Mutual funds managed by the Neuberger Berman unit of troubled

Lehman Brothers

(LEH)

haven't been performing particularly badly in recent month as the parent company has been sliding into a financial abyss.

It's just that the funds have not achieved rates of return that would attract huge inflows of assets and help the fading cause of the parent company.

The accompanying table reveals that 10 of the 18 Neuberger stock funds trailed the

S&P 500

total return index over the past three months, with the group's average performance of minus 9.18% more than a percentage point worse than the S&P benchmark.

Only one of the 15 equity funds with sufficient histories remains in the positive column for the year to date, with nine members trailing the S&P for that period.

Longer term, the Neuberger funds have performed with more distinction. Over the past three years, 10 of the 12 funds with sufficient histories outpaced the S&P gauge.

Lehman Brothers' stable of bond market indices are unlikely to be tarnished by the broker's present dilemma.

Too bad the bond vehicles of Lehman's fund unit have generally not kept pace, performancewise, with the fixed-income performance benchmarks of the parent firm. Over the past three months, year to date and most recent 12 months, not a single member of its bond fund group has kept up with the Lehman Brothers Aggregate Bond index.

Over the past three years, only the

Lehman Brothers Strategic Income Fund

(LBSTX)

has tied the aggregate gauge at 4.26% annually; the others have trailed the index, with two of the funds turning in negative annual returns.

The Neuberger stock funds offer a diverse array of choices, including a recent socially responsible offering and a recent global warming offering. The major holdings of the

Neuberger Berman Climate Change Fund

(NBCAX)

include

First Solar

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,

Exelon

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and

Monsanto

(MON)

.

Neuberger's mix includes a number of equity funds with small-cap, mid-cap and international investments. They offer real estate funds with global as well as domestic focus. A mainstream vehicle is the

Neuberger Berman Large Cap Disciplined Growth Fund

(NBLAX)

, which holds mainstay investments such as

Apple

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,

Abbott Labs

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,

Wal-Mart

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,

IBM.

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and

Microsoft

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.

Investors are cautioned that despite Neuberger & Berman's distinguished history, is wouldn't be surprising if Lehman Brothers management becomes too distracted by its current liquidity crisis to devote appreciable attention or resources to the fund group.

Richard Widows is a senior financial analyst for TheStreet.com Ratings. Prior to joining TheStreet.com, Widows was senior product manager for quantitative analytics at Thomson Financial. After receiving an M.B.A. from Santa Clara University in California, his career included development of investment information systems at data firms, including the Lipper division of Reuters. His international experience includes assignments in the U.K. and East Asia.