1999's 401(k) Chart Toppers Now Bottom Feeders

September 18, 2000 (PLANSPONSOR.com) - Last year's 401(k) fund chart toppers have turned into bottom-feeders, according to new fund data.

Last year Putnam OTC Emerging Growth Fund topped the list of 100 largest 401(k) mutual funds with a 126.9% return. Through August it’s dead last – down 8.59%.

The turnaround illustrates the importance of a diversified approach to asset allocation, particularly in participant portfolios. 

An analysis by Boston fund researcher Kanon Bloch Carre reveals that shows that out of the 98 largest mutual funds in 401(k) plans, the winners in 2000 are no longer all large-cap growth funds.

Of the top 10 in 2000, four are mid-cap and four are small-cap funds, according to CNNfN.

Mid-cap INVESCO Dynamics tops the list through August 31, with a 24.17% return. 

Other top performers among the top 100 largest 401(k) mutual funds are:

  • INVESCO Dynamics: up 24.17%
  • Putnam Vista: up 23.31%
  • Growth Fund of America: up 23.23%
  • Vanguard PRIMECAP: up 22.94%
  • AIM Constellation: up 22.04%

The top small-cap fund was Vanguard Explorer, ranked seventh on the list with a 21.01% return. 

Value stock funds showed signs of resurgence as well, with Neuberger Genesis Trust’s 20.44% return good for number eight on the list.

Fidelity Findings

Fidelity’s best-performing fund on the list is Fidelity Retirement Growth, one of only two large-cap growth funds in the top 10.  The fund is up 21.77% through August 31.

Fidelity flagship fund Magellan is ranked 50th on the Kanon Bloch Carre list, with year-to-date returns of 5.81% through August 31.

Seven of the 13 worst performers are Fidelity funds, including well-known Fidelity Fund (#85), with a 2.88% return.

Vanguard View

Regarded for its index funds, Vanguard actually had two actively managed funds in the top 10, mid-cap Vanguard PRIMECAP (#4) and Vanguard Explorer (#7).

Excluding index funds, the worst-performing Vanguard fund was #56 Vanguard Growth & Income, up 5.28% this year.

The Vanguard 500 Index Fund is 68th on the list, suggesting that lots of fund managers are outperforming the S&P 500.


Popular Janus Twenty has lost 1.10% year-to-date, and is now number 97 according to the Kanon Bloch Carre analysis.

The bottom of the list:

  • Fidelity Value: down 0.32%
  • Oakmark Fund: down 0.40%
  • Fidelity Advisor Growth Opportunities: down 0.92%
  • Janus Twenty: down 1.10%
  • Putnam OTC Emerging Growth: down 8.59%