Insights

Rating removal for the Standard Life UK Real Estate fund

Following a recent review of the Standard Life UK Real Estate fund, we have decided to remove the fund from our Academy of Funds. It was planned that the Standard Life UK Real Estate fund and the Aberdeen UK property funds would merge in June of this year. We had previously suspended the recommended rating on the Standard Life fund while these two funds were in this transition period.

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Aberdeen Asset Management and Standard Life Investments change their fund names

Following the merger of Aberdeen Asset Management and Standard Life Investments in August 2017 and the subsequent integration of the investment teams. Both Aberdeen and Standard Life Investments have changed the name of their funds to ASI (Aberdeen Standard Investments). No changes have been made to the funds process and our ratings on each of the funds remain the same.

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Reinstatement for the BlackRock Continental European Income fund and rating removal for the BlackRock GF European Focus fund

We are pleased to announce that we have reinstated the rating of the BlackRock Continental European Income fund, at a reduced level of A (previously AA then suspended).

We have met with this fund's manager, Andreas Zoellinger, and other members of the wider BlackRock European team on several occasions since the departure of the fund's previous co-manager. In our opinion, the manager has demonstrated that he is capable and well equipped to run the fund on a sole basis.

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Downgrade for the Jupiter European Special Situations and JGF Jupiter European Opportunities funds

We have decided to reduce the ratings for the Jupiter European Special Situations and JGF Jupiter European Opportunities funds, both from AA to A. Whilst we continue to have a high regard for the manager, Cedric de Fonclare, he has been struggling to achieve his performance objectives in recent years, and we have therefore decided to reflect our lower conviction in the funds' ratings.

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Rating removal for the Jupiter European & JGF-Jupiter European Growth funds

We recently had a meeting with the newly-appointed manager, Mark Nichols, who will be co-managing the Jupiter European and JGF-Jupiter European Growth funds from the 1st of October 2019. He is in the process of building out a supporting team, who are due to join the group later on in the year. Mr Nichols is an experienced investor. However, in our opinion, whilst many of the manager's plans appear promising, it may take some time for the new team to fully settle in at Jupiter, and the portfolios to therefore reflect the new team's investment approach.

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Fund rating suspension on the BNY Mellon Real Return fund

Following the news that long-standing fund manager and strategist, Iain Stewart, is to retire in December 2019, we have suspended the AA rating of the BNY Mellon Real Return fund. The confirmation of Mr Stewart's retirement is not unexpected and Newton had been transitioning the roles and responsibilities of the Real Return team for some time. Indeed, he has not been involved in the day to day management of the fund since June 2018. However, prior to that he had been the lead manager on the strategy for many years and he continues to have a valuable input into the strategy followed by the Real Return team managing the fund.

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Fund rating removal for the Jupiter UK Growth fund

Following a prolonged period of review, we have taken the decision to remove the A rating from the Jupiter UK Growth fund. The fund has had a disappointing period of performance relative to its FTSE All Share index benchmark and we, unfortunately, have lost conviction in its ability to meet its long-term performance objective.

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Update on the suspension of the LF Woodford Equity Income fund

Link Fund Solutions has further reviewed the suspension of trading in the LF Woodford Equity Income fund and announced that it remains in the best interests of investors for the suspension to continue until at least early December. As a result, we are reaffirming that our rating on the fund remains suspended.

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Rating removal for the Artemis US Absolute Return fund

Following the news that fund manager Stephen Moore is leaving Artemis, we have removed our A rating on the Artemis US Absolute Return fund. We will meet with the new manager of the fund, William Warren, in due course, but felt it more prudent to allow him some time to settle into his new role.

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New Jupiter Talking Factsheets have been added to the Academy

We have added two new Talking Factsheets to the Square Mile Academy of Funds, featuring Research Manager, Amaya Assan and Head of Risk Based Solutions Research, Alex Farlow, reviewing the objectives and risks and giving their views on the funds.

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