October 7, 2010

Top Funds That Really Stay the Course

If you want steady, these managers are Eddies

Sure, anyone can say they have a disciplined buy/sell and due diligence process, but how many times have we seen desperate managers attempt to find alpha in Mob-owned Russian auto manufacturers once the market goes south?

High turnover, style drift, risky bets; we know the behavior that can doom a fund’s performance. While identifying the worst practitioners (before damage is done) is a challenge, SmartMoney’sElizabeth Trotta clues us in on a few managers that have proven themselves—and their discipline—in good markets and bad.

No. 1:  Metropolitan West Total Return Bond M

With $11 billion in assets, manager Stephen Kane boasts 11.37% year-to-date, 15.58% for the one-year and 7.80% for the five-year. With an expense ratio of 65 basis points, he proves cheaper can still be better.

No. 2:  Gabelli Small Cap Growth AAA

This first of two appearances for Gabelli has assets of $1.5 billion, 11.24% return year-to-date, 13.59% for the one-year and 5.63% for the five-year. The expense ratio is more than double Met West at 1.48%, but with significantly fewer assets in the fund, your accountant will most likely thank you come tax time.

No. 3: Gabelli Asset AAA

See above. It has higher assets at $2.1 billion, but lower performance at 9.55% and 4.38% for the YTD and five-year returns, respectively. The expense ratio rings in at 1.40%.

No. 4: James Balanced: Golden Rainbow R

For those of you who believe in serendipity, you should know these guys are located in Alpha, Ohio. The fund has $716 million in assets, has an 8.47% return this year so far, and has 10.15% and 5.47% for the one- and five-years. The expense ratio is 1.19%.

No. 5: Mairs & Power Balanced Inv

Bill Frels has managed the fund since 1992, and he appears to know what he’s doing. With only $155 million in assets, he has 7.69% of return YTD, with a one-year at 11.46% and a five-year at 4.40%. All this with only a 0.83% expense ratio.

No. 6: Tweedy Browne Global Value

What can we say? We love the name, and would invest for that reason alone. Of course, they’ve got 6.37% YTD, 15.21% one-year and 3.94% five-year to throw in for good measure. Assets are $4.4 billion with an expense ratio of 1.40%.

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