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Nominees for International-Stock Fund Manager of the Year

Familiar, highly deserving names. 

Gregg Wolper, 01/07/2014

In Monday's column, we unveiled the nominees for Morningstar's Domestic-Stock Fund Manager of the Year. Next up are the nominees for International-Stock Fund Manager of the Year.

(The Fixed-Income Fund Manager of the Year nominees will be posted Wednesday, followed by the Allocation and Alternatives categories on Thursday and Friday, respectively. All winners will be announced on Jan. 15.)

As with the awards for the other categories, these nominations reflect more than performance and portfolio decisions in 2013. We also emphasize long-term records. After all, we want to reward managers who not only had topnotch returns in a single year, but who have demonstrated their abilities over time as well. In addition, we consider not just the managers' most prominent fund but others that they run, when applicable. 

There are five nominees for 2013 International-Stock Fund Manager of the Year. All but one of them have won International-Stock Fund Manager of the Year in the past, but none has won since 2008. There's a Manager of the Decade in the mix, too.

In alphabetical order, the nominees are:

Dodge & Cox International Investment Policy Committee*, Dodge & Cox International Stock DODFX 
2013 Return: 26.3%
Morningstar Category Rank (Percentile): 8 
(Note: All but one of the funds listed here are in the foreign large-blend category.)
This nine-person group makes the decisions for Dodge & Cox International Stock, with some managers serving on the committees for other funds at that venerable firm, too. They are highly experienced. And like so many at that shop, once at Dodge & Cox, they tend to stay there: The average tenure on the international-stock fund's committee is 23 years, and the newest arrival has been there 11 years. These managers tend to be patient in their investing, with low turnover rates and a willingness to wait for troubled companies to turn things around.

That paid off in 2013 with two companies in particular. The managers have had to defend their ownership of Hewlett-Packard HPQ and Nokia NOK for years as those companies suffered numerous travails and their stock prices sank. The managers stuck with them and even added to their stakes at lower prices. They (and fund shareholders) were rewarded when both stocks roughly doubled in value last year. Equally noteworthy was the managers' willingness to make South African Internet company Naspers their top holding, with 4% of assets entering 2013. Naspers rose more than 100% in 2013 after a 50% gain in 2012.

This group won Morningstar's International-Stock Fund Manager of the Year for 2004.

Gregg Wolper is an editorial director and senior mutual-fund analyst at Morningstar.

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