According to Morningstar, four formerly closed foreign small/mid-value funds have opened their doors to investors.
In looking at the four reopened funds, Morningstar says strong management and a thoughtful approach to value investing has helped Tweedy Browne Global Value well outperform its average peer since its 1993 launch. Meanwhile, it has experienced only moderate volatility.
The four funds are Tweedy, Browne Global Value, Third Avenue International Value, Oakmark International Small Cap and First Eagle Overseas.
These reopenings, like all others, should be evaluated on a case-by-case basis. However, before investors consider the merits of these four funds, they should be sure that have a realistic outlook for foreign small/mid-value offerings in general. Foreign small/mid-value offerings posted big gains in 2003, 2004, 2005, and 2006, and they earned decent gains in 2007 despite stumbling down the stretch, so they boast 22% annualized returns. But such returns are unsustainable for valuations and other reasons, and it's quite unlikely that these offerings will do as well over the next several years as they have over the last several years.
But Morningstar cautioned that this category of funds can be volatile and can suffer from sell-offs. In addition, the fund consultants said the newly opened funds may not be able to replicate those strong results over the next several years.
The second fund, Third Avenue International Value, has also benefited from strong management, which has delivered good long-term performance by using a "safe and cheap" strategy. Morningstar notes the fund has "long-term potential.
Despite these reopenings, as off the end of last November, two thirds of foreign small/mid-value funds are closed to new investors or open only to institutional and wealthy investors