Morningstar Awards: Mawer picks up Fund Company of the Year

Martin Ferguson and Jeff Mo were also awarded Domestic Equity Fund Manager of the Year for Mawer New Canada.

Shehryar Khan, CFA 27 November, 2014 | 6:00PM Ashley Redmond
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Ashley Redmond: I’m Ashley Redmond for and I’m here with manager research analyst, Shehryar Khan.

Thanks for joining me.

Shehryar Khan: Thanks for having me.

Redmond: On November 26 we celebrated the 20th annual Morningstar Awards and it was a great evening. One of the highlights is always the actual Morningstar Awards, where our analysts pick the winners for five categories, including Morningstar Domestic Equity Fund Manager of the Year and Fund Company of the Year.

Shehryar, who won Domestic Equity Fund Manager of the Year?

Khan: This year the manager research team here at Morningstar deliberated and we actually gave the award to two managers, Jeff Mo and Martin Ferguson, who both manage the Mawer New Canada Fund.

Redmond: And what put them ahead of the competition?

Khan: For an award like Domestic Equity Fund Manager of the Year, one of the things that we look at is performance, and their performance has been very strong. Jeff Mo and Martin Ferguson have done a great job of applying Mawer’s disciplined investment process, where they target quality companies trading at discounts to their intrinsic value, and the performance speaks for itself. Not only are they top 5% in the category year-to-date, but they’re also top 5% in the category going back one, three, five and even 15 years. So, the performance is remarkable when you think of it, both short term and long term.

Redmond: And Mawer also won Fund Company of the Year, so what put them ahead of the competition in that category?

Khan: For an award like that, we look at a lot of things, and Mawer actually won this award last year as well – we really like the fact that they had another great year. They do all the things when it comes to stewardship that we like to see in terms of investor-friendly behaviour. Their CIO, Jim Hall, has done a great job of making sure that the firm lives up to their motto of Be boring. Make Money. Their performance has been strong across their lineup, although we would like to see some improvement when it comes to U.S. Equity and Fixed Income, but overall the performance has been very strong.

They have a very disciplined investment process and they apply it very uniformly across their funds. Overall they have a very good team, a very good culture, and they’re very strong stewards, so that put them over the top.

Redmond: And how important is it for you and your team that they put investors first and have that investors first philosophy?

Khan: It’s definitely something that we take into consideration. [For example], if there was a fund that had excellent performance over the year and wasn't the best steward, we would still give them the award. However, when it comes down to having two equal funds that have equally strong performance, we will always side with investors and give the award to the better steward.

Redmond: What criteria does your team look at when you’re picking the winners?

Khan: That’s a great question. For an award like Domestic Equity Fund Manager of the Year, its more performance based, which is very backward looking. Our analyst ratings are very forward-looking, so there's a bit of a change in mindset that we have to do. But we still look for many of the same things.

When it comes to performance, if the performance is great, we want to make sure that the performance is consistent with the manager’s philosophy and process because we want to make sure that we are rewarding skill and not luck.

When it comes to Fund Company of the Year, that’s much more of an art than a science. We want to see a firm that strives to exhibit the best practices when it comes to stewardship and investor-friendly behaviour, but we also want to see strong performance because at the end of the day that's what count. The results are what count.

So, those are the two things that we have to try to balance. This year we had two compelling nominees in EdgePoint and Mawer, but at the end of the day Mawer’s strong performance across their lineup and their strong stewardship practices put them over-the-top.

Redmond: Great. Thanks so much Shehryar.

Khan: Thank you.

Redmond: For more information on the Morningstar Awards, visit homepage of

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About Author

Shehryar Khan, CFA

Shehryar Khan, CFA  Shehryar Khan, CFA, is a senior investment analyst for Morningstar’s Investment Management group.

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