Top 5 Fund Managers for 2013: Morningstar

PIMCO and Morgan Stanley are among group given top honors for their strong performance last year

Morningstar (MORN) has named the five 2013 U.S. Fund Manager of the Year award winners. Winners include portfolio managers with Morgan Stanley (MS), Artisan, PIMCO, FPA and AQR.

In the domestic stock fund category, the award went to Dennis Lynch and the 18-member U.S. growth team for four funds: Morgan Stanley Focus Growth (AMOAX), Morgan Stanley Institutional Growth (MSEQX), Morgan Stanley Institutional Mid Cap Growth (MPEGX) and Morgan Stanley Institutional Small Company Growth (MSSGX). These four funds each posted returns of more than 35% last year.

“The team operates in areas of the market that have seen the strongest runs [in 2013],” said Scott Burns, Morningstar’s director of global fund research, in a press release. “The degree of outperformance as well as patience with long-held and often controversial holdings, including Facebook and Groupon, make the team deserving of the 2013 award for the successful execution of the funds’ strategy.”

The international stock fund manager of the year award was given to David Samra and Daniel O'Keefe, who manage Artisan International Value (ARTKX) and Artisan Global Value (ARTGX). These funds returned 30.5% and 30.0% respectively in 2013. “The concentrated portfolios hover around 40 to 50 stocks each, and Samra and O’Keefe follow a disciplined strategy favoring financially sturdy firms trading at significant discounts to their estimate of value,” Burns said.

In fixed income, the 2013 award went to Daniel J. Ivascyn and Alfred T. Murata of PIMCO Income (PIMIX), which gained 4.8% last year, boosted by its core stake in nonagency mortgage-backed securities and smaller stakes in investment-grade and high-yield corporate securities, according to the research group.

“Ivascyn and Murata led the fund to a strong showing in 2013, and it proved resilient in the bear markets of 2008 and 2011 as well as during the summer sell-off of 2013," Burns said. "The team has also produced sizable yields and over-earned the fund’s set dividends without returning capital to shareholders.”

In the allocation fund category, Steven Romick, Mark Landecker and Brian Selmo got top honors for their management of FPA Crescent (FPACX). This fund ticked up 22% in 2013.

“Romick has led the fund since inception more than 20 years ago. Since 1993, the fund has turned a $10,000 investment into more than $89,000, and the fund’s 11.0% annualized gain from inception through December 2013 beats the category by more than 4 percentage points,” Burns said.

Plus, each of the managers have more than $1 million invested in their portfolio and the majority of their investable assets in FPA strategies, Morningstar reports.

The winners of the alternatives fund manager group were Brian Hurst, Yao Hua Ooi and the team running the AQR Managed Futures Strategy I (AQMIX). This fund ticked up 9.4% in 2013, while the overall category lost 1% on average.

“The fund takes a diversified approach to managed futures, offering exposure to equities, bonds, currencies and commodities, along with diversification among its time-horizon bets, which has strongly contributed to the fund’s performance in recent years,” explained Burns.

Morningstar has been bestowing the yearly honors since 1988.

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Check out Top 22 Fund Managers for 2013: Morningstar on ThinkAdvisor.

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