Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions

About Firsthand Funds

General Information

Can I contact you by e-mail?

Absolutely. Send us an e-mail anytime at

Do you have a toll-free number?

Yes, you can call us toll free at 1.888.884.2675. This is the number to call if you have questions about opening a direct account with Firsthand Funds, if you have questions about any Firsthand Fund, or to conduct business in an existing direct account. You can also call this number to get Fund share prices.

What are the ticker symbols for your funds?

Firsthand Technology Opportunities Fund: TEFQX
Firsthand Alternative Energy Fund: ALTEX

Prospectuses and Reports

What is an SAI?

A Statement of Additional Information ("SAI") contains detailed information on fund policies, the management company, risks, and operations.

How can I obtain a copy of the prospectus and SAI?

Both documents can be downloaded from our website's Prospectuses & Reports page. You can also receive a printed copy of the prospectus and/or SAI via regular mail by calling Shareholder Services toll free at 1.888.884.2675.

How can I get a copy of the annual and semi-annual reports?

You may review and print a copy of these reports from our website by visiting our Prospectuses & Reports page. You can also call Shareholder Services toll free at 1.888.884.2675 to have them sent to you via U.S. mail.


How are capital gains taxed?

Short-term capital gains are taxed as ordinary income at the Federal level. Long-term capital gains are taxed at a lower rate, depending on your tax bracket.

What is a capital gains distribution?

Capital gains distributed to shareholders are the net profits made on the sale of individual securities in a mutual fund's portfolio. Each time a mutual fund sells a portfolio holding, a capital gain or loss is incurred for that investment. All mutual funds, regardless of performance, must distribute to shareholders any net realized gains from the sale of individual securities in their portfolios at least once a year.

What is a record date?

The record date is the date on which an individual must own shares in order to be entitled to receive a distribution. It is also known as the "date of record." Investors who purchase shares on the ex-dividend date do not receive that year's distributions.

Why does the NAV of a fund drop on the day of the distribution?

On the day that a fund distributes capital gains, the fund's NAV drops to reflect the distribution that has been paid out. This drop indicates that a portion of the fund's value has been distributed to shareholders as a realized capital gain. You will notice that if you have chosen to reinvest the distribution, the value of your account has not changed as a result of the distribution. You will receive a confirmation statement showing the amount of the distribution and the current value of your Firsthand Funds account.

What is the "ex-dividend date"?

When a company declares a dividend, it sets a record date when you must be on the company's books as a shareholder to receive the dividend. Once the record date is set, the ex-dividend date is set based on stock exchange rules. The ex-dividend date is typically set two business days before the record date. If you purchase a stock on its ex-dividend date or after, you will not receive the next dividend payment. If you purchase before the ex-dividend date, you get the dividend.


Can I access my Firsthand Funds account(s) online?

Yes, shareholders may access their account information 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, by logging into their account online. You are able to buy, exchange, and sell shares; check account balances; review previous account activity; order account statements; and view and order duplicate tax forms. To read more about these online account access features, click here.

Can I purchase your Funds through brokerage firms' mutual fund supermarkets?

You are able to purchase our Funds through many brokerage firms. Please see our Invest With a Broker page for a list of some brokerage firms that carry our Funds. You may also call Shareholder Services toll free at 1.888.884.2675 to inquire about a firm not on the list.

Do you offer telephone exchanges and redemptions?

Yes, direct shareholders may request an exchange to another Firsthand Fund over the telephone.

You may redeem shares having a value less than $50,000 by telephone. Please read the prospectus for details or contact Shareholder Services at 1.888.884.2675 with any further questions. You may also conduct transactions online. Visit our Online Account Access pages to learn more.

How can I change the address on my account?

You may update your address through our Account Access pages, or by calling Shareholder Services toll free at 1.888.884.2675.

How can I redeem (sell) shares?

You may sell shares online through our Account Access pages. You may also contact Shareholder Services toll free at 1.888.884.2675 or redeem shares by sending a written request to:

Shareholder Services
Firsthand Funds
P.O. Box 9836
Providence, RI 02940-8036

What is the minimum to open a new account?

If you purchase shares directly from Firsthand Funds, the initial investment minimum is $2,000 per Fund. For Individual Retirement Accounts (IRAs), the initial investment is $3,000. Lower minimums are available through some brokerage firms. See Invest Via Broker for more information on broker minimums. For more complete information on fees, expenses, and risks, please read our prospectus.


Where can I find the daily net asset values?

Our NAVs are updated daily online on our homepage. If you are interested in receiving the NAVs daily via e-mail, you can sign up for the service here. You can also check the daily NAV using our automated voice response system by calling 1.888.884.2675.

Which market index do you use to benchmark your Funds?

Market indices include hundreds, if not thousands, of companies, while our Funds have significantly fewer holdings. So, on a day-to-day basis, our Funds will not necessarily follow any index. The primary benchmark index can be considered the NASDAQ Composite Index, due to its high concentration of technology stocks.

The NASDAQ Composite Index was up today, but your technology sector funds weren't up as much (or were down). Why?

The NASDAQ Composite Index is composed of more than 4,000 companies, not exclusively in the technology sector, and is weighted toward the companies with the largest market capitalization.

The portfolio composition of Firsthand technology sector funds is derived solely from the technology sector, and the number of holdings generally ranges from 25 to 75 companies per fund. It is not appropriate to look strictly at NASDAQ and compare the performance to our funds on a daily basis. While the NASDAQ is rich in technology stocks, non-technology stocks may drive significant movements. These differences work in both directions: Our technology sector funds may have a better day than the NASDAQ, or the NASDAQ may outperform our Funds. Historically, our Funds have generally displayed greater volatility than the NASDAQ Composite Index.

How do I subscribe (or unsubscribe) to the daily NAV e-mail?

Please visit the NAV e-mail sign-up page.


How can I find the complete portfolio holdings for Firsthand Funds?

For the most current portfolio holdings available for each of our Funds, please click the portfolio holdings button on each Fund page. Updated portfolio holdings are released quarterly after a 45-day delay. For more information on our holdings release dates, please see our Portfolio Disclosure Policy.

Why is there some overlap between some of the Funds?

We do not manage our Funds to complement each other. There may be some overlap between our Funds because a particular company may meet the investment strategy of multiple Funds.

Fees and Expenses

Does Firsthand Funds charge redemption fees?

No. Firsthand Funds eliminated redemption fees for its funds on April 30, 2003.If you have invested in Firsthand Funds through a broker, please be aware that some brokers may charge a fee to buy, sell, or exchange shares. Please contact your broker for more information.For more information on exchanges and redemptions, please read our prospectus.

Retirement Accounts

Can I transfer or rollover a distribution from my employer's 401(k) plan into an IRA with Firsthand Funds?

Yes, you may establish a Firsthand IRA account through a 401(k) rollover. The minimum to establish an IRA with Firsthand Funds is $2,000. You can download the IRA form and prospectus from our website or contact Shareholder Services toll free at 1.888.884.2675 to request an IRA kit in the mail. Please read the prospectus carefully before investing.

Can I open a Roth IRA with Firsthand Funds?

Yes, you may open a Roth IRA for a minimum of $2,000. You may download the application, along with a prospectus, from our website or request one by contacting Shareholder Services toll free at 1.888.884.2675. Please read the prospectus carefully before investing.

What are the annual maintenance fees for IRAs and Coverdell Education Savings Accounts?

The annual maintenance fee for IRAs and Coverdell Education Savings Accounts is $20 per account. This fee is per type of account. So, for example, if you have a traditional IRA account with money invested in each of two funds, your annual maintenance fee would be $20. If you have a traditional IRA account and a Roth IRA account, each with investments in one or more funds, your maintenance fee would be $40.

Other Questions

Call Shareholder Services toll-free at 1.888.884.2675. Our associates are available to assist you Monday through Friday, 5:00 A.M. to 5:00 P.M. Pacific Time. Or e-mail them to our webmaster and we may add them to this page.