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Ken Heebner: Best Fund Manager Alive?

If there were a Grand Slam of Mutual Funds, Ken Heebner would now be holding the trophy.

As of the end of the first half of 2008, the legendary manager's CGM Focus Fund (CGMFX) led domestic diversified equity mutual funds for the latest 12 months, three years, five years and 10 years. If that isn't impressive enough, the fund also led the pack for the latest three months as well as for calendar 2007.

The only person who comes to mind with a comparable ability for persistently coming out on top of the pack is Tiger Woods. The world's top golfer seems to always end up at or near the top spot despite the fact that some of his hundred or more co-competitors in a given tournament might get incredibly lucky or happen to put together career-best performances.

Heebner has been doing the same, except that he competes against thousands of open-end equity mutual funds, some managed by teams of analysts at firms many times larger than his Capital Growth Management.

The accompanying table profiles the remarkable record of CGMFX relative to the thousands of diversified domestic equity funds tracked by Ratings. The many single-digit rankings of CGMFX for the various time periods tell the fund's story to perfection.

In case anyone worries that Heebner's fund achieved its many first places by taking extraordinary risks, the bottom of the table ranks his fund by "risk adjusted" performance measures known as Sharpe Ratios -- named after Nobel laureate William Sharpe. The gauge measures a fund's return "per unit of risk," with risk defined as its volatility of returns. Even adjusted for risk, CGMFX placed near the head of the class for periods up to the last 10 years.
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