PIMCO and Vanguard received the most favorable impression ratings among prospective institutional investors on Cogent Research's Investor Brandscape 2011, a market research report that examines the attitudes and behaviors of institutional investors, including asset manager preferences. The report is based on a survey among 650 pension and nonprofit institutions with a minimum of $20 million in assets.

On a scale of one to 10, more than two-thirds of prospective institutional investors in the pension and nonprofit market rated PIMCO "very" or "extremely" favorably, and more than six in 10 viewed Vanguard in the same way.

Wellington Management Company is the only other firm to break the 50 percent mark in terms of strong favorability among pension prospects. In the nonprofit market, Grantham, Mayo, Van Otterloo and LSV Asset Management rival Vanguard with 60 percent and 57 percent favorability, respectively.

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