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Donald Yacktman, an Active Manager Who Defies the Odds

Yacktman leads his rivals in 2011, as he has over the last 5 and 10 years

Donald Yacktman is doing something rival mutual fund managers Bruce Berkowitz and Bill Miller haven’t done lately: making money for his clients—and carrying the flag for active stockpicking over index investing.

The two funds he manages, Yacktman and Yacktman Focused, have beaten 96 percent of peers in 2011 and at least 95 percent for the past 5 and 10 years through 0ct. 21, according to Morningstar. Excluding small-cap portfolios and those with less than $200 million in assets, the only diversified U.S. stock funds to equal that mark as of Oct. 21 are Artisan Mid Cap Value, Wells Fargo Advantage Growth Fund, First Eagle U.S. Value Fund, and SunAmerica Focused Dividend Strategy Portfolio. “They may not be easy to find, but there are some top managers who can still outperform,” says Ronald Sugameli, chief investment officer of Weston Financial Group in Wellesley, Mass. His firm oversees $1.6 billion and invests in actively managed funds.