NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Steven Roge, manager of the Roge Partners Fund (ROGEX), says investors need to assess a fund manager's philosophy.

The mutual fund, which rates two stars from Morningstar, has returned 21% over the past year, putting it in Morningstar's 56th percentile. Over the past three years, the fund has returned an average of negative 3% annually, which lands it in Morningstar's 82nd percentile.

Welcome to TheStreet.com's Fund Manager Five Spot, where America's top mutual fund managers give their best stock picks and views on the market in a five-question format.

How do you choose the best mutual funds for your portfolio?

Roge: We go through an exhaustive due-diligence process. We look both quantitatively and qualitatively at the fund and its manager. The most important thing is finding a great manager. We are less concerned with historical track records. Sometimes the funds we like don't have a long track record, but the manager has a strong performance history in the private market.

A fund you like is Evermore Global Value Fund (EVGCX). What is its strengths?

Roge: David Marcus is the fund manager for Evermore Global. He trained under Michael Price, the well-known value investor. He likes special situations. He looks where other investors are not looking to find value in the market. He is on the board of a lot of public companies. It's a brand-new fund, and we think it should do well over time.

Another fund in your fund is the Walthausen Small Cap Value Fund (WSCVX). What is special about this fund?

Roge: The fund is brand new, but John Walthausen has a very good track record running the Paradigm Value fund. That fund was a great performer under his helm. Now he is out on his own. He looks for small-cap companies that are underpriced, as well as special situations. He looks for very unique things that other managers are not looking for.

Why have you been a holder of the Pinnacle Value Fund (PVFIX) for such a long time?

Roge:The fund's manager, John Deysher, came out of the Royce funds. His specialty is in micro-cap companies. He really is a Ben Graham-style investor. He looks for companies with cash that are off-the-radar from traditional managers. The fund is small and nimble and he keeps a lot of the fund in cash. It's not very volatile for a small-cap fund.

Buying a mutual fund is only half the story. How do you know when to sell?

Roge: One of the most important things is asset bloat. Make sure the fund is not accumulating too many assets. The fund manager has to know when to say when, especially in the case of small-cap funds. The fund should stay small and nimble. If it becomes too large, then performance will dwindle.

-- Reported by Gregg Greenberg in New York.

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