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Who Is the Top Portfolio Manager? Morningstar to Name Choice at Conference

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During the Morningstar Investment Conference being held May 8-10 at McCormick Place in Chicago, in addition to an array of top-seeded speakers such as Franklin Templeton’s Sonal Desai, AQR’s Cliff Asness, author and historian Doris Kearns Goodwin and Pimco’s Emmanuel Roman, Morningstar also is announcing the winner of its Outstanding Portfolio Manager  award on May 9.

The finalists for the award are seasoned pros who have delivered “exceptional long-term investment results,” according to the Morningstar announcement. In addition, they have “demonstrated clear investment skill, alignment of interests with investors, and the courage to differ from consensus. “

Nominees’ investment strategies have earned a Morningstar Analyst Rating of silver or gold, and the managers have navigated through various market cycles and have remained the best in their respective asset classes. Morningstar also expects them to have “invested meaningfully alongside investors in their respective strategies.”

The finalists are:

1. Brian Berghuis, T. Rowe Price, Tenure: 27 Years

Berghuis, portfolio manager of the T. Rowe Price Mid-Cap Growth’s (RPMGX) fund, has “employed a consistent risk-conscious approach,” according to Morningstar. In fact “his level-headedness and patience have helped avoid major performance pitfalls, with the fund losing just 78% as much as the Russell Mid-Cap Growth Index in downturns on his watch,” states Morningstar’s report. Further, the fund has beaten the benchmark 82% of the rolling three-years periods under Berghuis’ watch.

2. Jerome Clark, T. Rowe Price Target-Date Retirement Series, Tenure: 17 Years

Clark is a “pioneer” in the target-date space, starting the first one in 2002 at T. Rowe Price, according to Morningstar. The fund’s approach has remained consistent since its start, and “has delivered solid long-term results,” report states.

The series has “stood out from the crowd since the start with a more aggressive equity glide path than most peers.” As the team believes a savings shortfall is the biggest risk retirees face, its high equity weighting “combats that risk.”

3. Dan Fuss, Loomis Sayles, Tenure: 28 Years

Another pioneer, Fuss was first in the benchmark-agnostic, multisector approach to fixed income that defined its flagship Loomis Sayles Bond (LSBRX) since 1991, Morningstar states. He has demonstrated a “value-driven, often contrarian, and aggressive strategy that’s continues to an impressive long-term record for the fund and its siblings,” according to Morningstar.

4. Mary Ellen Stanek, Baird Asset Management, Tenure: 20 Years

Over her 35 year career, Stanek “has been a staunch advocate for low fees, circumspect capacity management and incentives to encourage analysts’ career development,” states Morningstar.

Her team has a disciplined process of security selection and sector rotation and only invests in areas where it “believes it can construct thorough investment ideas, which has led it to avoid some thornier sectors of the bond market used by some competitors,” states Morningstar.

5. Joel Tillinghast, Fidelity, Tenure: 30 Years

This “legendary” manager, states Morningstar, has “posted tremendous long-term results despite the strategy’s huge asset base” with the Fidelity Low-Prices Stock (FLPSX).

He has a low-turnover, value-oriented approach that looks for stocks globally that trade below $35 per share. “An eclectic portfolio reinforces the strategy’s place as a standout,” states Morningstar.

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