Talk about international mutual funds with anyone who's been in the funds business for a while, and Jean-Marie Eveillard's name will inevitably pop up. He's the portfolio manager of the First Eagle SoGen Global Fund (SGENX), managing the fund since its inception in 1979.
Eveillard has racked up an impressive track record. In 2001, a horrific year for funds by any standard, this five-star Morningstar fund was up 10.2 percent. In fact, in the 23 years he's run the fund, it has outperformed its benchmark, the MSCI World Index, by about 300 basis points. According to Eveillard, that puts the First Eagle SoGen Global Fund's average return at about 15 percent per year, compared with the MSCI World Index's 12 percent.
One reason for the fund's success: Eveillard is a value investor. In addition, he will invest the fund's assets anywhere in the world where he finds companies that meet his investment criteria- currently that means Europe, North America and Japan. A third key element is, he's a player. "I have my own financial assets invested in my own funds," says Eveillard. "That allows me to eat my own cooking-and think the way an individual shareholder does. They are more interested in absolute returns than relative returns."
Three-year performance: 14.48 percent
Dian Vujovich is an author, syndicated columnist and publisher of fund investing site www.fundfreebies.com.