The CSA today published for comment a proposed risk classification methodologyfor the use of mutual fund managers in Fund Facts documents. The proposed standardized methodology is intended to address concerns by stakeholders regarding the lack of standardization in risk disclosure, which could result in an inconsistent evaluation of risk and make comparisons between mutual funds difficult.
As we've previously discussed, the Fund Facts currently requires the fund manager of a mutual fund to provide a risk rating for the mutual fund based on a risk classification methodology chosen at the fund manager’s discretion. The fund manager must then identify the mutual fund’s risk level.
The proposed methodology, intended to measure volatility risk, would classify mutual funds based on the degree to which returns vary over time from the average return (standard deviation). Six risk categories would correspond to standard deviation bands and range from "low" (0% - 2% deviation) to "very high" (over 28% deviation). Calculations would be based on the monthly total returns of the fund and mutual funds would have to use returns over the past 10 years to calculate standard deviation. Mutual funds without a sufficient performance history would be able to use a reference index meeting certain criteria.
The CSA are accepting comments on the proposal until March 12, 2014. For more information, see CSA Notice 81-324.