Why has the fund performed the way it has?
It's not just performance, but the drivers of long-term performance that put a fund's record in context. For example, our analysts look at results during discrete stretches of market stress to add some clarity about the fund's downside risks. In addition, some funds harbor sector-specific or market-cap biases that can cause them to perform differently from peers at times.
Besides looking at the standard 3- and 5-year measures of performance, also consider performance over more meaningful time periods, such as a manager's tenure on the fund, extreme swings in market returns, or a full market cycle.
Value consistency. Strong trailing returns, even over the past 3 or 5 years, could stem from a short stretch of hot performance. More consistent performance tends to lead to better long-term results that are easier for investors to handle.