Regardless of the fact that some of the biggest large-cap mutual funds lost an average of 40% in 2008, the asset managers running them took home hundreds of millions of dollars in fees apiece for each of the funds alone, Morningstar found through an analysis of fiscal year-end data.

Three of the biggest funds from American Funds and two from Fidelity Investments fell a combined average of 37% in 2008 yet reaped more than $300 million apiece in the past fiscal year. One of the most profitable funds ever, the PIMCO Total Return Fund, rose 4.8% and generated total fees of more than $1 billion.

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