Stuck with this fund since 1999 as part of my 401k. Ten year average return is 9% on a 10,000k investment. Now add in all the contributions when the stock was experiencing its dips in price and the returns are greater today. It got down to 12.5 during the last crash and I just bought more. It rebounded to over $20 today. Thats a nice return. That's part of my strategy. When the market trends down for a period of time I contribute more to my 401k. When it is plateaus on the up side I back off my contributions. In the end I have stuck with my total planned contributions but focused more on the cheaper price.
The problem was they have large holdings on both financial and energy sector. Both sector got hit really badly. I lowered my contribution beginning of 2008 and increase it on November 2008. They tend to sell their holdings around November for profit taking and for the manager bonus.
Some us of knows when to come in...but we need to learn when to get out as well. I know it is a long term retirement fund, but that doesn't mean you need to ride it and put yourself backwards 10 years to your goal. The only advantage I have left against most is I'm only 32. I took my half and played the market, it has paid very well. Now my problem is how much taxes I will be paying.
The manager of this fund made some very-very bad high risk decisions which turned out terrible for His clients. As the federal administration starts evaluating these funds, I am hopeful they will put an investigative team on this one!
About the only good thing I can say about them, is they cut the ridiculous positions that they had in financial smoke and mirrors firms. If their research wasn't good enough to predict what a house of cards they were, I doubt they are going to pick any winners going forward. I would settle for a ZERO YTD performance, and they can't even produce that.
Better balance the VAAPX which has been 100% stocks until recently. I had the VAAPX in my Vanguard IRA as it was the "balanced" fund choice. FBALX has a better balance than the VAAPX. That said- all the funds are down big time. Hoping the Great One turns this economy around, but having some doubts about that short term.