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Ken Heebner: Best Fund Manager Alive?

Perusal of Ratings fund database fails to identify a clear challenger to CGMFX's claim to the diversified domestic equity fund performance championship. While the Leuthold Grizzly Fund (GRZZX) holds the top spot for the latest 12 months and placed second to CGMFX for the year to date, its "inverse" performance will hold it off when the stock market resumes its upward path.

A more serious competitor is the Pacific Advisors Small Cap Fund (PASMX), runner-up by more than 10 percentage points to Heebner's fund over the past five years. PASMX also placed first among 2,779 funds in the group in calendar 2006, when CGMFX ranked 959th with a mediocre return of 14.95%.

PASMX's largest holdings include Hornbeck Offshore Services (HOS), Mitcham Industries (MIND) and Kirby (KEX).

Similarly, using Sharpe ratios as proxies for risk-adjusted returns, the Ivy Fund-Asset Strategy Fund (WASAX) topped the group by that measure for the three years ended June 30, a span when Heebner's flagship fund placed a very respectable third. However, when absolute returns are used, CGMFX placed first among the diversified equity funds for the past three years with WASAX capturing the silver medal.

For the past five years, a period when SGMFX placed first for both absolute and risk-adjusted returns, WASAX captured second spot in the risk-adjusted race, only a small fraction of a percentage point behind the CGM fund.

The Ivy Fund-Asset Strategy Fund focuses on broad asset categories with investment positions in index futures and precious metals.

Heebner's fund, on the other hand, has been riding high on the burgeoning worldwide demand for industrial metals. Its major holdings in that area include United States Steel (X), Nucor (NUE), ArcelorMittal ADR (MT), Freeport-McMoRan Copper & Gold (FXC) and Southern Copper (PCU).

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