Like most industries, the investment business has fashions. For years bonds were passe - the reserve of the old and the geeky. If you were too scared to take the heat of the securities kitchen, get into the play pen of bond funds. One big dose of volatility soon put paid to that notion. Investors burned in risky equity investments have learned the value of risk management, and bonds are most definitely a la mode. Robert Kyprianou, global head of fixed income at ABN AMRO, said one of the key features of his company's investment approach was strong risk management. 'We do not take large bets in one particular strategy,' he said, adding that the group adopted a policy of diversifying investment strategies so that the exposure to negative fallout from any of these was controlled. While this meant that it was unlikely the fund would see stratospheric returns, 'when we have a bad period, it is not too bad'. This kind of investment approach should pay dividends over longer periods, Mr Kyprianou said. The reduced appetite for risk among investors also meant that they were focusing not only on the returns that fund managers could offer, but on the risks they took with their capital to get them. ABN AMRO took two prizes in the three-year section, with its Germany Bond fund and the Europe Bond fund. Returns over the period were 6.2 per cent and 33.35 per cent. The German fund saw a 12-month return of 19.12 per cent against the industry average of 17.42 per cent. In the five-year sector, Merrill Lynch Mercury Asset Management Asia picked up first for US dollar investments with its Mercury Selected Trust US Dollar Global Bond fund. Investors would have received a return of 42.29 per cent on their investments over the period. The fund also won in the three- year category, with a return of 30.31 per cent. Credit Agricole Indosuez Bank picked up first in the European fixed income category, with the Groupe Indosuez European Bond fund taking home 59.52 per cent over five years. Coutts Fund Managers picked up three first prizes, two for the same fund, in the global, Europe and sterling categories. The Deutschemark Income fund saw returns over the period of 39.75 per cent, while the Global Income GBP fund posted a 71.90 per cent return. Gilts have been an investment success story during the past few years, with very high gains at low risk. Dresdner RCM Global Investor took first in the sterling funds sector, with a three-year return of 53.8 per cent. The return over 12 months was 20.11 per cent, compared with a group average of 16.55 per cent.