Notes on VGPMX

Although morningstar gives it a Gold rating, I was disappointed to discover (see p. 14 of 2012 annual report) that the # of stocks comprising the fund is only 45. Comapre it to 424 stocks that comprise S&P Precious Metals and Mining Index. Also only about 60% of the fund is invested in gold stocks. From p.5:
At the end of the 12 months, gold-oriented stocks accounted for about 56% of the fund’s assets and had contributed about 2.3 percentage points to the overall return.
I also looked at websites of the top holdings.

  1. Hochschild Mining plc – ok this is a gold mining company
  2. Potash Corp. of Saskatchewan Inc. – this is not a gold mining company. Guess what is this company’s product? fertilizers
  3. K+S AG – another fertilizers company
  4. Umicore SA – ok this is a materials company

Have you heard the name of one single company in above list?
This is a different class of fund altogether. This fund is for people who want to play a high-stakes game; those who have strong conviction in performance of a handful of mid-cap companies selected by fund’s management. The companies comprising the fund also change quickly from year to year as reflected by the 33% turnover. On the face of it, this fund stands against the principles of diversification, investing in an index fund, etc. but if you wanted to gamble with a small amount of money and take a chance, then this might be it.
Conclusion: It is very important to look at big picture, and trust what your own common sense tells you.

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