March 24, 2011

Lipper Fund Awards 2011 Go to MFS and Delaware as Best Overall Winners

Delaware Management Co. sweeps best small group awards; T. Rowe Price a target-date winner

Lipper Fund Awards 2011 were announced for U.S. fund winners at a ceremony in New York on Thursday, with MFS Investment Management winning as best overall large group and Delaware Management Co. winning as best overall small group.

In fact, Delaware swept all three of Lipper’s three-year small group fund awards, winning not only the best overall prize, but also the small fixed income and the small mixed asset prizes.

Other top three-year group winners were: PIMCO for large equity; Hotchkis & Wiley Capital Management for small equity; Loomis, Sayles & Co. for large fixed income; and Janus Capital Management for large mixed asset.

In addition, a first-time award for excellence in fund management recognizing consistently strong risk-adjusted returns for at least five years went to Clyde McGregor, co-manager, Oakmark Global and Oakmark Equity & Income funds.

Another big winner at the Lipper awards ceremony was T. Rowe Price, which dominated the mixed-asset categories with its win of nine out of a total of 14 target-date fund awards.

Lipper, a Thomson Reuters company, announced a total of 286 winners. Thirty-seven trophies went to winners for three-year performance in the largest categories, and 249 certificates went to other funds  for superior consistent returns in the three, five and 10 years ended Dec. 31, 2010.

“Lipper has hosted this event for over 10 years. In that relatively short time we’ve seen a number of new strategies come to market; this is not a field known for sitting on its hands,” said Jeff Tjornehoj, head of Lipper Americas Research, in a statement. “As new products and markets open up to link buyer with seller and creditor with debtor, so, too, have mutual funds evolved.”

In 1975, Lipper’s classification system extended to five categories, only one of which was devoted to bond funds, and now Lipper monitors more than 147 categories, Tjornehoj said.

Not considered for awards were exchange traded funds (ETFs), Standard & Poor’s 500 Index funds, money market funds, ultra-short obligation funds and mutual funds in about 20 equity, bond and mixed-asset categories that did not have the minimum of 10 funds with at least one share class. Lipper began identifying winners starting with about 15,929 prospective funds and funds’ share classes out of a universe of 21,186.

Best overall winner MFS ranked first out of 46 fund firms in the United States. The award was based on the firm's consistently strong risk-adjusted performance across asset classes for the three-year period from Jan. 1, 2008, through Dec. 31, 2010. In addition, six MFS funds were also individually recognized for top risk-adjusted performance within their peer categories, according to Lipper's Consistent Return metric.

 “We're proud to receive this award, which recognizes MFS' disciplined approach to managing clients' assets over a historically tumultuous period for the global economy,” said Robert Manning, chairman and chief executive officer of MFS, in a statement. “As we mark our 87th anniversary this week, we look back over history to see that MFS has persevered and thrived through business cycles, volatile markets, and recessions, including 2008's financial crisis."

Both MFS and mixed-asset large group winner Janus Capital Group have climbed back from crises over the past decade to win back investor confidence with improved performance and reduced risk taking, according to a Reuters news story on Thursday.

In winning the overall small company award, Delaware Investments, a member of Macquarie Group, was recognized as the best among 172 mutual fund companies in the small firm group category.

“Delaware Investments has been managing money since the 1930s. One of our core tenets is to provide consistent, long-term investment results for our clients,” said Patrick Coyne, president of Delaware Investments, in a statement. “Winning one company-level and two asset class awards in a time frame that, from an overall industry perspective, comprised the worst and best investment results in recent memory, is both gratifying and validating.”

Read about Lipper’s 2010 best fund awards to T. Rowe Price and RidgeWorth at AdvisorOne.com.

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