Andrew Allentuck

Friday, February 23, 2001

The Best of the Best: Mutual Funds & Blue Chip Stocks for Canadians
by Wilfred Vos and Bruce MacDougall
Prentice Hall, 270 pages

Financial analyst Wilfred Vos and financial journalist Bruce MacDougall have updated last year's guide. Like the previous version of The Best of the Best, they offer an analysis of fund returns over extended periods using a methodology that combines measures for risk and return. Tax consequences of distributions are not addressed, a drawback for the taxable investor in funds the authors discuss.

The authors start with the assumption that the reader knows only a little math but is sound of intent and can balance information. Into that presumed void of knowledge, they present a crisp selection of vital and quite relevant data. Most stock brokerages don't present data as well as this book. Brevity is the intent, but for the experienced investor, it's a pity analyses are not more detailed.

Their comments on 100 mutual funds profiled are sound, accurate and insightful. Likewise, their comments on 30 top stocks are timely and on the mark. Call this book an enhanced shopping list and you've got a good sense of what it is. It's for the investor building an investment portfolio rather than entrusting the job to a broker or financial advisor. And for that, it's a good reference to keep at hand.