December 17, 2012

Morningstar Announces Fixed-Income Manager of the Year Nominees

It isn’t sexy, but fixed-income is all the rage in a world in search of yield

Morningstar announced nomminees for its 2012 fixed-income fund awards. (Photo: Ap) Morningstar announced nomminees for its 2012 fixed-income fund awards. (Photo: Ap)

Morningstar continued to roll out the nominees for its 2012 Managers of the Year on Monday with the release of its fixed-income award hopefuls.

The latest announcement followed the domestic-stock fund category last Thursday and the international-stock fund category on Friday.

“In 2012, the bond-market spoils generally have gone to managers who were willing to take risk, particularly credit and non-dollar risk,” wrote Miriam Sjoblom, an associate director of fund analysis at Morningstar, when announcing the names. “High-yield and emerging-market bond benchmarks have returned between 13% and 18% so far this year, for instance. Meanwhile, a host of currencies in Asia, Latin America, and Eastern Europe appreciated against the greenback.”

Whoever comes out on top when the winner is announced in January, they’ll be in good company, as industry notables like Bill Gross and Jeff Gundlach have previously accepted the award.

The 2012 nominees are:

  • Steve Smith, David Hoffman, Brian Hess, and Jack McIntyre, Legg Mason Brandywine Global Opportunities Bond (GOBIX)–The team has delivered several outstanding years in a row, Sjoblom writes. In 2011, in particular “the managers' concern about the impact of high oil prices on the developed world’s consumers led them to take some defensive steps, such as adding exposure to long U.S. Treasuries.”
  • Peter Palfrey and Rick Raczkowski, Loomis Sayles Core Plus Bond (NEFRX)–Peter Palfrey and Rick Raczkowski “have quietly assembled an excellent long-term record here over the years,” Sjoblom notes. “While they don't court as much controversy in the fund's corporate stake as their fund's better-known sibling, they do pull more levers than the typical intermediate-term bond fund, often holding sizable stakes in junk corporate and non-dollar bonds.”
  • Tad Rivelle, Stephen Kane, and Laird Landmann, Metropolitan West Total Return Bond (MWTRX)–“TCW/MetWest's fixed-Income CIO Tad Rivelle and crew won the Fixed-Income Fund Manager of the Year Award in 2005 and have been nominated multiple times in the past, including for Fund Manager of the Decade in 2009. The managers have delivered another excellent showing in 2012, in part due to their ability to keep cool heads amid a challenging 2011”
  • Mark Kiesel, PIMCO Investment Grade Corporate Bond (PIGIX)–“Mark Kiesel's success at this corporate-bond-focused fund poses a challenge to those who'd claim that top-down macro maneuvers are the be-all and end-all at PIMCO,” she notes of the bond fund giant. “The investment committee's outlook certainly plays a critical role in shaping the portfolio, but Kiesel's work in recent years has showcased the firm's bottom-up research as well.”
  • Mark Egan, Tom Fink, Todd Thompson, and Steve Vincent, Scout Core Plus Bond (SCPZX)–The $500 million Scout Core Plus Bond fund has yet to attract much attention, but that hasn't stopped firm CIO Mark Egan and crew from delivering excellent long-term returns here. 
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