The Pittsburgh Steelers beat the Arizona Cardinals in Super Bowl XLIII for football supremacy and the Vince Lombardi trophy. At TheStreet.com Ratings, we have our "Ultra" Fund Family Bowl XI. In this 11th quarterly ratings competition among the 417 fund families, our top two contenders, Fidelity and Van Kampen, stake their claim for the Baker trophy. The first of two "Ultra" Fund Family bowl spots goes to the investment-management firms placing the most "starting players" on our quarterly top-200 list of open-end funds. This list is being published in section III of our winter 2008-09 edition of " TheStreet.com Ratings Guide to Stock Mutual Funds." Fidelity, with 19 funds among the top 200, is working on an "Ultra" Fund Family Bowl dynasty with its sixth consecutive visit to the big game. Division champs getting knocked out in the playoffs this quarter were ING Investments, a subsidiary of ING Group ( ING) and Vanguard, with eight funds, and American Century Investments and Transamerica Funds, a unit of AEGON NV ( AEG), with seven funds on the top 200. Wild-card spots went to DWS Scudder, a division of Deutsche Bank ( DB), Ivy/Waddell & Reed Funds, a unit of Waddell & Reed Financial ( WDR), and ProFunds, each with 5 top-ranked funds. The second route to the top of the "Ultra" Fund Family competition takes a more comprehensive view. Beyond just the starters, each fund family has to send all their second-string players and benchwarmers into the game, too. To measure this, we break investment companies into groups by size to see which firms have the highest percentage of funds ranked in the top 30% of all open-end funds in comparison to 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%.
Winning the "Ultra" Fund Family Bowl berth for the second quarter in a row, among fund families with 100 or more rated funds, is Van Kampen, a division of Morgan Stanley ( MS), with half of its 148 funds ranking in the top 30% of all open-end stock mutual funds we rate. Perennial playoff contender American Funds, with 44.7% in the top 30% of rated funds, is the runner-up. Putnam Funds, a unit of Great-West Lifeco ( GWLIF) at 41.4%, Alliance Bernstein, a subsidiary of AXA SA ( AXA) at 41.2%, and American Century Investments, at 40.9%, joined in the playoff hunt.
At the college-football level are the best-performing fund families in the 40 to 99 rated fund group. Out of the 34 families in this range attempting to win a national championship, Eaton Vance ( EV) triumphed with 55.1% of its 89 funds ranking in the top 30%, improving upon its third-place finish last quarter. Moving up two spots is Gabelli Funds, with 49.4% of its 87 funds in the top 30%. Lord Abbett rounds out the top 3 college-level fund families at 44.2% of its 95 funds in the top 30%, a three-notch improvement from the previous quarter.
First Eagle wins the high-school level over 61 other fund families with 10 to 39 rated funds. To regain the throne lost in the prior quarter, First Eagle scored a perfect 100%. All 15 of First Eagle's funds ranked in the top 30% of the funds we rate. A top 30% performance of 72.7% moved Barclays Global ( BCS) up one spot to second place on the 10 to 39 rated fund list with no funds ranked in the bottom 30% for the second consecutive quarter.