Nearly two dozen tax-exempt mutual funds were among those in the industry that received accolades for stellar historical performance by Lipper at its 2008 awards ceremony last week in New York City.

Overall, trophies were presented to top-ranking small and large fund families in four major asset categories - overall, equity, fixed-income, and mixed-asset - as well as 35 other individual funds that topped their respective categories for having historically strong, risk-adjusted three, five, or 10-year performance ending Dec. 31, 2007.

The awards are based on Lipper's consistent return calculation, which includes each fund's expenses and reinvested distributions, but excludes sales charges.

At least three of the tax-exempt mutual funds honored were recognized for their top-notch performance in the general municipal debt category.

The Legg Mason Partners Managed Municipals Funds managed by Western Asset Management took top honors for the fund's I shares in the general municipal debt category for its three-year, risk-adjusted annual total return of 4.57%.

In the same category, Boston-based Eaton Vance Management Inc. was honored for the five-year performance of its institutional shares of the Eaton Vance National Municipals Fund, which delivered an average annual return of 6.33% over that period.

Meanwhile, Boston-based Fidelity Management & Research Co.was also lauded for the 10-year performance of its $5.11 billion Fidelity Municipal Income Fund - a 5.05% average annual total return for that period - in the general municipal category.

Municipal funds were also singled out in state-specific and sector categories.

Western Asset Management also received awards for the five-year performance of the A shares of its New Jersey Municipals Fund, and the A shares of its Massachusetts Municipals Fund.

Eaton Vance was also honored for the performance of the A shares of its Virginia Municipals Fund, while Fidelity was also recognized for its Ohio, Massachusetts, Maryland, and Michigan municipal income funds.

Several other fund families received awards for performance excellence over five and 10-year periods in either state-specific or sector categories, including: AllianceBernstein Investments, American Century Investments,BlackRockInc., BNY Mellon Asset Management, Columbia Management Group, Delaware Management Co., DreyfusCorp., Evergreen Investment Management Co.,Federated Investors,First Investors Management Co.,Franklin Templeton Investments, Managers Investment GroupLLC,Nuveen Asset ManagementInc., OppenheimerFundsInc., STI Classic Funds, the Vanguard GroupInc., Van Kampen Asset ManagementInc.,andWells Fargo Funds Management LLC.


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