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Is Vanguard Total Bond Market Index Admiral (VBTLX) a Strong Mutual Fund Pick Right Now?

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Any investors who are searching for Index funds should take a look at Vanguard Total Bond Market Index Admiral (VBTLX - Free Report) . While this fund is not tracked by the Zacks Mutual Fund Rank, we were able to examine other factors like performance, volatility, and cost.

History of Fund/Manager

Vanguard Group is based in Malvern, PA, and is the manager of VBTLX. The Vanguard Total Bond Market Index Admiral made its debut in November of 2001 and VBTLX has managed to accumulate roughly $118.90 billion in assets, as of the most recently available information. The fund is currently managed by Joshua Barrickman who has been in charge of the fund since February of 2013.

Performance

Of course, investors look for strong performance in funds. VBTLX has a 5-year annualized total return of 3.09% and is 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 5.54%, 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. VBTLX's standard deviation over the past three years is 3.6% compared to the category average of 15.35%. Looking at the past 5 years, the fund's standard deviation is 3.37% compared to the category average of 12.7%. This makes the fund less volatile than its peers over the past half-decade.

Risk Factors

Investors should note that the fund has a 5-year beta of 1.04, which means it is hypothetically more volatile than the market at large. 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. Over the past 5 years, the fund has a negative alpha of -0.1. This means that managers in this portfolio find it difficult to pick securities that generate better-than-benchmark returns.

Expenses

As competition heats up in the mutual fund market, costs become increasingly important. Compared to its otherwise identical counterpart, a low-cost product will be an outperformer, all other things being equal. Thus, taking a closer look at cost-related metrics is vital for investors. In terms of fees, VBTLX is a no load fund. It has an expense ratio of 0.05% compared to the category average of 0.79%. From a cost perspective, VBTLX is actually cheaper than its peers.

While the minimum initial investment for the product is $3,000, investors should also note that each subsequent investment needs to be at least $1.

Bottom Line

For additional information on the Index area of the mutual fund world, make sure to check out www.zacks.com/funds/mutual-funds. There, you can see more about the ranking process, and dive even deeper into VBTLX too for additional information. Zacks provides a full suite of tools to help you analyze your portfolio - both funds and stocks - in the most efficient way possible.


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