Access your paid subscription to Rita here.

Access your Free Trial subscription of Rita here.

Factor Definitions

Rita offers 24 factors from which you can choose to weight by importance to your investment goals. The following definitions specify how Rita uses each of these factors in helping you make the best choices for your investment goals.

(Actual) Performance Factor Weightings are the weightings applied to the performance factors when calculating the scoring of the mutual funds. These weighting are shown within parentheses () so that it’s clear which type of weighting is displayed.  These weightings are calculated from the relative performance factor weightings and the overall weightings of the applications slider control.

Annualized Standard Deviation (ASD) is a volatility measure associated with risk, lower values are more desirable as a measure of risk. But overall volatility cut both ways and higher values can reflect higher “upside volatility” related to higher returns.

Assets Under Management (A.U.M.) are the total assets managed by the fund, higher numbers are preferred when identifying manager where more money is being invested.

Downside Deviation is like ASD, but it’s only a measure of downside (risk-related) volatility; lower numbers are preferred as a risk adverse measure.

Expense Ratio is an annual fee expressed as percentage of assets deducted, lower fees are preferable.

Focus is a percentage of the fund’s assets allocated to its top 10 holdings, if trying to minimize systematic risk, lower numbers are preferred as it represents more diversification in assets.

Manager Tenure is the number of years the current manager has been managed the portfolio.

Relative Performance Factor Weightings are calculated relative to the other performance subfactors within the same category of Return, Risk, and Miscellaneous. These weightings help define the importance of the performance subfactors factors relative to each other.

Return Performance Factors are total returns that are annualized if they cover 12 months or more.

Turnover Rate is the percentage assets replaced on an annual basis, higher turnover rates could generate taxable short-term capital events, so lower rates may be preferred.

Yield is reported for income generating funds over a 12-month period.

12b-1 Fees are included in expense ratio, but are a distribution & marketing fee component.

Using The Tool

Rita is accessible from most modern browsers and devices. However, the reduced screen sizes of mobile phones may make viewing more challenging. 

There are two main panels within Rita – the search panel, and the analysis panel.

The first step is to use the search screen for finding the funds to evaluate.  Using words separated by spaces, the Rita searches for the names of mutual funds and ETFs that contain all listed words. 

In the image above, the word “large” was typed, to find all funds with large in the name, then “column” was added to narrow the list to Columbia funds.  The order of the words isn’t relevant.  

Also, searching using a ‘ticker symbol’ will find the oldest fund share class within a funds’ family, however, a ticker symbol may not match exactly.  The oldest fund share class is used to analyze the funds longest performance history.  A list of ticker symbols separated by commas, will allow you to enter multiple mutual funds and ETFs for analysis.

Once your search list has been typed in, selecting funds for analysis is simple.  Click the fund names, and they will be added to an asset class category listing, as shown here:

Click the Gray Gear Icon on the right side of the green bar of a fund.


Clicking the Grey Gear Icon of a category will open a new analysis screen in your browser, with all your listed fund(s) highlighted within a scored and ranked table. 

Revisiting the search panel tab and clicking the Grey Gear Icon of a different fund will open an additional browser tab for each category, so that it is possible to review multiple asset classes.

The analysis panel above is a fully interactive interface, that instantly scores and ranks the mutual funds and ETFs within the asset class.

This panel will default to showing the top-10 scored funds, with a total of 6 default performance factors (3 return-related and 3 risk-related factors).

Rita defaults to showing the oldest share type of the selected mutual fund, so you may not find the specific share class you are searching for, but rather a representative of that fund with the longest performance history.

There can be minor difference in performance depending on the specific share classes, and the fees charged for each share class.

Consequently, in making any final investment decision, you should always perform a qualitative due diligence review which should always include a review of the various share classes available, so you can select the one that is “best” for you.

  1. There will be an asset class benchmark highlighted in orange, and the fund you selected will be highlighted in yellow. 
  2. Return-related performance factors are highlighted in green, Risk-related performance factors are highlighted red, and Miscellaneous factors, highlighted in blue, are not shown and are not included in the default screen
  3. The grey & orange top slider bar is the primary control on this panel and it adjusts the overall weighting of the Risk, Return and Miscellaneous factor categories.
  4. The green dot in the top slider bar represents Return category weight and will adjust weightings between Return and Risk by sliding it to the right or left – if to the right, more weight on return and less on risk and, if to the left, the opposite. 
  5. The blue dot in the top slider bar represents the Misc. category weight and will adjust weightings between Misc./Risk. The category weights are related to how you slide the bar for each category.
  6. The black bar at the bottom of the analysis table contains the date of the last data update.
  7. The black arrows under the Rank column ▲▼, will increase or decrease the number of top scoring and ranking funds shown in the table. You can use this to view the top 10 funds up to the top 50 mutual funds, in increments of five for each click.
  8. The column header labeled “Highest Ranked Managers Out of XXX” will show the number of managers in the category.
  9. The other headers in at the top of the table show all of the performance and miscellaneous factors selected and used in the analysis. When hovering a cursor over the header it will reveal the weightings applied to each of those factors.
  10. Clicking on Highest Ranked Managers column header will lock the weightings display to always visible. 
  11. Clicking on the header of the performance factor columns will toggle the weighting between Actual and Relative weightings.
  12. The Chart hamburger menu icon, in the upper right corner, of the analysis table will open a panel with a distribution graph, where the numeric scores of the funds in the asset class are plotted against their rank. We often refer to the long flattened are as “the slope of mediocrity.” You can go any number of fund / ETF choices along that slope and not get a much different composite score, until you get to the far left portion of the chart, where the slope begins to get steep.  We refer to that area as the slope of exceptional performance.  This chart helps to illustrate why it is so difficult – in the absence of a tool like this – to identify superior performing mutual funds and ETFs.  They typically make up only 2% – 3% of the funds in any asset class.
  13. The Factor hamburger menu icon, in the upper left corner, will open a left side panel of return, risk, and miscellaneous factors, pictured below, that can be selected and weighted for use in your comparative analysis of investment choices. There are currently 24 performance factors available for selection including the top 3 slider bar weightings.

The Factor hamburger menu icon, in the upper left corner, will open a left side panel of return, risk, and miscellaneous factors, pictured below, that can be selected and weighted for use in your comparative analysis of investment choices. There are currently 24 performance factors available for selection.

The colors of the factors represent the categories they belong to, green for Return-related factors, red for Risk-related factors, blue for Miscellaneous factors.

Clicking the Factor Name will toggle that factor on / off. 

Factors that are toggled “on” will start with the weighing / signal level meter at 3 bars (just like your cell phone signal level indicator) which is a relatively “Important” state. 

Clicking the Signal Meter will increase the Importance of the performance factor to the highest signal (5 bars) and then, with one more click, back to zero (0) bars.

Continuous clicking will rotate through all six relative importance settings.

The Signal Meter: There are 5 possible degrees of importance in this application, and they are represented by the signal graphic seen in Figure 5. This range is defined from low to high:

  • 1 bar = Least Important
  • 2 bars = Less Important
  • 3 bars = Important
  • 4 bars = More Important
  • 5 bars = Most Important.


Rita automatically figures out the relative percentile weightings.

A blank signal meter represents a zero weighting, and that factor is displayed for reference only in the table without any weighting or effect on the overall composite score.


Rita was designed to be used as a tool that individuals like you could use to quickly compare the overall performance of the mutual fund and ETF investments you have in your retirement savings plan or brokerage account.

The use of Rita will often reveal significant differences in the average annual returns of the funds you are holding versus those you could have selected.

These gaps in performance can prove to be significant over multiple year periods (e.g., 5 years and 3 years) and, often, with less risk and sometimes with lesser cost as well).

Some Limitations:

All funds are scored and ranked against peers based off an industry accepted classification scheme, however, it isn’t uncommon for outlier funds (potentially miss-classified funds) to show up in these groups.

Although the main slider can allocate an upper limit of 95% (not 100%) to any one category (e.g., Return, Risk or Misc.), turning off the factors within the other categories (or setting their sub-factor weightings to 0%, i.e. 0 bars for display) will achieve that 100% weighting on one category effect.

Rita Members Only Blog