In the decade since the financial crisis, while the S&P 500 posted annualized gains of 9.4% and the best-performing funds
— mostly deep in tech and biotech — lavished investors with annualized returns in the high teens, others were not so lucky.
Indeed, against that bullish backdrop, the worst-performing funds over the past 10 years were mostly found in the natural resources sector, including mining and gold.
In fact, for some of funds in this sector, the financial crisis wasn’t even the low point. Some on this list had bigger annual losses in 2013, a particularly bad year for gold and other precious metals, as well as agricultural products.
Commodities, and sectors related to them, are highly cyclical, explains Greg McBride, chief financial analyst at financial website Bankrate. “The performance over the past 10 years has been lackluster because it came on the heels of a commodity boom in the years preceding the great recession,” he says. Slower economic growth was a global theme over much of the last decade, not just a U.S. theme, he adds.
Overall, the 20 worst-performing funds posted an average annualized loss of 3.8% over 10 years. Adding insult to injury, expense ratios were relatively high. The average on this list was 1.19% — with the highest edging above 2%.
Scroll through to see the worst-performing mutual funds over the past 10 years. We also show each fund’s one-year return, expense ratios and total assets. Highly leveraged funds, those with less than $500 million in assets, funds with investment minimums of more than $100,000 and institutional funds were excluded. All data from Morningstar Direct.