For those with a nose for finding greenbacks, the best places to look are financial services companies like banks, brokerage firms and insurance companies. The Burnham Financial Services fund (BURKX) holds performance honors from Lipper since its inception in 1999: In 2000, the fund ended the year up over 52 percent; at year-end 2001, it was up over 29 percent; and in 2002, it was ahead over 17.5 percent. Not too shabby for an equity fund's performance during a bear market.
With a background in banking and hedge fund management, portfolio manager Anton Schutz likes to buy value and sell when there's a potential profit. "If I can capture a profit, I'm going to go capture it," he says. "And then I'm going to try to make another one."
That management style means this fund is not for those seeking a tax-managed investment but is best suited for those wanting absolute returns. It's also a fund with a cap: Schutz says the fund will be closed to investors once it reaches $250 million (it currently manages about $90 million in assets).
Before you call for a prospectus, however, remember the Burnham Financial Services fund is a sector fund and, like all sector funds, has performance cycles that run hot and cold.
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Dian Vujovich is an author, syndicated columnist and publisher of fund investing site www.fundfreebies.com.