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The Best New Mutual Funds of 2009

Seven intriguing new funds to add to your watch list.

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Most of the funds launched this year are forgettable "me too" funds, but a handful are worthy of your attention. It's easy to lose track of them amid all the dross, so here then are my picks for the best new funds of 2009. You might want to put them on your watch list.

In compiling the list I looked for good managers who have proven track records at other funds. You can ignore the untested managers for now and come back in a few years, but these are funds that you might find intriguing, if not compelling, right away. One thing to be wary of with new funds, though, is that some come with high expense ratios because assets are low. I've never quite understood why the lack of other shareholders should penalize fundholders, but that's how it usually works. In some cases, you may want to wait for expenses to come down before you buy. I've grouped the funds into no-load and load.

Akre Focus (AKREX)
Manager Chuck Akre split apart from  FBR Focus (FBRVX) to start his own fund. Three of his top analysts stayed behind to run the FBR fund after he left. However, Akre's brilliant record at FBR Focus inspires confidence at his new charge. Akre looks for companies with sustainable returns on equity of 20% or greater, and he keeps the portfolio concentrated in around 40 names. So far the fund has had a very stable net asset value, so it would appear that Akre is holding a ton of cash and only gradually buying stocks.

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