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To read our full coverage of Lipper Award-winning mutual funds,  please click here.

What are we looking for?

Best track records among all balanced funds over a decade.

These stock-and-bond funds have gained popularity amid volatile markets of recent years.

The screen

We searched for the 15 top performers among all global, Canadian and tactical balanced funds for the 10 years ended Dec. 31, 2012. U.S. dollar, segregated, pooled and duplicate versions were excluded.

What did we find?

Three funds with 9-per-cent plus annualized returns.

CI Signature High Income led the way with a 9.8-per-cent annual gain followed by Middlefield Income Plus with 9.5 per cent and Imaxx Canadian Fixed Pay, 9.3 per cent. Given the strength of the domestic market over most of the decade, it's not too surprising that most funds had a Canadian-stock tilt to their equity side. U.S. and global stock markets, however, have fared better over the past couple of years.

While the CI fund is now in the global neutral balanced category, it was more heavily weighted to Canadian securities in the early days with a third of assets in income or royalty trusts, real estate investment trusts and high yield bonds. Ottawa's decision to tax trusts (except REITs) like corporations by 2011, however, pulled the rug from under that asset class. Outside of cash, the CI fund now has nearly 50 per cent in mostly high yield and also investment-grade bonds, and 45 per cent in dividend-paying stocks and REITs.

A shift to adding more global securities has been a "work in progress" as the Canadian market has been getting thinner with takeovers and is now dominated by sectors such as the financials, said Geof Marshall, a co-manager on the fund at CI Investments Inc. Last summer, the fund added a sizable position in Royal Dutch Shell after oil stocks took a beating.

Veteran equity names in the portfolio include Cominar REIT, Summit REIT, H&R REIT, Laborador Iron Ore Royalty and Arc Resources. It has also been long-term owners of bonds from issuers such as Sherritt International, Baytex Energy, FootLocker, MGM Resorts and Iron Mountain. The fund's lower fee versus many peers has also kept more cash in investors' hands.