October 04, 2010 at 09:46 AM EDT
Standard & Poor's Announces Finalists in US Mutual Fund Excellence Awards Program
From a starting point of 19,000 mutual funds, 29 finalists have been selected; 17 fund families represented across ten categories

NEW YORK, Oct. 4 /PRNewswire/ -- Standard & Poor's today announced the 29 finalists in its US Mutual Fund Excellence Awards Program.  The funds were selected as having most consistently achieved the highest overall quantitative ranking in their category using S&P's proprietary, holdings-based research during the year ended August 31, 2010.

The finalists are:

Award Category

Finalists (listed alphabetically)

Domestic Equity Large Cap

  • Becker Value Equity Fund (BVEFX)
  • Dreyfus Appreciation Fund (DGAGX)
  • Jenson Portfolio; J (JENSX)

Global Equity

  • American Century Global Growth Fund; Investor (TWGGX)
  • Oakmark Global Fund; I (OAKGX)
  • Tweedy Browne Value Fund (TWEBX)

Blended Individual Securities

  • Mairs & Power Balanced Fund (MAPOX)
  • Vanguard Balanced Index Fund; Investor (VBINX)
  • Vanguard Tax-Managed Balanced Fund; Investor (VTMFX)

International Equity

  • Dodge & Cox International Stock Fund (DODFX)
  • Oakmark International Fund; I (OAKIX)
  • Scout International Fund (UMBWX)

Taxable Fixed Income

  • American Century Government Bond Fund; Investor (CPTNX)
  • T. Rowe Price New Income Fund (PRCIX)

Domestic Equity Small Cap

  • Janus Triton Fund; T (JATTX)
  • T. Rowe Price Diversified Small-Cap Growth Fund (PRDSX)
  • T. Rowe Price Small-Cap Stock Fund (OTCFX)

New and Notable

  • Dodge & Cox Global Fund (DODWX)
  • Northern Global Sustainability Index Fund (NSRIX)
  • T. Rowe Price US Large-Cap Core (TRULX)

Domestic Equity Mid Cap

  • Fidelity Low-Priced Stock Fund (FLPSX)
  • Meridian Growth Fund (MERDX)
  • Vanguard Selected Value Fund; Investor (VASVX)

Domestic Equity Multi Cap

  • Auxier Focus Fund; Investor (AUXFX)
  • Mairs & Power Growth Fund (MPGFX)
  • Nicholas Fund (NICSX)

Blended Funds of Funds

  • T. Rowe Price Retirement Income Fund (TRRIX)
  • Vanguard LifeStrategy Conservative Growth Fund; Investor (VSCGX)
  • Vanguard STAR Fund; Investor (VGSTX)



"The application of our methodology has produced some surprising results," said Todd Rosenbluth, mutual fund analyst at S&P.  "To be a finalist, a fund had to do more than just outperform its peer group during the period we measured.  This is a reflection of the quantitative S&P methodology, which also gives weight to non-performance factors, including the quality of holdings, manager tenure, risk, and cost factors, and has a reduced reliance on backward-looking performance data.

"In the final analysis, a number of major fund families are well represented here, but there are also some funds from groups that are less well known," Rosenbluth said.

In addition to the nine asset class finalists, the S&P US Mutual Fund Excellence Awards program includes three finalists in a "New and Notable" category.  This category takes advantage of S&P's ability to rank funds with a less than three-year track record, which limits the ranking of these funds to an S&P three star.

"New funds are an important part of the mutual fund landscape, and one that we believe deserves recognition," said Stephen Biggar, Managing Director, Global Equity Research at Standard & Poor's. "This category of our awards program recognizes funds that, despite a short track record, have favorable cost factors and that recently held stocks that are currently viewed positively by S&P Equity Research."

The Gold, Silver, and Bronze award recipients in each category will be announced during a live video broadcast from the offices of Standard & Poor's in early November.

The S&P Research Process

S&P introduced its holistic mutual fund research methodology in September 2009. The approach incorporates bottom-up research about a fund's underlying stock, bond and mutual fund holdings as well as its performance, risk, and cost factors to relatively rank approximately 19,000 mutual funds on a scale of one star (lowest) to five star (highest). The quantitative methodology goes well beyond the fund industry's traditional approach to rankings, which tends to be based on a historical-looking assessment of risk adjusted past returns, with S&P's approach bringing a broad range of proprietary tools into the analytical methodology, including S&P STARS research, S&P Credit Ratings, S&P Fair Value and S&P Quality Rankings along with fund level inputs such as manager tenure and expense ratio.

S&P makes its mutual fund research available through its MarketScope® Advisor (MSA) platform, a leading source for multi-asset class research, rankings, and allocation strategies.  MSA is now used by more than 80,000 financial advisors.

About the Standard & Poor's Equity Research Mutual Fund Excellence Awards

The S&P Equity Research Mutual Fund Excellence Awards is an annual awards program designed to recognize those US mutual funds that have achieved the highest overall ranking in their category on the most consistent basis during the previous measurement year based on S&P's proprietary, quantitative research methodology.  Among the factors the research process seeks to identify are consistently strong performance, high quality holdings as measured by S&P STARS equity research, S&P Credit Ratings and S&P Quality Ranks, and favorable cost factors.

Additional information about the awards program, the selection methodology, and the award recipients is available at www.spfundawards.com.  The website will be updated regularly with additional content.  

About Standard & Poor's Equity Research Services

As the world's largest producer of independent equity research, Standard & Poor's licenses its research to global institutions for their investors and advisors.  Standard & Poor's team of experienced U.S., European and Asian equity analysts use a fundamental, bottom-up approach to assess a global universe of multi-asset class securities across industries worldwide.  Follow Standard & Poor's equity analysts' U.S. market commentary each day at www.equityresearch.standardandpoors.com.

The mutual fund rankings and/or equity research and recommendations provided by Standard & Poor's Equity Research Services are performed separately from any other analytic activity of Standard & Poor's. Standard & Poor's Equity Research Services has no access to non-public information received by other units of Standard & Poor's.  Standard & Poor's does not trade for its own account.  The analytical and ethical conduct of Standard & Poor's equity analysts is governed by the firm's Research Objectivity Policy, a copy of which may also be found at www.standardandpoors.com or by visiting www.spfundawards.com/?elqPURLPage=568.

About Standard & Poor's

Standard & Poor's Financial Services, LLC, a subsidiary of The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. (NYSE: MHP), is the world's foremost provider of independent credit ratings, indices, risk evaluation, investment research and data. With offices in 23 countries and markets, Standard & Poor's is an essential part of the world's financial infrastructure and has played a leading role for 150 years in providing investors with the independent benchmarks they need to feel more confident about their investment and financial decisions. For more information, visit www.standardandpoors.com.

Standard & Poor's and its affiliates provide a wide range of services to, or relating to, many organizations, including issuers of securities, investment advisers, broker-dealers, investment banks, other financial institutions and financial intermediaries, and accordingly may receive fees or other economic benefits from those organizations, including organizations whose securities or services they may recommend, rate, include in model portfolios, evaluate or otherwise address.

Standard & Poor's or an affiliate may license certain intellectual property or provide pricing or other services to, or other wise have a financial interest in, certain issuers of securities, including exchange-traded funds and mutual funds whose investment objective is to substantially replicate the returns of a proprietary Standard & Poor's index, such as the S&P500. In cases where Standard & Poor's or an affiliate is paid fees that are tied to the amount of assets that are invested in the fund or the volume of trading activity in the fund, investment in the fund will generally result in Standard & Poor's or an affiliate earning compensation in addition to the subscription fees or other compensation for services rendered by Standard & Poor's.

These materials have been prepared solely for informational purposes based upon information from sources believed to be reliable. Standard & Poor's makes no representation with respect to the accuracy or completeness of these materials, the content of which may change without notice. Assumptions, opinions and estimates constitute our judgment as of the date of this material and are subject to change without notice.

A reference to a particular investment or security by Standard & Poor's and one of its affiliates is not a recommendation to buy, sell, or hold such investment or security, nor is it considered to be investment advice.

No endorsement of any mutual fund included in a mutual fund report should be implied by the fact that the mutual fund bears the S&P mark or is based on an S&P Index. S&P does not receive fees from ETFs and/ or mutual funds for their inclusion in mutual fund reports. Standard & Poor's Indices does not sponsor, endorse, sell, promote or recommend any index-based product. S&P does not receive fee from funds included in mutual fund reports. No other unit of S&P, including Rating Services, contributes to the content of a mutual fund report.

SOURCE Standard & Poor's

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