Over Here Or Over There?: Location and International Mutual Funds

If you are buying international stock mutual funds, it would be reasonable to question the location of the people analyzing the stocks that they buy. Are they at “HQ” or are they in close proximity to their companies of interest?

It’s a good question, since, the ability to visit a company, look at its operations, and talk to management can lead to a clearer picture of its prospects.

One way to consider the materiality of locale is to consider the status of the country or region in question. For instance, investing in European stocks may not require boots on the ground, since there are well established reporting protocols and abundant economic data. Even in so-called emerging markets, like Brazil or India, robust analysis can be accomplished from afar. However, in what are known as frontier markets (Lithuania, Sri Lanka, Romania, etc.), you’ll want the analysts to reach out and touch the companies they are purchasing on your behalf.

David R. Evanson is a financial journalist in Philadelphia.