In early March, Standard & Poors and BusinessWeek, both units of The McGraw-Hill Companies, and Lipper, a Reuters company, announced the winners of their respective mutual fund awards. This is the second year of existence for both programs, and between the two, a total of 119 different funds were recognized.
The Standard & Poors/BusinessWeek Excellence in Fund Management Awards recognize outstanding fund managers who not only consistently outperform their peers, but have embraced transparency in their management and trading practices as well. According to the sponsor, these awards were developed to provide investors with a longer-term perspective on mutual funds. Rather than strictly looking at the numbers, the selection criteria incorporates a number of qualitative factors such as the experience of the management team, adherence to stated objectives, and ability to keep expenses low. Of the almost 16,000 funds tracked in the S&P database, nine mutual fund managers or management teams were identified as being "Best in Class" for demonstrating "exceptional levels of leadership, embracing transparency in their management, and consistently outperforming their peers" over the last five years. The nine winners are:
John Calamos and Nick Calamos, Calamos Growth & Income Fund (in the specialty bond category)
Daniel Boone III, Calvert Social Investment Fund: Equity/A (large-cap blend);
William Fries, Thornburg Value Fund/A (large-cap blend);
Bill Miller and Nancy Dennin, Legg Mason Value Trust Fund (large-cap blend);
the team at Growth Fund of America (large-cap growth)
Philip Barach, Jeffrey Gundlach, and Frederick Horton, TCW Galileo Total Return Bond Fund (fixed-income mortgage asset-backed)
the team at Dodge & Cox Balanced Fund (large-cap balanced)
Daniel Fuss, Managers Bond Fund (general intermediate bond)
and Rudolph-Riad Younes, Julius Baer International Equity Fund (foreign equity).
Four of the funds recognized--Calamos Growth & Income Fund, Growth Fund of America, Legg Mason Value Trust Fund, and Julius Baer International Equity Fund-- were also honored in last year's inaugural awards.
Also celebrating its second anniversary in the U.S. are the Lipper Fund Awards, which are solely based on fund performance.
Four crystal trophies were presented to mutual fund families that in Lipper's estimation have consistently delivered solid performance compared to their peers. The chief honorees were: American Funds (best overall group); Undiscovered Managers LLC (best equity group); Vanguard Group (best mixed equity group); and USAA (best bond group).
Trophies were also awarded to funds in the 35 largest Lipper classifications for consistent returns that topped their respective classes. An additional 71 award certificates were presented to funds that topped smaller classifications according to the same criteria used for the trophy winners.
The Lipper awards are based on a consistent return score for each fund for the overall time period as of December 31, 2003. These scores are calculated based on risk-adjusted return and the strength of the fund's performance trend. The fund family awards are determined by averaging the consistent return scores for all of the firms' funds within the asset class; the eligible family with the highest average score received the award. To be eligible, the family must have had five fund portfolios in the asset class and to be eligible for the overall award, a fund family must have three funds with consistent return score in each asset class. (A full list of all 110 Lipper fund award winners can be found at: www.lipperweb.com/usa/press/2004/fundawards2004.shtml; further information on the S&P/Business Week awards can be found at www.businessweek.com and www.managerawards.standardandpoors.com)