(Editor's note: TheStreet today named 82 mutual funds and exchange traded funds, or ETFs, winners and runners-up in its second annual awards ceremony. A list of the funds and related articles can be found on the awards page.)NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- During the volatile trading of last summer, many investors sought safety in Treasuries and dumped high-yield bonds, which are rated below-investment grade. Bonds of financial companies suffered particularly big losses as investors worried that the euro crisis could lead to bank defaults. But throughout the hard times, PIA High Yield ( PHYSX) managed to limit losses, steering away from financials and other shaky sectors. Thanks to such on-target moves, the high-yield fund returned 4.5% in 2011, compared to a return of 2.8% for its average peer, according to Morningstar. Besides delivering strong returns, the fund also achieved tame risk scores. That showing enabled PIA to win TheStreet's Best Funds 2012 award in the corporate high-yield bond category. The runner-up is CNI Charter High-Yield Bond ( CHBAX).
1. To be eligible for consideration, an open-end mutual fund needed at least a three-year history on Dec. 31, 2011, and still be accepting new assets from retail investors; for exchange traded funds, a one-year history. 2. Half of the rating is based on performance metrics, including total return minus expenses, with a weighting to give long-term performance greater emphasis. 3. The other half of the rating is based upon risk metrics, including standard deviation, size of trough-to-peak (drawdown factor), semi-standard deviation and beta. The lower the risk, the better. 4. Top and runner-up funds and ETFs were selected in a variety of categories (funds and ETF were placed in categories via Lipper data).