Morningstar Names Top Managers for 2003
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Monday, January 05, 2004

Morningstar Names Top Managers for 2003

Morningstar has announced its fund managers of the year for 2003.

"2003 will be remembered as a great year for fund performance and a terrible year for fund leadership," said Russel Kinnel, director of fund research for Morningstar. "While the market rebounded in 2003, these gains were overshadowed by lapses in judgment and fiduciary responsibility by several fund companies."

"Our annual fund manager of the year award has long recognized quality of management and the importance of putting shareholders first. his year's winners have done an outstanding job for shareholders in a time when it's more important than ever to invest with a company that can be trusted," he added.

The winners in each of the three categories were:

  • Domestic-Stock Fund Manager of the Year: Howard Schow, Theo Kolokotrones, and Joel Fried managers of the Vanguard Primecap (VPMCX) and Vanguard Capital Opportunity (VHCOX) funds. Kinnel pointed to the managers' long tenure speaks and consistent contrarian stock picking style. Schow has been manager of Vanguard Primecap since 1984, Kolokotrones since 1985, and Fried since 1994.

    "We chose Schow, Kolokotrones, and Fried over a number of strong candidates because they represent everything you'd look for in a manager. They apply a rigorous fundamental approach that takes them on a slightly different path from other managers. This team has a knack for finding great out-of-favor stocks," Kinnel said.

  • International-Stock Fund Manager of the Year: Bill Fries manager of the Thornburg International Value (TGVAX).

    "Remarkably, Thornburg International Value fund performed well in every market environment it has faced since it was launched in 1998," Kinnel said of the manager who follows a concentrated investment strategy. "In every calendar year, the fund has landed in the top 10 percent of its category. We also like Thornburg's openness with shareholders. After purchasing a stock, Thornburg shares the transaction on its Web site along with a short summary of the business."

  • Fixed-Income Fund Manager of the Year: The team managing Fidelity's Municipal Bond fund led by led by Dwight Churchill and Charles Morrison and the Fidelity Spartan Municipal Income (FHIGX) led by Christine Thompson. According to Kinnel, Fidelity has "quietly transformed itself into one of the best municipal bond fund shops in the industry" offering "low costs and very dependable funds."

    "Fidelity has done an excellent job of bringing a disciplined, institutional approach to municipal bonds," he said. "The municipal bond fund managers keep a tight rein on risk while boosting returns through comprehensive quantitative analysis."

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