Over 40,000 advisors have used FundVisualizer since 2011. We continually seek feedback through focus groups, demos, and one-on-one conversations: What do advisors like most while using FundVisualizer? What can be improved? What tips and techniques do they recommend to get the most benefit from the tool?
This post summarizes feedback from advisors about their favorite features of FundVisualizer and their tips on how to get the greatest benefit from the tool’s rich feature set.
What do advisors like?
Advisors value the combination of familiar Morningstar data with FundVisualizer’s simple, intuitive user interface.
They appreciate the ability to create comparisons without requiring the inclusion of a Putnam fund. High on their list of compliments for FundVisualizer is the fact that the tool is free.
Most valued capabilities
1. User interface – Advisors commented overall that the screens were clean and highly intuitive. It was simple to search for and add funds to a comparison. They also appreciated the ability to have a quick view of the fund before adding to a comparison. Many advisors commented on the ease of comparing funds side-by-side in the chart.
2. Range of chart options – Advisors also state that they were impressed with the selection of chart types, which enables them to customize reports to the needs of their clients. They commented on the ability to change how the data is represented across multiple axes. They loved the ability to see holdings across multiple funds.
3. Explore – The Explore feature was unique and unlike other fund screener tools they’ve used. The ease of simply entering a fund name or ticker, or Morningstar category, and seeing the top 20 performing similar funds was extremely valuable. The additional filters were valuable too since they enabled advisors to narrow down the results set. Advisors also liked to be able to toggle back and forth between bubble chart and table views.
4. Hypotheticals – Universally, advisors commented positively on the tool’s ability to create hypotheticals and to model scenarios such as period contributions or withdrawals, before or after sales charge, and with or without periodic rebalancing.
5. Client-approved custom reports – The majority of users liked the idea of being able to save their comparison charts into reports and then create a custom cover sheet and share directly with their clients. They appreciated that the output contained FINRA-approved disclosures.
Tips to maximize your use of FundVisualizer
Highlighted below are three ways innovative users are optimizing the use of FundVisualizer.
Create and model portfolios
FundVisualizer enables you to compare historical returns of different portfolios and their allocations across various market environments using the “Portfolio” function.
To create two portfolios: Click “Compare” and add funds by ticker or name, then click the toggle switch to “Portfolios.” Set the allocations across portfolios A and B and click “Create.” You can also select a benchmark to compare against.
When the screen loads, choose from the available charts to see how the two portfolios compare against various performance and risk metrics and market environments.
Create hypotheticals to compare different allocation models
The hypothetical chart in FundVisualizer enables you to create custom hypotheticals and compare two portfolios to research the historical return of different allocation models during various market environments.
You can change the starting balance of each portfolio and model periodic contributions or withdrawals, before and after sales charge, or the frequency of a rebalance.
To create custom hypotheticals: Click “Compare” and add funds by ticker or name, then click the toggle switch to “Portfolios.” Set the allocations across portfolios A and B and click “Create.” You can also select a benchmark to compare against.
When the screen loads, choose the “Hypotheticals” chart. You can then edit assumptions in the chart.
Compare the correlation between funds or portfolios
Diversifying by market cap, geography, or investment style may not be adequate in today’s market. Adding small-cap stocks to a large-cap portfolio, combining growth stocks with value stocks, or even supplementing a U.S.-focused fund mix with international or emerging-market equities may not create the level of diversification desired. The reason: high correlations across markets and investment styles over the past several years.
FundVisualizer provides the ability to compare the correlation between two portfolios and fund-to-fund correlation to uncover hidden portfolio risk.
To create custom hypotheticals: Click ‘Compare’ and add funds by ticker or name, then click the toggle switch to “Portfolios.” Set the allocations across portfolios A and B and click “Create.” You can also select a benchmark to compare against.
To compare correlations: Use the “Compare” feature to select funds or to create two portfolios, then choose the “Correlation” chart.