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Is Brown Advisory Flexible Equity Investor (BIAFX) a Strong Mutual Fund Pick Right Now?

If you've been stuck searching for Allocation Balanced funds, you might want to consider passing on by Brown Advisory Flexible Equity Investor (BIAFX) as a possibility. BIAFX holds a Zacks Mutual Fund Rank of 4 (Sell), which is based on nine forecasting factors like size, cost, and past performance.

Objective

BIAFX is one of many Zacks' Allocation Balanced mutual funds to pick from. Allocation Balanced funds seek to invest in a balance of asset types, like stocks, bonds, and cash, though including precious metals or commodities is not unusual; these funds are mostly categorized by their respective asset allocation. Investors utilize Allocation Balanced funds as a way to get a good start with diversified mutual funds, as well as for core holdings in a portfolio of funds.

History of Fund/Manager

Brown Adv Fds is based in Baltimore, MD, and is the manager of BIAFX. Since Brown Advisory Flexible Equity Investor made its debut in December of 2006, BIAFX has garnered more than $419.70 million in assets. Maneesh Bajaj is the fund's current manager and has held that role since October of 2017.

Performance

Investors naturally seek funds with strong performance. BIAFX has a 5-year annualized total return of 16.3% and it sits in the bottom third among its category peers. Investors who prefer analyzing shorter time frames should look at its 3-year annualized total return of 16.15%, which places it in the bottom third during this time-frame.

When looking at a fund's performance, it is also important to note the standard deviation of the returns. The lower the standard deviation, the less volatility the fund experiences. The standard deviation of BIAFX over the past three years is 20.4% compared to the category average of 16.66%. Over the past 5 years, the standard deviation of the fund is 16.84% compared to the category average of 14.07%. This makes the fund more volatile than its peers over the past half-decade.

Risk Factors

Investors should not forget about beta, an important way to measure a mutual fund's risk compared to the market as a whole. BIAFX has a 5-year beta of 1.08, which means it is likely to be more volatile than the market average. Because alpha represents a portfolio's performance on a risk-adjusted basis relative to a benchmark, which is the S&P 500 in this case, one should pay attention to this metric as well. BIAFX has generated a positive alpha over the past five years of 0.1, demonstrating that managers in this portfolio are skilled in picking securities that generate better-than-benchmark returns.

Expenses

Costs are increasingly important for mutual fund investing, and particularly as competition heats up in this market. And all things being equal, a lower cost product will outperform its otherwise identical counterpart, so taking a closer look at these metrics is key for investors. In terms of fees, BIAFX is a no load fund. It has an expense ratio of 0.71% compared to the category average of 0.89%. So, BIAFX is actually cheaper than its peers from a cost perspective.

While the minimum initial investment for the product is $100, investors should also note that each subsequent investment needs to be at least $100.

Bottom Line

Overall, Brown Advisory Flexible Equity Investor ( BIAFX ) has a low Zacks Mutual Fund rank, and in conjunction with its comparatively weak performance, average downside risk, and lower fees, this fund looks like a somewhat weak choice for investors right now.

For additional information on this product, or to compare it to other mutual funds in the Allocation Balanced, make sure to go to www.zacks.com/funds/mutual-funds for additional information. If you want to check out our stock reports as well, make sure to go to Zacks.com to see all of the great tools we have to offer, including our time-tested Zacks Rank.


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