comparison will show the growth of the funds after fees are deducted.
It will also include the redeemed value over time, profit and loss, and index fund/ETF fees and expenses, broken out per year for twenty years.
It will also show the index fund/ETF expenses annually, the index fund/ETF objectives.
ETFs and index funds compared to Mutual Funds
You can even compare ETFs to mutual funds. As you can see here, we compare the Oppenheimer Capital Appreciation OPTFX with the Schwab SWPPX ETF and the Vanguard VOO ETF.
This will provide similar comparative tables to what was provided in the first mutual fund example. It will include the mutual fund chart, ETF chart, and index fund chart. It will also show comparative fees and sales charges.
It will also include the redeemed value over time of each fund, the profit and loss, and the index fund/ ETF / mutual fund fees and expenses, broken out per year for twenty years.
The final highlight of the FINRA fund analyzer is the fund screener. The screener allows you to add selected fund criteria and screen for your preferred funds!
You can screen ETFs, you can screen index funds, and you can screen mutual funds.
Below you will see there is a Screener option between the Browse and Favorites tabs.
As you can see, the tool allows you to screen based on the following variables:
- Product type
- Share class
- Annual operating expenses
- Minimum initial purchase
- Prospectus objective
- Morningstar category
- Morningstar rating (3-yr)
- Morningstar style box (equities)
- Morningstar style box (bonds)
When it comes to comparing mutual funds, index funds, and ETFs, the FINRA Fund Analyzer is a great free tool to help the average investor. This free tool allows the individual investor to easily compare mutual funds to other mutual funds, as well as to compare ETFs and index funds to each other. It even offers the ability to compare index funds and ETFs to mutual funds. ♦
Disclaimer: These are the ideas and opinions of the author. The author is not responsible for the actions of those who read the posts on this blog. Each individual reader has a unique situation and unique needs. This blog is not intended to solve those unique situations of the readers. This blog is not liable for decisions made by the readers of this blog.
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