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While we eagerly anticipate the results of national, state and local elections across the country, here are the results of our quarterly "ultra" fund-family competition. We tracked 424 fund groups on the third-quarter ballot.

In the first of two "ultra" fund-family races, each investment management firm gets one electoral vote for each fund it places on our quarterly top-200 list of open-end funds. This list is being published in section III of our fall 2008 edition of Ratings Guide to Stock Mutual Funds.

With 21 funds among the top 200,

Fidelity Investments

retains the Ultra Fund Family Presidency for another term. At the vice-presidential level are

ING Investments

, a unit of

ING Groep

(ING) - Get ING Group N.V. Report

, with 10 funds,


, with nine, and

American Century Investments

, with eight.

Three fund families,

DWS Scudder

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, a unit of

Deutsche Bank

(DB) - Get Deutsche Bank AG Report


GE Investment

, a division of

General Electric

(GE) - Get General Electric Company Report

, and

GMO Funds

tied with five top-ranked funds winning executive branch Cabinet positions.

The second Ultra fund-family competition more closely resembles legislative branch races as the entire population of funds at each firm has a say in the outcome.

To measure this, we break investment companies into groups by size to see which has the highest percentage of funds ranked in the top 30% of all open-end funds compared with other fund families of similar size. The top 30% represents overall investment grades of A+ down to B-. The middle 40% are fund grades of C+, C and C-, with D+ and lower in the bottom 30%.

At the U.S. Senate level are the fund families with 100 or more rated funds. Winning the post as Senate majority leader is

Van Kampen

, a unit of

Morgan Stanley

(MS) - Get Morgan Stanley Report

, with 49.7% of its 149 rated funds ranking in the top 30% of all open-end stock mutual funds we cover. Also in the leadership are American Century Investments, with 45.3%, and

American Funds

, at 44.7%.


fell to fourth from first place last quarter as

T. Rowe Price

(TROW) - Get T. Rowe Price Group Inc. Report

slipped to the fifth spot from second.

With smaller constituencies, the best-performing fund families with 40 to 99 rated fund group are at the U.S. House level. Of the 33 families in this range,

Royce Funds

, a subsidiary of

Legg Mason

(LM) - Get Legg Mason, Inc. Report

, with 83.3% of its 48 funds ranking in the top 30%, moved up one spot to win the role as speaker of the House. Also remaining in the top-three leadership positions are GE Investment and

Eaton Vance

(EV) - Get Eaton Vance Corp. Report


Winning the state legislature level is

Diamond Hill Funds

, pushing

First Eagle

to second place with 81.8% and 80.0% of funds in the top 30%, respectively.

Barclays Global

(BCS) - Get Barclays PLC Report

edged out Aston Funds for the third spot on the 10 to 39 rated fund list by having no funds ranked in the bottom 30%.

A total of 287 fund families have fewer than 10 rated open-end stock funds. Of these,

CRM Funds


Manning & Napier Funds

each have six out of six rated funds in the top 30%, winning the local municipality level. Runner-ups include


, with five of five funds in the top 30%, along with

American Performance


Fiduciary Management


Westport Funds

, with all four of their rated funds being top ranked.

Read on for an explanation of our



Kevin Baker became the senior financial analyst for TSC Ratings upon the August 2006 acquisition of Weiss Ratings by, covering mutual funds. He joined the Weiss Group in 1997 as a banking and brokerage analyst. In 1999, he created the Weiss Group's first ratings to gauge the level of risk in U.S. equities. Baker received a B.S. degree in management from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and an M.B.A. with a finance specialization from Nova Southeastern University.