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Focus on Funds

ICI’s Latest Fact Book Marks Six Decades of Fund Growth

The 2020 Investment Company Fact Book—the 60th edition of ICI’s flagship research publication—offers extensive data and insight on funds and fund investors. In the June 12, 2020, edition of Focus on Funds, ICI Chief Economist Sean Collins discusses how the Fact Book serves as a vital, global source of fund data and analysis.


Stephanie Ortbals-Tibbs, ICI director of media relations: Sean, the 60th edition of the [Investment Company] Fact Book is out. When you look at this year’s edition, what are a few of the things that struck you?

Sean Collins, ICI chief economist: We went back and looked at Fact Books all the way back to the beginning—1959. And it’s very interesting to see the evolution of the Fact Book. You can see the Fact Book growing over time. And the topic areas change also as the industry grows; and the amount of detail and just the breadth of the coverage grows over time.

Ortbals-Tibbs: When you look back on the data from the late ’50s versus now, you see some things that actually are still the same, which is rather remarkable, and some things that are different.

Collins: When we look all the way back to 1959, the average age of an investor in a mutual fund then and now was early fifties. So that’s kind of interesting. On the other hand, if you look back in time, the number of investors that said that they were saving primarily for retirement—that was their primary objective—was about 35 percent back in 1959. That number’s grown to about 75 percent today.

Ortbals-Tibbs: The other thing that people really love about today’s “modern Fact Book” is that it’s so digital, and so much of the material is downloadable, and material that people can dig into themselves and answer questions for themselves about funds and their investors.

Collins: We put up all the data that is used in the Fact Book, whether in charts or tables, appendix tables at the back. We put all of that into Excel spreadsheets. All of that’s available with the click of a button on our website. It’s there today—we hope people will take advantage of that.

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