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It was the shock felt round the world. Ben Bernanke’s suggestion earlier this year that the Federal Reserve Board might begin to reduce its bond purchases roiled emerging markets. Currencies and stock prices fell sharply from Brazil to Indonesia as the prospect of tighter global liquidity prompted panicky investors to withdraw massive amounts of funds from those countries’ securities markets.

For Devan Kaloo the market’s indiscriminate reaction to a possible shift in U.S. monetary policy was a signal to buy, not a reason to rush for the exits. Kaloo oversees more than $60 billion in assets as head of global emerging-markets equities at Aberdeen Asset Management in London, and in recent months he and his team have been adding to existing positions in Brazil, India, Indonesia and Turkey, four of the countries hardest hit by the recent turmoil. It was a gutsy contrarian call considering the severity of the selling pressure, but the manager puts more faith in Aberdeen’s bottom-up stock-picking capabilities than in the sometimes violent swings in sentiment toward emerging markets.

“The most exciting times for us are periods of great volatility,” says Kaloo. “It means good companies and bad companies are getting dumped. There’s no distinction being made about the quality of companies. And that should ideally be an opportunity for us to capitalize on.”

Kaloo’s sangfroid in the face of market turbulence is emblematic of his firm’s fundamental approach to active equity management. It’s also the reason Aberdeen is the winner of Institutional Investor’s first-ever European Investment Management Award in the Emerging-Markets Equity category.

II screened hundreds of managers and picked the leading ones based on short- and long-term performance and Sharpe ratios, using data from fund information provider eVestment. We then consulted with a select group of European fund sponsors to identify the winners in 20 investment categories spanning equities, fixed income, alternatives and emerging markets.

For many of these companies, the secret of success is sticking with tried-and-true formulas and resisting the increasingly short-term focus of financial markets.

“If you change your process, you’re dead,” says Martin Gilbert, chief executive of Aberdeen, which is based in its namesake Scottish city but runs most of its £202 billion ($327 billion) in assets out of London. “We just have to weather the storm of fashion. We keep fully invested and don’t try to trade. Just buy good companies and hold them.”