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Clients are easily tempted by hotshot investments — typically individual stocks or small mutual funds—that sometimes double (or more) over a short haul. Of course, advisors would likely preach that that misses two main tenets about portfolio management: 1) Long-term results are more meaningful than short-term; and 2) Size matters.

With that in mind, we collected the 20 largest mutual funds and ranked them by five-year annualized returns. Given the bull market in recent years, the returns were understandably strong; averaging 10.7%, slightly outpacing the very long-term annualized gain (since 1928) of 9.65% for the S&P 500, according to data from the NYU Stern School of Business.

All 20 funds were from just three asset managers: Fidelity had two (including the top fund), while Vanguard and American Funds had nine each.

All the funds listed here were in the black for the five-year period, although some just barely. Eight were in single digits, and the bottom two were at less than 2% for the past five years. The average expense ratio was 41 basis points for these funds, with the highest coming mostly from the actively managed products of American Funds, as well as one of Fidelity’s. Vanguard’s expense ratios were mostly on the lower end given its strategy of offering passive products.

Scroll through to see the 20 largest funds and their five-year returns. We also show one-year returns, expense ratios and total assets for each fund. All data from Morningstar Direct.


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