Morningstar Inc., the Chicago investment tracker, named its five Managers of the Year Wednesday, with Vanguard taking two of the slots. The winners not only fared well in 2015, but have provided consistently good returns over time.
And the winners are:
Domestic stock fund manager of the year: Keith A. Lee, Robert E. Hall, Kempton M. Ingersol, Damien Davis and Andrew J. Fones, Brown Capital Management Small Company (BCSIX).
The fund gained 8.8% in a year when the average small-cap growth fund fell 2.4%. And that's just adding one good year onto several others: The fund has placed in the top 25% of all small-cap growth funds in eight of the past 10 years. Mr. Lee and Mr. Hall have run the $2.4 billion fund since 1992, while Mr. Ingersol joined in 2000.
International stock fund manager of the year: Robert Lovelace and team, American Funds New Perspective (ANWPX).
The world stock fund has seven managers, each of whom run a part of the portfolio independently. The $54.7 billion fund gained 5.3% last year, versus a 1.69% loss for the average world stock fund. The fund's 10-year record has beaten 96% of its peers.
Fixed-income fund manager of the year: Jerome Schneider, Pimco Short-Term (PTSHX).
Pimco still has some mojo, Morningstar says: The $13.7 billion ultrashort bond fund gained 1.37%, putting it in the top 1% of its category, which gained an average 0.15% last year. “Schneider and his team also deserve some credit for helping navigate Pimco's flagship fund through a multiyear period of sizable outflows, which was no small task given the magnitude of redemptions the firm saw in late 2014 and throughout 2015,” analyst Sumit Desai writes.
Allocation fund manager of the year: Michael Reckmeyer and John Keogh, Vanguard Wellesley Income (VWINX).
The $40.8 billion fund squeezed out a 1.3% gain in 2015, versus an average 2.31% loss for conservative allocation funds. Its overall stability gained Morningstar's attention: The fund ranks first in risk-adjusted returns since Mr. Reckmeyer and Mr. Keogh began in July 2008.
Alternatives fund manager of the year: James Troyer, Michael Roach and James Stetler, Vanguard Market Neutral (VMNIX).
The $715.5 million fund gained its category's top place by producing “what investors want from alternative strategies: very low correlation, solid returns when equity markets go south, and, on top of that, the lowest fees of any alternatives fund,” writes Morningstar analyst Josh Charlson. The fund gained 5.52% in the market-neutral category, which averaged a disappointing 0.25% loss last year.