Morningstar and Lipper are third party data providers.  They collect mutual fund, stock, hedge fund, and/or variable annuity information from several sources and provide that data to advisers and retail investors alike.  Lipper is relied upon more heavily within the industry as Morningstar was originally designed to serve the retail public.  Both firms have a deep bench of top-notch analysts and are thought-leaders in the investment marketplace.

Each year Lipper chooses the top firms in all of their categories and Morningstar chooses the top managers in three categories.  In 2010 Morningstar took it one step further and announced Morningstar Fund Managers of the Decade.  Here are their picks:

Morningstar Fund Managers of the Decade:

Fixed Income:  Bill Gross (PIMCO Total Return)
Domestic Equity:  Bruce Berkowitz (Fairholme)
Foreign Equity:  David Herro (Oakmark International)
Morningstar Fund Managers of the Year:
Fixed-Income:  Team at Loomis Sayles Bond (Dan Fuss, Kathleen Gafney, Matthew Eagan, Elaine Stokes
Domestic Equity:  Bruce Berkowitz (Fairholme)
Foreign Equity:  Team at American Funds EuroPacific Growth (Stephen Bepler, Mark Denning, Robert W. Lovelace, Carl Kawaja, Sung Lee, Nicholas Grace, Jonathan Knowles, and Jesper Lyckeus)
Lipper Fund Awards 2010:

Large Firm for Equities:  PIMCO
Small Firm for Equities:  Parnassus Investments
Large Firm for Fixed Income:  Loomis Sayles & Company
Small Firm for Fixed Income:  State Farm Inv. Mgmt Corp.
Large Firm for Mixed Assets:  Janus
Small Firm for Mixed Assets:  Ridgeworth
Large Firm Overall:  T. Rowe Price
Small Firm Overall:  RidgeWorth
If you are interested in researching investment managers you may want to begin with the winners listed above.