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Is Vanguard Wellesley Income Admiral (VWIAX) a Strong Mutual Fund Pick Right Now?

Zacks Equity Research

On the lookout for an Allocation Balanced fund? Starting with Vanguard Wellesley Income Admiral (VWIAX) is one possibility. VWIAX has a Zacks Mutual Fund Rank of 1 (Strong Buy), which is based on nine forecasting factors like size, cost, and past performance.

Objective

VWIAX is one of many Zacks' Allocation Balanced mutual funds to pick from. Allocation Balanced funds seek to invest in a balance of asset types, like stocks, bonds, and cash, though including precious metals or commodities is not unusual; these funds are mostly categorized by their respective asset allocation. Investors utilize Allocation Balanced funds as a way to get a good start with diversified mutual funds, as well as for core holdings in a portfolio of funds.

History of Fund/Manager

Vanguard Group is based in Malvern, PA, and is the manager of VWIAX. Since Vanguard Wellesley Income Admiral made its debut in May of 2001, VWIAX has garnered more than $43.57 billion in assets. A team of investment professionals is the fund's current manager.

Performance

Investors naturally seek funds with strong performance. This fund carries a 5-year annualized total return of 6.19%, and it sits in the top third among its category peers. But if you are looking for a shorter time frame, it is also worth looking at its 3-year annualized total return of 5.79%, which places it in the middle 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. Over the past three years, VWIAX's standard deviation comes in at 4.51%, compared to the category average of 8.3%. Looking at the past 5 years, the fund's standard deviation is 4.63% compared to the category average of 8.54%. This makes the fund less volatile than its peers over the past half-decade.

Risk Factors

One cannot ignore the volatility of this segment, however, as it is always important for investors to remember the downside to any potential investment. VWIAX lost 18.73% in the most recent bear market and outperformed its peer group by 18%. This means that the fund could possibly be a better choice than its peers during a down market environment.

Even still, the fund has a 5-year beta of 0.32, so investors should note that it is hypothetically less 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. With a positive alpha of 1.89, managers in this portfolio are skilled in picking securities that generate better-than-benchmark returns.

Expenses

Costs are increasingly important for mutual fund investing, and particularly as competition heats up in this market. And all things being equal, a lower cost product will outperform its otherwise identical counterpart, so taking a closer look at these metrics is key for investors. In terms of fees, VWIAX is a no load fund. It has an expense ratio of 0.16% compared to the category average of 0.89%. From a cost perspective, VWIAX is actually cheaper than its peers.

While the minimum initial investment for the product is $50,000, investors should also note that each subsequent investment needs to be at least $1.

Bottom Line

Overall, Vanguard Wellesley Income Admiral ( VWIAX ) has a high Zacks Mutual Fund rank, and in conjunction with its comparatively strong performance, average downside risk, and lower fees, Vanguard Wellesley Income Admiral ( VWIAX ) looks like a good potential choice for investors right now.

This could just be the start of your research on VWIAXin the Allocation Balanced category. Consider going to www.zacks.com/funds/mutual-funds for additional information about this fund, and all the others that we rank as well for additional information. And don't forget, Zacks has all of your needs covered on the equity side too! Make sure to check out Zacks.com for more information on our screening capabilities, Rank, and all our articles as well.


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