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Mutual Funds

No Second Banana

The first runner-up for Most Consistent Fund Manager.

Most of you probably know about Bill Miller, whose Legg Mason Value fund has outpaced the stock market a record 15 straight years. But few investors have heard of the man with the second-best market-topping record: Manu Daftary, who has led Quaker Strategic Growth to victory over Standard Poor's 500-stock index for eight consecutive years.

Quaker Strategic looks a little like a hedge fund. "We have all the best weapons at our disposal to be as flexible and opportunistic as possible," says Daftary, 48. His arsenal includes the ability to sell stocks short and hold large cash stakes.

Daftary hunts for reasonably valued stocks, but jumps rapidly from sector to sector. Turnover is dizzying. In 1999, the fund's turnover rate was a remarkable 1,696% (implying that it held securities for an average of about 20 days). At last word, Daftary had two-thirds of the fund's $842 million in just three sectors -- energy, industrial materials and financials.

The overall results have been exceptional. Between the fund's inception in 1996 and the end of 2005, the A shares (QUAGX; 800-220-8888) returned an annualized 19%, 12 percentage points a year ahead of the SP 500 and six points a year ahead of Miller's fund. Daftary achieved most of this record, however, when the fund was much smaller. The A shares levy a 5.5% sales charge and high annual fees of 1.99%. Consider this feisty fund only if you would normally buy through a broker and pay a commission.