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Funds that beat their benchmarks
It's easy for clients to view investing as an absolute game. But unless they’re a hedge fund, investing is relative. Any mutual fund performance is most meaningful when compared against the broader market or some other yardstick. If an industry benchmark returned 15%, then a mutual fund in that same category can't very well brag about its 12% return.

On the other hand, a return of 3% can have value for clients who want to be diversified, if the benchmark posted a loss.

Scroll through to see the 20 best mutual funds for the past three years, on an annualized basis, compared against their respective benchmarks.

All data from Morningstar as of June 23.
FP-062817-20
20. RMB Mendon Financial Services (RMBKX)
3-Yr. Return: 18.80%
Return Over Benchmark (% points): 7.37
Expense Ratio: 1.40%
Fund Assets (millions): $557
FP-062817-19
19. DoubleLine Shiller Enhanced CAPE (DSENX)
3-Yr. Return: 15.12%
Return Over Benchmark (% points): 7.42
Expense Ratio: 0.85%
Fund Assets (millions): $4,052
FP-062817-18
18. Franklin Gold and Precious Metals (FGPMX)
3-Yr. Return: 0.53%
Return Over Benchmark (% points): 7.70
Expense Ratio: 0.59%
Fund Assets (millions): $1,083
FP-062817-17
17. Fidelity Select Medical Equip & Systems (FSMEX)
3-Yr. Return: 18.47%
Return Over Benchmark (% points): 7.80
Expense Ratio: 0.76%
Fund Assets (millions): $3,705
FP-062817-16
16. Oppenheimer Gold & Special Minerals (OPGSX)
3-Yr. Return: 1.12%
Return Over Benchmark (% points): 8.29
Expense Ratio: 1.17%
Fund Assets (millions): $1,085
FP-062817-15
15. Invesco Balanced-Risk Commodity Strat (IBRFX)
3-Yr. Return: -9.53%
Return Over Benchmark (% points): 8.62
Expense Ratio: 1.13%
Fund Assets (millions): $765
FP-062817-14
14. T. Rowe Price Real Assets (PRAFX)
3-Yr. Return: -1.00%
Return Over Benchmark (% points): 8.77
Expense Ratio: 0.84%
Fund Assets (millions): $3,353
FP-062817-13
13. VanEck International Investors Gold (INIVX)
3-Yr. Return: 1.70%
Return Over Benchmark (% points): 8.880
Expense Ratio: 1.35%
Fund Assets (millions): $682
FP-062817-12
12. Matthews India Investor (MINDX)
3-Yr. Return: 14.79%
Return Over Benchmark (% points): 8.884
Expense Ratio: 1.12%
Fund Assets (millions): $2,157
FP-062817-11
11. Fidelity Select Gold (FSAGX)
3-Yr. Return: 2.09%
Return Over Benchmark (% points): 9.26
Expense Ratio: 0.84%
Fund Assets (millions): $1,468
FP-062817-10
10. First Eagle Gold (SGGDX)
3-Yr. Return: 2.23%
Return Over Benchmark (% points): 9.41
Expense Ratio: 1.27%
Fund Assets (millions): $1,222
FP-062817-09
9. Virtus KAR Small-Cap Growth (PSGAX)
3-Yr. Return: 18.12%
Return Over Benchmark (% points): 9.53
Expense Ratio: 1.50%
Fund Assets (millions): $926
FP-062817-08
8. Deutsche Enhanced Commodity Strat (SKSRX)
3-Yr. Return: -8.13%
Return Over Benchmark (% points): 10.02
Expense Ratio: 1.17%
Fund Assets (millions): $2,667
FP-062817-07
7. T. Rowe Price Media & Telecomms (PRMTX)
3-Yr. Return: 14.79%
Return Over Benchmark (% points): 10.126
Expense Ratio: 0.79%
Fund Assets (millions): $4,401
FP-062817-06
6. Lazard Global Listed Infrastructure (GLFOX)
3-Yr. Return: 14.16%
Return Over Benchmark (% points): 10.127
Expense Ratio: 1.22%
Fund Assets (millions): $5,106
FP-062817-05
5. Oppenheimer Global Opportunities (OPGIX)
3-Yr. Return: 16.11%
Return Over Benchmark (% points): 10.44
Expense Ratio: 1.18%
Fund Assets (millions): $5,352
FP-062817-04
4. Fidelity Advisor Materials (FMFAX)
3-Yr. Return: 1.53%
Return Over Benchmark (% points): 11.30
Expense Ratio: 1.07%
Fund Assets (millions): $1,552
FP-062817-03
3. Morgan Stanley Inst Global Opp (MGGPX)
3-Yr. Return: 17.18%
Return Over Benchmark (% points): 11.87
Expense Ratio: 1.17%
Fund Assets (millions): $1,127
FP-062817-02
2. AllianzGI Global Water (AWTAX)
3-Yr. Return: 4.46%
Return Over Benchmark (% points): 14.23
Expense Ratio: 1.49%
Fund Assets (millions): $589
FP-062817-01
1. Fidelity Select Chemicals (FSCHX)
3-Yr. Return: 6.54%
Return Over Benchmark (% points): 16.31
Expense Ratio: 0.79%
Fund Assets (millions): $1,591