Recognizing some of the greatest stock fund managers of all time.
At Morningstar, we focus most of our efforts on figuring out which funds have the best prospects for the next 10 years or longer. After all, what everyone wants is funds that will outperform and get them to their goals. Today, I aim to go in a different direction in order to recognize some of the very best domestic-stock fund managers who have served investors well over the years. We're not recommending all of their funds, because they may be too bloated, their expenses too high, or there could be some other reason. In short, below are 10 of the best managers. I wrote 10 of the best rather than the 10 best because there are other great managers I just couldn't fit in, and, after all, this is just my opinion--each of my colleagues would come up with a slightly different list.
I looked for managers who produced an outstanding return and employed a creative, original strategy in a way that would benefit a lot of investors by avoiding extreme volatility and producing strong returns even after assets swelled.
Beyond those subjective rules I also required that the manager must still be running a fund, must have at least 10 years' tenure at that fund, must run a domestic-stock fund from one of our nine Morningstar Style Box categories, and must be a solo manager or part of a small team, so that I can safely assume he was a big part of the fund's success. The team rule means good managers from big team efforts like Dodge & Cox, some Vanguard funds, and American didn't qualify. To make the final cut, I favored managers with longer track records.
Finally, note that I'm not trying to rank my 10 managers. It's tough enough to cut the list to 10 without pretending that I can really separate number five from number six. So, lest anyone infer a ranking from the order below, I put them in alphabetical order by ticker.
There's no doubting that Will Danoff was schooled in the ways of Fidelity legend Peter Lynch. AtFidelity Contrafund
Joel Tillinghast is also a flexible investor, but he has a small-cap value bent at Fidelity Low-Priced Stock
Over the past 15 years, no small-value manager has bested Bob Rodriguez's 17% annualized return at FPA Capital
His name isn't as famous as some, but you better believe investors have found him. Pannell's outstanding eclectic style has produced huge returns and made Hartford Capital Appreciation