Think of it as the mutual fund industry's version of Revenge of the Nerds.

Index and quantitative fund managers by and large had been the poor cousins among portfolio managers. Known for their devotion to obscure mathematical formulas and indexes rather than financial statement analysis, index fund managers and quants, as they are sometimes known, historically have earned less than their counterparts who actively manage funds, according to executive recruiters and fund industry observers. That may be changing.

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