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Mawer Investment Management Ltd., AGF Management Ltd. and Phillips Hager & North Investment Management Ltd. tied for taking home the most hardware last night at the Canadian Investment Awards.

The trio won four awards at the annual gala held in Toronto to showcase winners in 42 categories, ranging from fund performance to marketing.

Gerald Cooper-Key, a manager with Calgary-based Mawer, won Morningstar Fund Manager of the Year - a coveted award that has often gone to more high-profile industry peers.

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"A lot of investors haven't heard of him," Morningstar Canada fund analyst Mark Chow acknowledged.

"He works for a small boutique firm ... and doesn't have a big, slick well-funded marketing machine behind him."

But Mr. Cooper-Key has had "consistently strong returns over the long run," he said.

Since its inception in 1987, Mr. Cooper-Key has run the $395.5-million Mawer World Investment Fund. It has beaten the MSCI Europe Australia Far East (EAFE) Index over the three, five, 10 and 15 years ended Oct. 31. Over three years, the international stock fund has posted an average annual return of 17.67 per cent.

"He has lost as many times as the index has lost, but when he loses money, it tends to be a lot less," Mr. Chow added. "People can have great returns over the short term - it could be a good stock pick or luck. When you do it for 19 years, the chance that he is lucky really disappears."

Mawer also won awards for the best international equity, as well as for the Canadian equity pooled and international equity pooled fund categories.

AGF's chief executive officer Blake Goldring was named Person of Influence of the Year for spearheading a successful turnaround at his company, resulting in improving net sales and fund performance.

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Toronto-based AGF also won top honours for its emerging markets, European equity and precious metals funds.

Phillips Hager & North, which is based in Vancouver, was the winner in the Canadian fixed income, high-yield fixed income, Canadian income pooled and global balanced pooled fund categories.

Fidelity True North, run by Stephen Binder of Fidelity Investments Canada Ltd., won for top Canadian equity fund.

Ethical Special Equity and IA Clarington Canadian Small Cap Fund - both co-managed by Leigh Pullen and Joe Jugovic of QV Investors Inc. - took top honours for Canadian small- and mid-cap equity.

Dynamic Power Hedge Fund, run by Rohit Sehgal of Dynamic Mutual Funds, took the top prize for opportunistic strategy hedge funds. Salida Multi Strategy Hedge Fund run by Brad White and Daniel Guy at Salida Capital Corp. was the winner among multistrategy hedge funds. CI Investments Inc., a unit of CI Financial Income Fund, nabbed the award for Analysts' Choice Investment Fund Company of the Year. Dynamic Mutual Funds, a unit of DundeeWealth Inc., won Advisors' Choice Investment Fund Company of the Year.

Fund manager of year, past winners

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2006: Allan Jacobs, Sceptre

Equity Growth Fund

2005: Kim Shannon, CI Canadian Investment Fund

2004: Fred Sturm, Mackenzie Universal Canadian Resource Fund

2003: Peter Cundill, Mackenzie Cundill Value Fund

2002: Jerry Javasky, Mackenzie Ivy Canadian Fund

2001: Gerald Coleman,

CI Harbour Fund

2000: Ian Ainsworth, Altamira Science & Technology Fund,

Altamira Equity Fund

1999: Ian Ainsworth,

Altamira Equity Fund

1998: Jerry Javasky, Mackenzie Ivy Canadian Fund

1997: Jonathan Wellum, AIC Advantage Fund

1996: Wayne Deans, Marathon Equity Fund

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