I'll take a look at funds worthy of immediate consideration. As luck would have it, many interesting value funds were launched this year just in time for the rebound.
Vanguard U.S. Value: Co-manager Chris Darnell has produced strong results at GMO US Core and average results at GMO US Value. GMO picks stocks for the fund using quantitative models to good effect on the institutional side of its business. The fund should offer fairly broad-based, tax-efficient exposure to value stocks, and of course, it comes with a modest expense ratio.
Legg Mason Opportunity: This one's cost will be the highest of this group of value funds. The venerable Bill Miller manages it, but it should be fairly different from Legg Mason Value. On the plus side, it doesn't have built-up capital gains and its small asset base will give Miller more flexibility. It will be very concentrated, however, and its focus on small- and mid-cap stocks takes Miller into uncharted territory.
Janus Strategic Value: When Janus announced that it was rolling out a value fund, we were skeptical. Janus had failed miserably at its last attempt at value, and we weren't even sure that this fund would be a true value fund, given Janus' growth leanings and lack of concern for style purity. The good news is that this fund really is buying value stocks and that it overlaps little with most of Janus' funds - except manager David Decker's other charge, Janus Special Situations. He has done a fine job at Special Situations, so there's reason to be optimistic. As at Legg Mason Opportunity, though, this is new territory for the manager.
Masters' Select Value: What a dream team! Ken Gregory hired four of the best value managers - Mason Hawkins from Longleaf, Larry Sondike from Franklin Mutual Series, Bill Nygren from Oakmark and Bill Miller - and told each to pick eight to 15 stocks. These four are the most original value investors around. The fund won't be cheap, but it will at least be cheaper than Miller's Legg Mason funds.
A good growth fund is in the mix, too. Michael Gerding has long been the "other" foreign-fund manager in Denver. Like Helen Young Hayes, he seeks out fast-growing, shareholder-friendly companies. At Westcore International Frontier, he has something that Hayes doesn't - a tiny asset base that enables him to put as much as he wants in small caps. Gerding produced fine results at his previous funds: Dreyfus Founders Passport and Founders Worldwide.