One of the bitter ironies of the global financial crisis is that even the most risk-­averse institutional investors, who tilted their portfolios primarily if not exclusively toward developed markets, sustained devastating losses and subsequently have been compelled to take on more risk — like it or not — in search of growth rates that are hard to find in Europe and the U.S.

[To view the complete list of winning firms, along with the full roster of ranked teams, go to the  2011 Emerging-Markets Equity & Fixed-Income Research Team.]

“There has been an increase in appetite for riskier assets, and emerging markets have the potential to develop superior economic growth,” observes Mark Iannotti, head of research for Emerging Europe, the Middle East and Africa for BofA Merrill Lynch Global Research in London. “Emerging markets have been a great source of interest for investors.”

Interest, yes — but also concern. Investors burned in the global meltdown may be more willing to consider emerging markets, but they are also quick to pull out at the first sign of trouble. Just last month EMEA equity-­fund redemptions hit their highest level in nearly three years, according to EPFR Global, a mutual fund tracking firm headquartered in ­Cambridge, ­Massachusetts. Year-to-date through late May, those funds have seen net outflows of $8.6 billion, largely because of ongoing worries about Europe’s sovereign-­debt crisis and its impact on growth across the region, EPFR reports.

....