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Canadian Investment Awards winners announced

Date: Friday, November 30, 2007
Author: Rudy Luukko, Morningstar.ca

During four of the past six years, Mawer World Investment has been selected as the best international equity mutual fund. Last night, when he picked up his latest trophy for that category, the fund's veteran manager Gerald Cooper-Key also captured an even bigger prize.

The Calgary-based Cooper-Key is Morningstar Canada's Manager of the Year for 2007, on the strength of his fund's consistently superior risk-adjusted returns in its peer group.

Cooper-Key, who has managed the $395-million fund since its inception in November 1987, came through again in fine style for his unitholders in the most recent 12-month period.

As of Oct. 31, the fund's one-year return was a top-quartile 11.1%, more than double the 5.2% median return in its peer group. That's only Cooper-Key's latest accomplishment. The Morningstar 4-star rated fund is also top-quartile over the latest three, five and 10-year periods.

Morningstar has also been impressed by Cooper-Key's above-average results during bear markets. As senior analyst Mark Chow notes in the current analyst report for the fund, Cooper-Key's discipline enabled him to avoid major missteps during the collapse of technology stocks in 2001 and 2002.

Including the award won by Mawer World Investment, there were a total of 22 awards at the gala devoted to prospectus-offered mutual funds available to small investors.

AGF Funds won a trio of awards for AGF European Equity Class, AGF Emerging Markets and AGF Precious Metals. All of these funds are repeat winners in their categories from 2006.

Ethical Funds Inc.'s Ethical Special Equity was the only fund to win in two categories. It won the award for Best Socially Responsible Fund, and shared the award for Canadian small/mid cap equity funds.

The other winner in the Canadian small/mid cap category was IA Clarington Canadian Small Cap, which like Ethical Special Equity is managed by Calgary-based QV Investors Inc. The fund was one of two winners sponsored by IA Clarington Investments Inc. The other was IA Clarington Global Small Cap, which won the award in the global small/mid cap equity category.

Other fund firms winning two awards apiece were:

Single-award winners in the categories for specific mutual funds were:

There were two awards for hedge funds. Dynamic Power Hedge won for best opportunistic strategy hedge fund, and Salida Multi Strategy Hedge won in the multi-strategy hedge fund category.

In the eight categories for pooled funds, Mawer and Phillips Hager & North each captured two awards.

Mawer won for Mawer Canadian Equity Pooled in the Canadian equity category, and for the pooled version of Mawer World Investment in international equities. The PH&N Bond pooled fund took the trophy for Canadian income pooled, and PH&N Balanced Pension Trust won the global balanced pooled category.

AIM Trimark, CI Investments, Fidelity Investments and Standard Life each received a single award in the pooled fund categories.

This year's fund-company awards went to CI Investments Inc., for Analysts' Choice Investment Fund Company of the Year, and to Dynamic Funds, which was voted the Advisors' Choice Investment Fund Company of the Year.

CI, which won for the second consecutive year, is the largest fund company that sells primarily through third-party financial advisors. It is known for offering a wide range of both core and specialty funds, and for the depth of its portfolio management talent, both internally and externally.

Among its most prominent in-house names are Eric Bushell, chief investment officer of the Signature group, and Gerald Coleman, who heads the Harbour product line. They are complemented by external managers, of whom the best known include U.S. equity manager Bill Miller of Legg Mason Capital Management Inc. in Baltimore. CI's new initiatives this year include the October launch of 29 new T-class funds for income-oriented investors.

Dynamic Funds, which relies primarily on in-house portfolio managers, has produced impressive performance in a wide range of domestic, foreign and specialty categories. Throughout this year, Dynamic has been the firm with the most Morningstar 5-star rated funds with distinct mandates.

Dynamic's new initiatives included the launch in April of Dynamic RetirementEdge Income Portfolios Deposit Notes, which are designed to make tax-efficient distributions. Returns are based on the performance of portfolios of Dynamic funds.

Voted as the best new initiative of the past year was Manulife Financial's GIF Select IncomePlus, the first segregated funds in Canada to offer a guaranteed minimum withdrawal benefit. In October of this year, IncomePlus added a new provision that provides for a lifetime income guarantee.