Talk about a dubious honor.
Enterprise Growth A, Flex-funds Muirfeld, Franklin Convertible I, Hotchkis & Wiley International and Mairs & Power Growth have been selected by Morningstar Inc. as 1996's "forgotten funds."
All of these funds are tiny - with less than $150 million in assets - and deserve more attention than they've received, according to the mutual fund researcher. Also, their portfolio managers have been in place at least five years.
But this year's "winners" should take heart. Some of the forgotten funds of years past - such as Seligman Communications & Information, Berwyn Income and Connecticut Mutual Growth - have gone on to achieve considerable notoriety.
According to Morningstar, Mairs & Power Growth invests in a few stocks - 75% of them based in Minnesota - and buys and holds them. Enterprise Growth, which concentrates in about 30 stocks, has ranked consistently in the top quartile of growth stocks. Hotchkis & Wiley International, a bottom-up value fund, boasts a high yield and modest risk.
Franklin Convertible Securities captured "a good share of the stock market's gains while avoiding its pains." Flex-funds Muirfeld is one of few market-timing funds that performed well with reasonable costs, Morningstar said.