CHAPTER 3SHOOTING STARSThe Performance Realities of Mutual Fund Ownership

Until the Copernican Revolution, the Earth was viewed as the stationary center of the universe. Stars were regarded as being embedded in a large outer sphere, rapidly rotating around our planet on a daily basis, while each of the planets, the sun, and the moon were embedded in their own smaller spheres.

After a lifetime of study, in the year of his death, 1543, Nicolaus Copernicus published his theories of “heliocentrism,” in his defining work, De Revolutionibus Orbium Coelestium (On the Revolutions of the Celestial Spheres). In the context of this book, Copernicus outlined his vision depicting the sun as the center of the universe, around which all other celestial bodies revolve.

The notion of a heliocentric universe debunked prevailing scholarly works and theories, and provided a foundation for future scientific discovery. Copernicus’s body of work effectively shot holes in the conventionally accepted theories of the day.

In 1985, Morningstar debuted their now highly regarded “star rating” system. While over the years their process has evolved to account for a broader size and style approach, as well as new measures of assessing risk-adjusted returns, the gist remains the same. According to Morningstar, “The Morningstar Rating is a quantitative assessment of a fund’s past performance—both return and risk—as measured from one to five stars. It uses focused comparison groups to better measure fund manager ...

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