TIAA-CREF and Delaware Management Co. took home the top awards at this year's annual Lipper Fund Awards.
But the night's biggest surprises belonged to OppenheimerFunds Inc. and Pacific Investment Management Co. LLC.
TIAA-CREF won the overall large company award, topping last year's winner, Nuveen Investments. Delaware Management won the overall small company award for the second time in three years.
(To see the list of fund family winners, click HERE.)
OppenheimerFunds won the large company award for fixed income, completing its turnaround from the disastrous Oppenheimer Core Bond Fund (OPIGX) fiasco of 2008. The fund was the subject of several lawsuits after it plunged 40% more than its index during the financial crisis.
The fund's new management team has led it to top-10th-percentile returns over the past three years. That outperformance, combined with the strength of Oppenheimer's municipal bond funds, was responsible for its success.
Pimco, best known for its fixed-income funds, grabbed the large company award for its equity funds, thanks to the strength of its souped-up index funds.
The $1 billion Pimco StockPlus Total Return Fund (PSTKX), which uses a combination of S&P 500 futures and short-term bonds, won the large-cap-growth category. Its three-year annualized returns of 15% outpaced the S&P 500 by more than 400 basis points.
The fund's half-dozen siblings, including the $1.7 billion Pimco Fundamental IndexPLUS Total Return Fund (PXTIX), all trumped the benchmark S&P 500.
Much has been made of Pimco's foray into actively managed equity funds, which began in 2010 with the Pimco Eqs Pathfinder Fund (PTHWX), but those funds have yet to reach three-year anniversaries and weren't included.
The Lipper awards are based on a fund family's three-year performance overall and in individual asset classes. The methodology is weighted toward the best risk-adjusted returns, so that funds that gave investor the smoothest ride, not just the biggest returns, are the winners.
(To view the full list of Lipper fund category winners, click HERE.)