Lipper presented awards Tuesday night to U.S. fund companies at a ceremony in New York.

The event, which Jed McNight, head of North American research for the New York-based company characterized as "The Academy Awards of Mutual Funds," was the 14th in a series of 18 this year.  The program started Jan. 31 in Geneva, Switzerland and will culminate in Mumbai, India, on April 7.

"Several ratings systems exist, and we don't think one fits all," said McKnight. "The Lipper Leader rating system is designed to help."

Lipper, an independent research and ratings company, judged funds on five characteristics observed over a three-year span:  total return, consistent return, capital preservation, tax efficiency and expenses.

"Lipper Leaders is a multi-faceted raking system aimed at giving investors and advisors a means of matching different investment profiles," said Lipper CEO, Michael Peace. Lipper neither manages money, nor accepts payment form companies it rates, he added. 

"2005 was a challenging year, globally with natural disasters touching almost every continent, oil prices reaching new heights, and political unrest in a number of countries," he said, referring to unrest in the Middle East and the lack of political leader in the world's third largest company, Germany, for several months.

Despite these challenging circumstances the Lipper Fund Award winner performed, Peace said.

The Lipper Fund Winners for Best Fund Families included:

Small Equity: Henderson Global Investors of  Chicago.

Large Equity: Davis Selected Advisers, LP of Braintree, Mass.

Small Fixed Income:  Lebenthal Asset Management of Boston

Large Fixed Income: OppenheimerFunds, Inc. of New York

Small Mixed Equity: First American Funds of  Milwaukee, Wis.

Large Mixed Equity:  American Funds of  Los Angeles

With overall awards going to:

Small: Gartmore  of Conshohocken, Pa.

Large: OppenheimerFunds, Inc.

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