New York Life mutual funds are called Mainstay funds and are part of the larger financial management and planning services offered by New York Life. Mainstay Investments is a separate financial institution owned and operated by New York Life. A little background into the company can help one understand where the Mainstay funds fit into the overall picture in terms of New York Life’s financial services.
The company itself is a very old and established insurance company that has a quality track record in terms of its financial management and client-company relationship overall. The Mainstay funds are the funds New York Life offers to clients as part of their financial planning services. Detailed information about Mainstay funds can be viewed via New York Life’s website, www.newyorklife.com and/or in the financial section of various newspapers.
Types of Mutual Funds:
Mainstay funds span across the typical classes of stock capitalizations and diversification categories including small cap, mid cap and large cap funds in addition to international, money market and index funds. The funds come in three primary types, class A, class B, and class C. Class B and C shares of Mainstay funds don’t have front end sales charges but incur higher annual management costs of .75% in addition to a contingent back end sales charge. Class B shares are convertible to Class A shares but A and C shares are not convertible. Sales charges for investments in Class A Mainstay Funds typically range between 1.5-5.5% at the front end of the purchase.
Mainstay funds can be invested in through New York Life’s individual retirement accounts, life insurance policies, college savings plans or directly through a New York Life account depending on what one’s financial goals are.
Historical Performance of New York Life’s Mainstay Funds: (www.newyorklife.com)
*Mainstay All Cap Growth Fund Class A, Lifetime performance 10.98%
*Mainstay ICAP International Fund Class A, Lifetime performance 12.29%
*Mainstay Small Cap Growth Fund Class A, Lifetime performance 5.28%
*Mainstay small Cap Opportunity Fund Class A, Lifetime performance 10.42%
*Mainstay Total Return Fund Class A, Lifetime performance 9.19%
Advantages and Disadvantages of Mainstay Mutual Funds:
Since New York Life is an insurance company, mutual funds may be bought as part of a life insurance policy and incur monthly premiums and fees that may eat into the actual stated performance of the mutual funds. In exchange, an account holder receives insurance benefits and an account with cash value depending on the funds performance, consistency of premium payments etc. depending on the type of insurance policy.
New York life financial statements sent out to clients may be complicated and the process of managing one’s funds may be time consuming as this has to be facilitated by New York Life in accordance with pre-established policies and the type of account. In other words, holding Mainstay funds may be best considered part of a long-term family personal financial package rather than a sole investment strategy in and of themselves.
Information about the management of and performance of mainstay funds can be obtained via New York Life’s website which includes significant background, management and financial information such as annual and bi-annual reports, regulatory information and prospectuses.
In terms of Mainstay funds’ history, management and consistency they can be considered a good to reasonable investment. However, the fees associated with some classes of the shares in addition to the type of account they are held through may limit or reduce the total annual percentage gains realized by the account holder. These drawbacks are offset by knowing one’s money is being managed by a reputable company and that one’s other needs such as Insurance requirements and retirement savings management are being factored into the equation.
Date of record: 01.07.08