Hands in air with trophy. Image: Shutterstock) (Image: Shutterstock)

Morningstar has announced the nominees for its 2020 Awards for Investing Excellence, which recognizes established and up-and-coming portfolio managers for stellar performance as well as the asset management firm that excels in its stewardship of investors’ money. T. Rowe Price was the only firm that was nominated in all three categories. Fidelity had two nominations.

The winners will be announced on June 22, ahead of Morningstar’s virtual annual conference which will be held in September.

Outstanding Portfolio Manager Nominees 

Managers of five funds were nominated — two stock funds, two bond funds and one target date fund which invests in multiple asset categories. Their average tenure at these funds: 19 years.

Their strategies have earned a Morningstar analyst rating of silver or gold for at least one share class or investment vehicle. All five funds have far outpaced their peers, often placing in the top decile of performance under the leadership of the nominees.

“Our Outstanding Portfolio Manager nominees have distinguished themselves by staying true to their process, building strong research teams, and delivering impressive long-term returns to investors,” said Sarah Bush, Morningstar’s director of manager research, North America, in a statement. The nominees are:

  • Charles (“Chuck”) Akre, Akre Focus Fund (AKRIX)
  • Joel Tillinghast, Fidelity Low-Priced Stock Fund (FLPSX) 
  • Tad Rivelle, Laird Landmann, Steve Kane and Bryan Whalen, TCW’s Metropolitan West Total Return Bond Fund (MWTIX)
  • Mary Ellen Stanek, Baird Core Plus Bond Fund (BCOIX) and Baird Aggregate Bond Fund (BAGIX)
  • Jerome Clark, T. Rowe Price Retirement Series

Rising Talent Nominees

The four nominees in this category have less than seven years of experience managing fund portfolios but nonetheless have delivered exceptional returns during their tenures.

Nominees in this category must run an investment strategy that has a Morningstar analyst rating of bronze or higher or has been featured in Morningstar Prospects, a publication that highlights strategies under consideration for full analyst coverage. 

These nominees include one manager for a stock fund, two for fixed income funds and one for a  target-date series that uses a multi-asset strategy. The four nominees are: 

  • John Dance, Fidelity Emerging Markets Fund (FEMKX)
  • John McClain, manager of Diamond Hill High Yield Fund (DHHIX) and Diamond Hill Corporate Credit Fund (DSIYX)
  • Mohit Mittal, manager of Pimco Investment Grade Credit Fund (PIGIX) and Pimco Total Return Fund (PTTRX)
  • Wyatt Lee, T. Rowe Price Retirement Series. He will succeed Jerome Clark, who will be moving to a new role in the firm.

Exemplary Stewardship Nominees

Unlike the other two awards, this one is for an institution — an asset manager — not an individual or team. It was introduced only a year ago to honor firms that Morningstar analysts rate as having the “highest conviction” in their stewardship of investor capital, putting investors’ interest above their own.

Vanguard won last year, and although Morningstar says it continues “to applaud Vanguard’s laudable efforts,” the firm was not considered for this year’s award.

All three nominees this year have been around since the 1930s and one — Capital Group — boasts a founder who was involved in drafting the Investment Company Act of 1940. They have “carefully nourished an ‘investors-first’ culture that shows in strong results for shareholders,” Bush said in her statement. The three nominees are:

  • Capital Group (American Funds)
  • Dodge & Cox
  • T. Rowe Price

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