(Adds fund managers up for Morningstar award.)
BOSTON ( TheStreet) -- Bill Miller, Bruce Berkowitz and Kenneth Heebner are among legendary mutual fund managers who have trailed their benchmarks by wide margins this year, hurt by a no-show economic recovery, a financial-industry rout and record volatility.
A total of 72% out of 261 large-cap core funds are underperforming their indices, according to Goldman Sachs (GS). For the 110 large-cap value funds, it's 62%; and among 216 large-cap growth funds, it's a stunning 84%. This at a time when the benchmark for most of them, the S&P500 Index, is little changed in 2011.
There are so many mutual funds that have performed horribly that many investors have to be asking, "Why pay a fee for this?" Especially when an index fund or an exchange traded fund does much better for less. Even some investment bank analysts have fared better.Some investors, alas, are fed up. They pulled $55 billion from domestic large-cap core equity funds from the beginning of the year through Nov. 21, equal to 7.8% of their assets, S&P Capital IQ reports. Goldman Sachs predicts there will be $125 billion of retail equity funds redemptions in 2012, while exchange traded funds will see $100 billion in new purchases. The Investment Company Institute, which is funded by the the mutual fund industry, reports that stock mutual funds have seen outflows of $84 billion this year through October, versus $37 billion last year in the same period, numbers that include new sales, redemptions and exchanges. That includes data from 4,577 such funds. There was $20 billion in net outflows in October alone. Morningstar analyst Kevin McDevitt reported that November's fund flows continue to indicate that investors are seeking safety and are avoiding risk above all else, which resulted in outflows out of both U.S. stock funds and international stock funds and inflows for taxable bond funds, municipal bond funds, and money market funds despite their historically low yields during the month, continung a trend. Even a few wily veterans, who were at the top of the rankings a decade ago, have been outfoxed by the current market environment and are each at the very bottom of the list in their fund categories. Miller, who has been managing the $921 million Legg Mason Capital Management Opportunity Fund (LMOPX) since 1999, has seen his mid-cap value fund tumble 36% this year. Heebner's $1.8 billion CGM Focus Fund (CGMFX) has plummeted 28% this year, hurt by owning the airlines Delta (DAL) and United Continental (UAL). Delta has fallen 37% this year, and United is down 18%. Heebner, who's managed the fund since 1997, is known for having years in which the fund has rocketed more than 50% on outsized bets on targeted industries such as commodities or technology. The $7.5 billion Calamos Growth Fund (CGRRX), run by a large team including family members John P. Calamos Sr., John P. Calamos Jr. and Nick P. Calamos for 21 years, has dropped 11% this year. Like other large, known funds, the performance is better over a longer period, particularly 10 years. Still, some well-known fund managers are getting kudos from research firms. Bill Nygren of the Oakmark Select (OAKLX) and Oakmark (OAKMX) funds, and Donald and Stephen Yacktman of the Yacktman (YACKX) and Yacktman Focused (YAFFX) funds are among a handful of professional investors up for Morningstar's domestic-stock manager of 2011 award. Here are six other U.S. equity mutual funds, each with over $2 billion in assets, that have sunk to the bottom rungs of the performance ladder in their fund category in 2011: