NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- At first glance, the performance record of AMF Large Cap Equity ( IICAX) might appear uninspiring. During the past 15 years, the actively managed mutual fund returned 4.6% annually, compared to 4.5% for the S&P 500. Why bother with the active portfolio when you might do about as well with an index fund?But the fund is worth a second look because of an important trait: During downturns, AMF outperforms the benchmark like clockwork. AMF topped the S&P by 6 percentage points in 2002, a year when Internet stocks sank and the benchmark lost 22.2%. In the turmoil of 2008, the S&P lost 37% and AMF outperformed by 8 percentage points. AMF is not the only large blend fund to top the S&P by limiting losses in downturns. Other low-risk funds that excelled in the past 15 years include American Funds Investment Company of America ( AIVSX), Dreyfus Appreciation ( DGAGX), and Legg Mason ClearBridge Appreciation ( SHAPX). All those winners achieved steady records by focusing on rock-solid blue chips. Because of their reliable performance, the funds can be sound core holdings. For conservative investors, AMF is especially appealing. The fund ranks as one of the steadiest large blend choices, as indicated by standard deviation, a measure of how much an investment bounces up and down.