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The statistics shown for the yearly and quarterly historic performance tables give a basic indication of how the fund has performed, which can be useful for comparing with other funds.
The statistics are calculated using the yearly (or quarterly) total performance figures, with the first period being ignored (it is often not a full year/quarter), and also ignoring the current period (which hasn't completed yet).
Average: this is a simple average of all the annual / quarterly performance percentages. This does not take compounding into account, and so is not an annualised return figure.
Maximum: this is the single highest yearly/quarterly return. It doesn't mean much for comparison purposes, other than to consider what the potential of the fund is.
3rd Quartile: quartiles divide a set of ordered numbers into 4 segments. The 3rd quartile represents the value between the highest valued and the second highest valued set of numbers. What this means for our purposes is that 25% of the years (or quarters) had returns higher than this figure.
Median: also knows as the 2nd quartile, this represents the mid-point of a set of numbers. In our case, this means that half of the yearly (or quarterly) returns will be above this level, and half will be below. From a statistical point of view, medians are considered more accurate than averages because they aren't skewed as much by a single very high (or very low) period. Of course, if you had invested through those high or low periods, they do mean something to your returns, so we can't ignore averages completely!
1st Quartile: this means that 25% of the returns are lower than this figure. Conversely, 75% of the returns are above it!
Minimum: simply the lowest annual/quarterly return for a fund. Again, this doesn't mean much other than perhaps to consider how bad it can get (although this doesn't mean that it won't ever be worse!!!).
Warning: the statistics shown are calculated from all years/quarters for the fund (excluding the first period and the current incomplete period). A different fund which has not been operating as long, may not have experienced the same market conditions - and so the statistics given may not represent an accurate comparison. In a future version of this site, we intend to implement fund comparison tables which will allow a direct comparison between funds over the same period - for more accurate statistics.
This is a general comment only and does not constitute advice. Before making financial decisions you should seek advice from a professional adviser, who can take into account your specific circumstances and investment goals.