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Four Rising Stars of the Mutual Fund World

Some of the best youngish managers around.

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The following article originally appeared in Kiplinger.Trailing return figures have been updated through May 31, 2007.

When I look for undiscovered funds, I'm usually looking for funds with experienced managers who have great track records but who haven't attracted a lot of assets for one reason or another. However, I also like to look for young managers who appear to be rising stars. Funds with promising young managers have the same potential as emerging-growth stocks in that they could provide great returns for a long time (but you don't want to bet your whole nest egg on them). If you're really cautious, simply put them on your watch list.

Young Lions
Cory Gilchrist runs  Marsico 21st Century (MXXIX) in the patented Marsico style, blending top-down themes with bottom-up growth-stock picking. The key difference with this fund is that Gilchrist targets companies of all sizes, whereas founder Tom Marsico's funds focus on big companies. Gilchrist, 36, has been at the helm for four years--four great years, I should add. The fund has outstanding three- and five-year records, thanks to the efforts of Gilchrist and his predecessor, so this fund's $1.8-billion asset base may well be in the $5-billion range before you know it--his kind of numbers will draw a crowd. You may want to get there first. The fund returned an annualized 19.7% for the three years to May 31, versus 13.0% for Standard & Poor's 500-stock index.

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Russel Kinnel does not own shares in any of the securities mentioned above. Find out about Morningstar’s editorial policies.