Van Kampen Mutual Funds

In this article, we'll be discussing Van Kampen mutual funds.  This review will include a brief background of the company, and the services Van Kampen provides to its clients.   Next, we'll talk about fee structures and investment returns.  Finally, we'll review some of the top performing funds found at Van Kampen.

In October 2009, Invesco announced it had entered into a definitive agreement to acquire Van Kampen from Morgan Stanley.  The transaction was valued at $1.5 billion in cash and stock.  At the time of purchase, Van Kampen had $119 billion in assets under management.

The information below was the last mutual fund review of that company.

Van Kampen Family of Mutual Funds

Van Kampen consisted of a large and diversified network of unaffiliated broker-dealers, banks and thrifts, insurance companies, and financial planners.  This network included over 250,000 financial advisors, with a smaller number of retail distributors accounting for a large proportion of the Van Kampen sales network.

Van Kampen offered a full array of financial planning products including 401(k) plan administration, Roth IRAs, Traditional IRAs, and 529 plans.  As part of Morgan Stanley, Van Kampen teamed up with one of the largest asset management firms in the world, with $740 billion under management in 2008.  Van Kampen managed approximately $138 billion of that value.  The company offered investors a full array of investment strategies such as growth, fixed income, global investment, and passive management.

Funds Fee Structure and Returns

Morningstar ratings indicated the expense ratio for mutual funds at Van Kampen ranged from Average for their domestic stock funds (1.40%), international stock (1.70%), and municipal bond (1.13%) funds to Above Average for their taxable bond funds (1.42%).  Van Kampen assets were held in a typical balance of domestic stocks (49.8%), municipal bonds (12.0%), taxable bonds (7.5%) and international stocks (6.1%). (August 2008)

The minimum investment at Van Kampen was $1,000.  In addition, nearly all of their funds carried a load, with only 8.1% of their assets in no-load mutual funds.  As of August 2008, the average return for the Van Kampen family of mutual funds was 6.50% over the last five years.

Top Rated Van Kampen Mutual Funds

As was the case with Pioneer, at least one of the three top rated funds at Van Kampen was a bond fund.  Unfortunately, all three of these funds carry a front load, and the top rated fund were closed to new investors.  With that in mind, here is a list of the top three rated funds at Van Kampen back in 2008:

  • Van Kampen Small Cap Growth A (VASCX): with $654 million in assets, this small cap growth fund places emphasis on the services industry (48% of assets).  Top holdings include Central European Distribution Corporation, FTI Consulting, Inc., and Net 1 UEPS Technologies, Inc.  The expense ratio for this fund is 1.38%, and it carries a front-load of 5.75%.  The minimum investment is $1,000, and the average return over the last five years was 10.83%.  (August 2008)
  • Van Kampen High-Yield Municipal A (ACTHX): with nearly $4.5 billion in assets, this high yield municipal bond fund has nearly 66% of its money in junk bonds.  Top holdings include Bay Area Toll Authority, Louisiana Buckeye, and Ohio Tobacco Settlement.  The expense ratio for the fund is 0.84%, and it carries a front load of 4.75%.  This fund requires a minimum investment of $1,000, and the average return over the last five years was 4.07%.  (August 2008)
  • Van Kampen Exchange (ACEHX): with nearly $440 million in assets, this large blend mutual fund emphasizes the manufacturing sector of the economy (64.97% of assets), with a concentration in the energy industry (40.23%).  Top holdings include ExxonMobil Corporation, Air Products and Chemicals, Inc., and Hess Corporation.  The expense ratio for the fund is 0.46%, and it is a no load mutual fund.  There is no minimum investment, and the average return over the last five years was 8.64%.  (August 2008)

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