• Funds with the word "plus" in their name don't do much better, either, according to Morningstar.
  • "I think alpha and plus are mainly marketing names. They are more aspirational than factual," said Russel Kinnel, director of manager research at Morningstar.

It turns out many so-called alpha funds actually lack it.

The average five-year alpha for funds with the word "alpha" in their name is a negative 0.42 percent, according to Morningstar.