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Bond Fund Documentation

Bond Funds

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American Bond Funds are required to create three specific types of bond fund documentation for investors. The fund’s prospectus, annual financial report, and the Statement of Additional Information are all parts of the Bond fund documentation. A bond fund’s prospectus informs investors of the fund’s purpose, risks, and procedures. Most importantly, the operational expenses, front-end loads, back-end loads, and 12b-1 fees charged by the fund are listed within the fund’s prospectus. The annual financial report is a short version of the investments and financial statements associated with the fund. They state what investments are owed in what quantity and how they have performed in an annual snapshot. Lastly, a Statement of Additional Information lists supplementary data on financial statements, directors, and securities. You should request and acquire all three documents. It’s highly beneficial to ensure that you understand them thoroughly before making an investment decision.

Using these three documents will help you match a bond fund to your needs. The prospectus ensures the fund focuses on fulfilling the needs that you have as an investor, especially in relation to costs and fees. The Statement of Additional Information and the Annual Financial report are both used to ensure the specific bond categories you desire are found within the fund itself.

After determining the bond category, you need and bond funds that fill that category, you should compare the performance, risk, volatility, and average duration of the bond funds available. These elements all work in tandem with each other. You will want a fund with high performance relative to its categorical peers, but this is meaningless if you don’t compare the costs, risks, and volatility of the fund. The costs are preeminently important. If a bond fund returns 5% average but has a 5% front-load, a 1.2% expense fee, and a 0.75% 12b-1 fee you should definitely shop around. You’d do better with a no-load bond fund that has 4.5% average return, a 1.1% expense fee and a 1% 12b-1 fee. This fund will reduce less of your earnings than the fund with higher return simply due to costs.

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