If you like traveling and exploring new lands, it’s a fantastic time to be alive. Ferdinand Magellan’s 16th-century journey around the globe took three years. Today, you can hop on a plane and be just about anywhere within 24 hours.
When I travel to new cities, one of my favorite things is to go on a “walking tour.” This is a great way to get oriented, learn about the culture and get a few “local tips” on where to eat or to shop. Of course, I haven’t given every tour I have been on five stars—not all tour guides are equally engaging and informative.
The same applies when I take my portfolio globally. Vanguard’s index funds are serviceable, but I prefer to partner with an active manager (a local guide)—though not all portfolio managers are equally good. Plus, at Vanguard, most active funds are led by more than one guide—they have multiple sub-advisers sharing responsibilities. That can cause some communication crosstalk. Not helpful.
If you’re wondering whether traveling abroad with your portfolio is a good idea, I debated that question here. My conclusion: Holding some foreign stocks makes good portfolio sense, but you don’t have to go overboard.
My research into how to bring foreign stocks into your portfolio began with an analysis of Vanguard’s global stock funds in August—see here. It’s time to study Vanguard’s foreign stock funds, but given the sheer number of options, I’ve split my analysis into two parts.
This week, I’ll focus on Vanguard’s active funds—including my top two picks among all of Vanguard’s foreign stock funds (active or passive). Next week, I’ll dive into Vanguard’s index funds.
If, like me, you want to partner with an active manager to pick and choose which foreign stocks to own (and avoid), here are the funds you’ll want to consider and the ones to avoid.