Morningstar Announces Alternatives Fund Manager of the Year Nominees

Call it the ‘best new artist’ category

Morningstar announced nomminees for its 2012 alternatives fund manager of the year. (Photo: Ap) Morningstar announced nomminees for its 2012 alternatives fund manager of the year. (Photo: Ap)

In a strategy reminiscent of burlesque, Morningstar continued its slow tease on Tuesday with the announcement of its three nominees for the Morningstar Alternatives Fund Manager of the Year award.

The latest announcement followed the domestic-stock fund category last Thursday, the international-stock fund category on Friday and the fixed-income manager of the year nominees on Monday.

“There are currently 361 alternative mutual funds (as of Dec. 17) across several different categories,” Nadia Papagiannis, director of alternative fund research at Morningstar, writes in announcing the nominees. "Almost 60% of these funds launched post-2008, and the total assets in all 361 alternative funds constitute less than 2% of the entire fund universe."

The 2012 alternatives fund manager of the year nominees are:

  • Michael Aronstein, MainStay Marketfield (MFLDX)-“Unlike most funds in the long-short category, this fund weathered the entire 2007-2009 financial crisis (only 29 of the category’s 83 funds were around prior to 2008),” Papagiannis writes. “From early 2007 through early March 2009, the fund lost 22.8%, relative to the S&P 500’s 50% dive, by shorting financial and emerging-markets stocks early on. Then Aronstein invested in cyclical stocks and shorted long-dated Treasury ETFs in 2009 and 2010, benefiting from the stock market’s recovery.”
  • Team, Calamos Market Neutral Income (CVSIX)-“What drives performance in Calamos Market Neutral Income is the same as what drives performance across Calamos’ suite of convertible-bond funds–a deep research bench and decades of experience,” she writes. 
  • Team, TFS Market Neutral (TFSMX)- Papagiannis notes this fund is currently the only alternative mutual fund receiving a Morningstar Analyst Rating of Gold.“It’s also one of the oldest in the market-neutral category, sporting an eight-year track record. The fund follows a quantitative small-capitalization equity arbitrage strategy, in a $1 long/$0.66 short ratio, looking for mispricing in three broad areas: fundamental data (earnings surprises, for example), 'follow the smart money' (insider buying, for example), and order imbalances (overbought or oversold stocks, for example).”
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