It has been quite a while since RBC DS allowed First Trust (for a fee) to use its methodology to set up a fund here in Canada. Presumable they did not want to do it themselves for, perhaps, obvious reasons. Dry swimming is always to be preferred to wet swimming if only because the chances of drowning are a lot smaller. Soon this is going to end and First Trust’s fund will change to a more generic format. Below is an excerpt of the Dec. 1 announcement, having regard to the goals of the new fund.
Gone is the Focus List and presumable the arrangement between RBC and First Trust. The question now is this an improvement? First Trust has a large base of “rule based” funds where , at specific intervals you mechanically make the necessary changes. The Dogs of the Dow is , perhaps the best known. It remains to be seen who decides to buy what, why and when. The mandate moreover is defined rather loosely!
Concerning the Focus List fund, here are the latest charts;
See also previous blogs under RBC’s Focus List . This year the unit value traded between 20.09 and 15.55, a loss of roughly a quarter of its value. The 5 year performance is now a negative 4.20% which, presumable is after the quarterly dividend that consists entirely of “capital gains” if any. The MER is at 2.19% which is a lot to pay for a fund that has underperformed the TSX (see previous blog) for some time. A simple ETF at 17 basis might do just as well.