Fidelity International, Hyperion Asset Management and Western Asset management are all in the running to take out the top prize at the 2020 Morningstar Australia Awards.

Finalists for the annual awards ceremony, now in its 20th year, were announced by Morningstar Australasia’s director, manager research ratings Aman Ramrakha on Thursday morning, acknowledging excellence in the funds management industry.

Legg Mason's Western Asset Management landed three nominations in the Fund Manager of the Year, Undiscovered Manager and Fixed Interest categories. Fidelity International picked up two – for Fund Manager of the Year and Domestic Equities – Small Caps.

Hyperion Asset Management, who was named Fund Manager of the Year in 2016 and was the top returning large-cap Aussie equity fund (under coverage) in 2019, also received two nominations.

Vanguard Australia, an asset manager known for the legacy of its late founder Jack Bogle and his tireless work advocating for individual investors, took home the top honour in 2019.

Ramrakha says all major asset classes in 2019 had positive returns, resulting in an extensive list of potential candidates.

"The nominated fund managers have not only demonstrated an ability to offer consistent, high-performing investments but have also shown themselves to be long-term, first-class stewards of their investors’ capital," he says.

Relative newcomer to the Australian market, US-based boutique investment management firm GQG Partners, is one to watch in the Undiscovered Manager category. The firm, whose two funds were added to the Morningstar funds to watch list last year, is run by former senior vice president and managing director of Swiss group Vontobel Asset Management Rajiv Jain, who also serves as portfolio manager for each of the firm's strategies.

GQG has garnered great interest from investors in its two local funds, with net assets under management swelling since its inception in June 2017.

Eyes will also be on Fidelity Future Leader portfolio manager James Abela, who has taken out the Domestic Equities - Small Caps category in the past two years.

Award finalists and winners are determined by a combination of qualitative research by Morningstar's manager research analysts; risk-adjusted medium- to long-term performance track records; and performance in the 2019 calendar year.

To receive the overall Fund Manager of the Year award, a fund manager must have offered products in multiple award categories or delivered an outstanding outcome for investors.

Who will win? We’ll have to wait until the big reveal on Friday 28 February. Until then, the full list of finalists can be read below:

Morningstar Australia Awards finalists by category

Fund Manager of the Year

Fidelity International
Hyperion Asset Management
Western Asset Management

Undiscovered Manager

GAM Systematic Alternative Risk Premia
GQG Partners
Legg Mason Western Asset Global Bond

Domestic Equities - Large Cap

Greencape Capital
Hyperion Asset Management
Platypus Asset Management

Domestic Equities - Small Caps

Fidelity International
First Sentier Investors
Hyperion Asset Management

Fixed Interest

Colonial First State FirstChoice Investments
Legg Mason Western Asset
PIMCO Australia

Global Equities

Franklin Global Growth
VanEck Vectors QUAL
Zurich Global Growth (American Century Investments)

Listed Property & Infrastructure

Cromwell Property Group
Magellan Global Infrastructure
Pendal Group


Advance Asset Management
Vanguard Investments Australia