America’s Top Mutual Fund Managers

Smart Money magazine lists the best managers in each of four major categories

Smart Moneyreleased its top picks for money managers in the mutual fund space. Some surprises made the list (ING Global Real Estate); some not (Bruce Berkowitz). One (Brent Lynn) was listed as Morningstar’s Top Domestic Equity Manager, not a bad run. Here is the list in full:

Foreign Stock Funds

Winner

Thornburg International Value ( TGVAX)
Managers: William Fries, Wendy Trevisani and Lei Wang
Assets: $24 billion
Expenses: $133 per $10,000 invested
5-Year Average Annual Return: 6.4%

Runner-Up

Janus Overseas ( JNOSX)
Manager : Brent Lynn
Assets : $13.7 billion
Expenses : $87 per $10,000 invested
5-Year Average Annual Return : 13.8%
Comment : The longtime fund manager isn't afraid of stocks from emerging markets, and that can lead to volatility. But like Thornburg International, the fund boasts a strong 10-year average annual return of around 8 percent.

Runner-Up

Masters' Select International ( MSILX)
Managers: David Herro, Ted Tyson, William Fries, Jim Gendelman, Amit Wadhwaney and others
Assets: $1.5 billion
Expenses: $115 per $10,000 invested
5-Year Average Annual Return: 5.0%
Comment: A taster's choice sampler with the portfolio divided between several star fund managers, including our foreign-stock-fund winner.

U.S. Large Cap Funds

Co-Winner

Fairholme fund ( FAIRX)
Manager: Bruce Berkowitz
Assets: $17.0 billion
Expenses: $100 per $10,000 invested
5-Year Average Annual Return: 8.2%

Co-Winner

Yacktman fund ( YACKX)
Managers: Don and Stephen Yacktman
Assets: $3.1 billion
Expenses: $93 per $10,000 invested
5-Year Average Annual Return: 8.9%
Comment: A father-and-son team runs this large-cap fund, focusing on battered stocks with solid long-term business prospects.

Runner-Up

Nuveen Tradewinds Value Opportunities ( NVOAX)
Manager: David Iben
Assets: $2.5 billion
Expenses: $143 per $10,000 invested
5-Year Average Annual Return: 11.7%
Comment: This six-year-old fund has relatively high fees and a shorter track record than most of our picks. But double-digit average annual returns make it worth a look.

Global Real Estate

Winner

Prudential Global Real Estate (PURAX)
Manager: Marc Halle
Assets: $475 million
Expenses: $137 per $10,000 invested
5-Year Average Annual Return: 2.2%

Runner-Up

Cohen & Steers Int'l Realty ( IRFAX )
Managers: Martin Cohen and Robert Steers
Assets: $1.4 billion
Expenses: $166 per $10,000 invested
5-Year Average Annual Return: 2.3%
Comment: The fund has had strong returns over its first five years, though the fees are on the high end. Top holdings include Hong Kong property developer Wharf and Australian developer Stockland.

Runner-Up

ING Global Real Estate ( IGLAX )
Managers: T. Ritson Ferguson, Steven D. Burton and Joseph P. Smith
Assets: $2.9 billion
Expenses: $149 per $10,000 invested
5-Year Average Annual Return: 3.0%
Comment: The fund is divided between real estate stocks in the U.S. and abroad, and is managed by an affiliate of ING's Real Estate Group, one of the world's largest real estate firms.

U.S. Small-Cap Funds

Winner

Royce Low-Priced Stock ( RYLPX )
Manager: Whitney George
Assets: $4.2 billion
Expenses: $149 per $10,000 invested
5-Year Average Annual Return: 8.4%

Runner-Up

Heartland Value Plus ( HRVIX )
Managers: Brad Evans and Adam Peck
Assets: $1.3 billion
Expenses: $121 per $10,000 invested
5-Year Average Annual Return: 8.2%
Comment: This Milwaukee-based fund focuses on dividend-paying firms with strong balance sheets. Top holdings include financial and health care companies such as Omnicare ( OCR: 25.48*, +0.54, +2.16%), which distributes drugs to nursing homes.

Runner-Up

Gamco Westwood Mighty Mites AAA ( WEMMX )
Manager: Mario Gabelli
Assets: $446 million
Expenses: $155 per $10,000 invested
5-Year Average Annual Return: 8.5%
Comment: This veteran fund manager focuses on companies with market value of no more than $300 million that he thinks are undervalued. Recently, the fund emphasized electronics and health care firms.

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