First Eagle Investment Management Overview
First Eagle Investment Management offers seven different funds, all with a Morningstar rating range from three to five stars. Its five-star,
top-rated funds by Morningstar are the Global Fund, the Overseas Fund and the Gold Fund.
First Eagle funds (Class A shares)
- Global (SGENX)
- Overseas (SGOVX)
- U.S. Value (FEVAX)
- Gold (SDGDX)
- Global Income Builder (FEBAX)
- High Yield (FEHAX)
- Fund of America (FEFAX)
First Eagle’s Leading Fund
The Global Fund, First Eagle’s flagship fund, dates to 1979, when Jean-Marie Eveillard began his decades-long career as the fund’s portfolio manager. In part due to Eveillard’s longevity, this fund boasts a long-term track record, proven performance and low risk across many market cycles.
For example: Glance at the calendar year returns for this particular fund and it is evident that from 2000-2002, the Global fund’s returns remained in the 9-10% range, while the MSCI World Index ranged from -13.18% to -19.89%.
Since its inception, the Global Fund has boasted 13.35% annually, compared to 9.50% for the MSCI World Index. First Eagle has often outperformed the standard index during both calm and tumultuous markets.
More recently, First Eagle’s funds have shown weaker performance (just 2.93% return compared to the MSCI World Index at 4.94% in 2014) but the fund managers’ strategy has always been to maintain quality over the long haul—not to hit instantaneous home runs.
The type of investment holdings for the Global Fund are listed below. To see the full holding percentages for all seven First Eagle funds, go to https://www.feim.com/individual-investors/funds/overview.
As a rule, most of First Eagle’s funds contain some percentage of gold. For example, the Global Fund’s top holdings include 6.2% gold bullion and overall, 10% in gold-related investments.
The reason for all that gold? First Eagle’s fund managers use it successfully as a shield against future dips in the markets.
First Eagle Minimum Investment and Contributions
The minimum investment amount for any of the seven First Eagle funds is $2,500. For active contributors to any First Eagle account, the minimum investment per month is $100. For Class I shares, the minimum investment is $1,000,000.
First Eagle Investment Expense Ratios and Fees
Expense ratios for all First Eagle funds are listed below. Compared to a larger broker, such as Vanguard (whose mutual fund expense ratios range from 0.05% to 0.93%), First Eagle funds’ expense ratios are higher.
- Global Fund: 1.10%
- Global Income Builder Fund: 1.18%
- Gold Fund: 1.27%
- Fund of America Fund: 1.30%
- High Yield Fund: 1.15%
- Overseas Fund: 1.14%
- U.S. Value Fund: 1.09%
Depending on the amount in any of the First Eagle Fund portfolios, the shareholder fees range from 5% for less than $25,000 invested to a 0% fee for $1,000,000 and over.
The exception is the High Yield Fund, which requires a 4.50% sales charge for less than $100,000 to a 0% fee for an investment of $1,000,000-plus.
Last year two of First Eagle’s funds were awarded the Thomson Reuters Lipper Fund Award. The Global Fund was one of the top performers among 111 eligible funds (Flexible Portfolio Category) and the Gold Fund was one of the top performers among 61 eligible funds (Equity Precious Metals category.)
The First Eagle website has limited functionality—it’s solely for information about each First Eagle Fund. No actual trading is done on the website.
However, an individual doesn’t get the sense that investing is very exciting when viewing either the website or the online account portfolio. Unfortunately, far from attracting a younger clientele, First Eagle’s website and overall marketing scheme makes it obvious that the vast majority of its clients are of a more mature variety.
Online Account Portfolio
First Eagle’s online account portfolio for individual investors contains virtually no bells and whistles. In the main account portfolio screen, the following options exist:
- Historical account balance
- View statements
- View all electronic tax forms
- Cost basis options
Historical Account Balance and View Statements
To view historical account balance, an investor must punch in an exact date or select from a scroll down of balances existing for different quarters.
In addition, clicking on “view statements” offers users the option of scrolling through each pdf of the same statements that they can also receive through the mail.
With the exception of saving paper, there is virtually no reason to use the online account portfolio for First Eagle. It’s uninspiring, slightly cumbersome and not particularly enjoyable to view.
No graphs, detailed return information, charts, interesting breakouts, slides or other interactive features exist on First Eagle’s website or the online account portfolio as they might with a larger broker. In addition, the online account portfolio contains no real educational component, nor is there a way to compare and contrast funds if an investor happens to own more than one First Eagle Fund.
First Eagle Investment Pros
- Offers solid funds which perform over the long-term.
- Funds aim to preserve capital even in dwindling markets and also hold considerable amounts of cash to mitigate risk.
- Small but well-established company.
First Eagle Investment Cons
- $2,500 minimum investment for all funds.
- Required minimum of $100 per bank draft per month if regularly contributing; many other brokerages allow smaller minimums.
- Website is unfriendly, caters to a certain demographic.
- Online account portfolio is rudimentary.
First Eagle Investment Management
reviewed by Brokerage-Review.com on