NEW YORK (MainStreet)Before 2008, finding a steady mutual fund was easy. A consumer could walk into any bank or call any advisor and wind up with more or less a good purchase. They would walk away with a safe asset that had a good return. After the fact, finding these funds has become more difficult because some of the funds that were so safe before mutated into high-risk speculative objects because their backing was either by bonds, government debt or equity. Companies and governments that were "safe and low risk" prior to 2008 became very volatile. Suddenly, it was unclear whether or not they could fulfill their obligation.
All the while this was happening there were still people in businesses across the world wanting to invest--some theorizing 2008 was in the rearview mirror. Today, central banks are flooding the market with money, or printing money to help stabilize the economy of a given country that is bringing interest rates to insanely low levels. Which begs the question: if a customer is going to invest in mutual funds which ones should he pick and why? Many advisors have shifted their focus from funds backed by debt to funds backed by stocks and equity or a mix.John Banker, Director of Traditional Research at CTC Consulting, said his company has $23 billion in assets under advisements and primarily provides investments advice to high-net worth clients, trusts, endowments, pension plans and foundations. "For U.S. equity exposure, we are recommending Vulcan Value Partners (Ticker: VVPLX) and Vulcan Value Partners Small Cap (Ticker: VVPSX)," he said. C.T. Fitzpatrick, Vulcan Value's founder, learned the craft of stock picking at Longleaf Funds, a deep value manager located in Memphis. Vulcan Value Partners gained 26.0% over the past year, and Vulcan Value Partners Small Cap has gained 34.4%. CTC Consulting started working with Vulcan in early 2011 when the firm barely had $100 million in assets; today, Vulcan manages $2 billion.