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Ventura Wealth Clients
3 min Read

The world of mutual funds offers a plethora of options, each catering to distinct investor goals and risk tolerances. Two such options that often cause confusion for those who invest in mutual funds are contra funds and value funds. While both may hold undervalued stocks, their investment philosophies and target characteristics differ. This blog delves into the core distinctions between contra and value funds, empowering you to make informed investment decisions.

What are Contra funds?

Contra funds, also known as counterpoint funds, take an unconventional approach. They actively seek out stocks that are currently out of favour with the market and are experiencing negative price momentum. The fund manager believes these stocks possess hidden potential and are temporarily undervalued due to market sentiment or short-term setbacks.

Key characteristics of Contra funds

  • Focus on Underperforming Stocks: Contra funds specifically target stocks that have been experiencing price declines or lagging behind the broader market.
  • High-Risk, High-Reward Potential: Since contra funds invest in out-of-favour companies, they carry a higher degree of risk compared to some other investment options. However, the potential for significant returns exists if the fund manager's contrarian bets pay off, and the stocks rebound.
  • Long-Term Investment Horizon: Contra funds are best suited for investors with a long-term outlook (5+ years) who can withstand market volatility and ride out temporary slumps in anticipation of a turnaround.

What are Value funds?

Value funds, on the other hand, focus on identifying stocks with a strong underlying value proposition that may be trading at a price below their intrinsic worth. This intrinsic value is determined through fundamental analysis, considering factors like a company's financial health, assets, earnings potential, and competitive advantage.

Key characteristics of Value funds

  • Focus on Undervalued Stocks: Value funds target stocks that the fund manager believes are trading below their true potential, based on a thorough analysis of their fundamentals.
  • Moderate Risk, Moderate Reward Potential: Value funds generally carry a lower risk profile than contra funds, as they focus on companies with strong fundamentals. However, the potential for returns may also be more moderate compared to contra funds.
  • Focus on Long-Term Growth: Value funds aim to generate long-term capital appreciation through the gradual increase in the underlying stocks' value as they reach their perceived intrinsic worth.

Contra funds vs value funds

The ideal choice between contra and value funds depends on your individual risk tolerance and investment goals:

  • Contra Funds: Suitable for aggressive investors with a high-risk tolerance who are comfortable with market volatility and believe in the fund manager's ability to identify undervalued, out-of-favour stocks with turnaround potential.
  • Value Funds: A good fit for investors seeking a balance between risk and reward. Value funds offer the potential for capital appreciation through undervalued stocks with strong fundamentals, but with a potentially lower risk profile compared to contra funds.

Related article: Growth funds vs value funds

Additional factors to consider

  • Investment Horizon: Both contra and value funds are geared towards long-term investors. However, contra funds might require an even longer timeframe to navigate potential short-term volatility.
  • Market Conditions: Contra funds might outperform in bear markets when undervalued stocks become more attractive. Value funds, on the other hand, can thrive in bull markets as undervalued stocks reach their full potential.


Contra and value funds offer distinct investment approaches. Understanding their core differences – focus on underperforming vs. undervalued stocks, risk-reward profiles, and suitability for different market conditions – is crucial. By aligning your investment goals and risk tolerance with the characteristics of each fund type, you can make informed decisions and choose the option that best complements your overall portfolio strategy. Remember, diversification is key! Consider incorporating both contra and value funds alongside other asset classes to achieve a well-rounded investment portfolio.