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Fund Spy: Morningstar Medalist Edition

A Closer Look at a Fund Manager of the Year

Morgan Stanley's growth team rises above the crowds with its flexible process and distinctive culture.

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Morgan Stanley portfolio manager Dennis Lynch and his investment team faced stiff competition on the path to be named Morningstar's Domestic-Stock Fund Manager of the Year for 2013. Growth-oriented strategies have been on a tear over the past few years, with growth indexes largely triumphing over the actively managed crowd. The Russell 1000 Growth Index, for example, gained an annualized 20.4% over the past five years through the end of 2013, beating about three fourths of roughly 400 distinct large-growth strategies. Active managers in the mid- and small-cap range of the growth spectrum have seen similar challenges: The Russell Mid Cap Growth Index trounced more than 85% of funds in the mid-cap growth category, while the Russell 2000 Growth Index pulled ahead of almost 60% of small-growth offerings.

Yet Lynch and his team have demonstrated their mettle--as well as their market-cap dexterity--via  Morgan Stanley Institutional Growth (MSEGX),  Morgan Stanley Focus Growth (AMOAX),  Morgan Stanley Institutional Mid Cap Growth (MACGX), and  Morgan Stanley Institutional Small Company Growth (MSSMX). All four funds handily outpaced their respective indexes in 2013 (click on the video for a deeper dive into the sources of Morgan Stanley Institutional Growth's success in 2013). They also sport impressive long-term results.

Janet Yang, CFA does not own shares in any of the securities mentioned above. Find out about Morningstar’s editorial policies.