Rachel Benepe, manager of the First Eagle Gold Fund ( SGGDX), says gold is the best protection against unforeseen events, the threat of rising inflation and other commodities such as oil and property. The fund, which gets Morningstar's highest rating of five stars, has fallen 9.7% in the past year, less than 94% of its peers. Over three years, the First Eagle Gold Fund has risen an annual average of 5.3%, compared with 2.6% for rivals. Welcome to TheStreet.com's Fund Manager Five Spot, where America's top mutual fund managers give their best stock picks in five fast and furious questions. Are you a bull or a bear?Benepe: At First Eagle Funds, we are always concerned about the downside, which is one of the reasons why we have always viewed gold as insurance. Gold is our downside protection against those events we cannot forecast. What is your top stock pick?Benepe: Since First Eagle views gold as a form of insurance, our preference is to own bullion because it is free and clear of those risks associated with mining. Our safest investment is our physical gold bullion. However, physical gold is not always the cheapest way for us to get insurance exposure. We therefore evaluate owning the bullion versus gold-mining stocks. We tend to prefer gold-mining stocks that are already producing because we view gold-mining shares as an option on ounces in the ground, so having proven reserves is important. This is one of the reasons why we have less exposure to the junior mining space than other gold funds. We also tend to like those producers that are unhedged.