Longevity, patience, precise judgment and decisiveness are among the notable traits demonstrated by the winners of Morningstar’s 2012 U.S. Fund Manager of the Year awards announced today.

The 2012 Fund Manager of the Year award winners in the U.S. are:

Domestic-Stock Fund Manager of the Year: Bill Frels and Mark Henneman, Mairs & Power Growth. Frels and Henneman have produced one of the best long-term records of any large-blend fund. Since Frels became co-manager in 1999, the fund has beaten all but one of its large-blend category peers and trounced the S&P 500 with an 8.2 percent annualized gain through year-end 2012.

International-Stock Fund Manager of the Year: Rajiv Jain, Virtus Foreign Opportunities and Virtus Emerging Markets Opportunities. Jain has managed Virtus Foreign Opportunities since 2002, and Virtus Emerging Markets Opportunities since 2006. Jain, say Morningstar officials, follows a high-conviction approach regardless of market trends and is willing to hold portfolios that look very different than the benchmark.

Fixed-Income Fund Manager of the Year: Mark Kiesel, Pimco Investment-Grade Corporate Bond. Kiesel is the 10-year manager of one of the best-performing corporate bond funds over both long- and short-term periods: the fund has an 11.1 percent, three-year annualized return and a 10.7 percent, five-year annualized return. 

Alternatives Fund Manager of the Year: The team, TFS Market Neutral. TFS Market Neutral is one of the oldest funds in the market-neutral category, with an eight-year track record and $1.8 billion in assets. In 2012, the fund achieved the highest absolute return of 7.8 percent in its category, and its risk-adjusted return (daily annualized Sharpe ratio) ranked fourth.

Allocation Fund Manager of the Year: David Giroux, T. Rowe Price Capital Appreciation, Grioux, who joined the fund in 2006, has since then beaten 97 percent of moderate-allocation category peers, delivering top-decile returns on a risk-adjusted basis. Giroux follows a straightforward asset allocation approach, generally investing 55-65 percent of assets in equities and the rest in a mix of fixed income and cash.

Established in 1988, the Morningstar Fund Manager of the Year awards recognize portfolio managers who demonstrate excellent investment skill and the courage to differ from the consensus to benefit investors. To qualify for the awards, managers' funds must not only post impressive returns for the year, but the managers must also have a record of delivering outstanding long-term, risk-adjusted performance and of aligning their interests with those of shareholders.

Morningstar this year added new awards for two types of strategies—alternatives and allocation—in addition to domestic stock, international stock, and fixed income. Morningstar defines alternative investments as those that do not fit neatly in its traditional equity or fixed-income style boxes -- either because they invest in different asset classes, take long and short positions, or because they are illiquid.

Meanwhile, fund managers considered for the Allocation Fund Manager of the Year award must run funds that combine at least two asset classes in a single portfolio.

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