Is T. Rowe Price Personal Strategy Balanced (TRPBX) a Strong Mutual Fund Pick Right Now?

On the lookout for an Allocation Balanced fund? Starting with T. Rowe Price Personal Strategy Balanced (TRPBX) is one possibility. TRPBX bears a Zacks Mutual Fund Rank of 2 (Buy), which is based on various forecasting factors like size, cost, and past performance.

Objective

TRPBX is classified in the Allocation Balanced segment by Zacks, which is an area full of possibilities. Here, investors are able to get a good head start with diversified mutual funds, and play around with core holding options for a portfolio of funds. Allocation Balanced funds look to invest across a balance of asset types, like stocks, bonds, and cash, though including precious metals or commodities is not unusual; these funds are mostly categorized by their respective asset allocation.

History of Fund/Manager

T. Rowe Price is based in Baltimore, MD, and is the manager of TRPBX. T. Rowe Price Personal Strategy Balanced made its debut in June of 1994, and since then, TRPBX has accumulated about $1.09 billion in assets, per the most up-to-date date available. The fund's current manager, Charles Shriver, has been in charge of the fund since May of 2011.

Performance

Investors naturally seek funds with strong performance. This fund in particular has delivered a 5-year annualized total return of 7.59%, and it sits in the bottom third among its category peers. But if you are looking for a shorter time frame, it is also worth looking at its 3-year annualized total return of 1.81%, which places it in the bottom third during this time-frame.

It is important to note that the product's returns may not reflect all its expenses. Any fees not reflected would lower the returns. Total returns do not reflect the fund's [%] sale charge. If sales charges were included, total returns would have been lower.

When looking at a fund's performance, it is also important to note the standard deviation of the returns. The lower the standard deviation, the less volatility the fund experiences. Compared to the category average of 13.26%, the standard deviation of TRPBX over the past three years is 11.45%. Over the past 5 years, the standard deviation of the fund is 12.43% compared to the category average of 14.15%. This makes the fund less volatile than its peers over the past half-decade.

Risk Factors

Investors should not forget about beta, an important way to measure a mutual fund's risk compared to the market as a whole. TRPBX has a 5-year beta of 0.65, which means it is likely to be less volatile than the market average. Another factor to consider is alpha, as it reflects a portfolio's performance on a risk-adjusted basis relative to a benchmark-in this case, the S&P 500. Over the past 5 years, the fund has a negative alpha of -3.07. This means that managers in this portfolio find it difficult to pick securities that generate better-than-benchmark returns.

Expenses

For investors, taking a closer look at cost-related metrics is key, since costs are increasingly important for mutual fund investing. Competition is heating up in this space, and a lower cost product will likely outperform its otherwise identical counterpart, all things being equal. In terms of fees, TRPBX is a no load fund. It has an expense ratio of 0.52% compared to the category average of 0.88%. TRPBX is actually cheaper than its peers when you consider factors like cost.

Investors need to be aware that with this product, the minimum initial investment is $2,500; each subsequent investment needs to be at least $100.

Fees charged by investment advisors have not been taken into considiration. Returns would be less if those were included.

Bottom Line

Overall, T. Rowe Price Personal Strategy Balanced ( TRPBX ) has a high Zacks Mutual Fund rank, and in conjunction with its comparatively similar performance, average downside risk, and lower fees, T. Rowe Price Personal Strategy Balanced ( TRPBX ) looks like a great potential choice for investors right now.

Your research on the Allocation Balanced segment doesn't have to stop here. You can check out all the great mutual fund tools we have to offer by going to www.zacks.com/funds/mutual-funds to see the additional features we offer as well for additional information. If you want to check out our stock reports as well, make sure to go to Zacks.com to see all of the great tools we have to offer, including our time-tested Zacks Rank.

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The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

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