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Japan Blooms Again?

Q: Bernie, you manage the Polaris Global Value Fund (PGVFX ) and the Quant Foreign Value Fund (QFVOX ). First, a basic question -- the distinction between "global" and "foreign"? And how have the funds' performances been, beyond the year-to-date numbers you cited?

A: Global funds by definition can invest anywhere in the world. International or foreign funds invest outside the U.S., or more generally, the investor's home country. The Polaris Global Value Fund also was up 3.8% in 2002 when our competitors in the index were down about 20%, and has made money in the last three and five years -- which we're extremely proud of, given how difficult the markets were. It has a 5-star rating from Morningstar.

QFVOX also made money last year, and the last three and five years. It currently has a 4-star overall rating, and a 5-star three-year rating from Morningstar.

The other point we like to make about the funds is that their risks relative to their benchmarks and the U.S. market are reasonably low. So the betas are in the 0.7 range. Because we are very deep value managers, our portfolios tend not to track the overall indexes because the indexes tend to be dominated by stocks that performed best over the last three years or so. I hope that's helpful.

Q: Thanks to an investigation of mutual-fund trading practices launched two weeks ago by New York Attorney General Eliot Spitzer, a lot of attention has been paid to international funds and the potential for market timers to hurt the returns experienced by lon

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