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From the category archives: Ratings Roundup

Ratings Roundup

Premier Asset Management plc and Miton Group plc proposed merger

Following the announcement on Wednesday 4th September 2019, regarding the proposed merger of Premier Asset Management plc and Miton Group plc, we can confirm that we have not made any changes at this stage to the ratings of funds from either group. Completion of the deal is subject to shareholder and regulatory approval and therefore we do not anticipate either business making any changes to their funds until the merger is complete. This is expected to be in November 2019. We will provide further updates in due course.

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Square Mile upgrades the ratings on the AXA Global Short Duration Bonds, Fidelity Moneybuilder Income and Fidelity Extra Income funds

We are delighted to announce that we have upgraded the AXA Global Short Duration Bonds fund from a positive prospect to a A. Whilst this is a relatively new fund, we believe that it has got off to a good start, with the manager applying a considered process and making good use of the extensive resources in short-dated fixed income which are available at AXA IM. In addition, we are very pleased to reinstate the ratings on the Fidelity Moneybuilder Income and Fidelity Extra Income funds, both at A.

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Square Mile introduces the Man GLG Innovation Equity Alternative fund to the Academy of Funds

We are pleased to announce that we have awarded an A rating to the Man GLG Innovation Equity Alternative fund. This fund is a rare example in the IA Targeted Absolute Return sector of a highly-hedged equity long/short fund in which net market exposure is maintained at a low level in order to minimise directional stock market risk. The manager has a good track record of generating returns on both long and short investments, and the fund should have a low correlation with global stock market indices.

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Rating upgrade for the Fidelity European fund

We are pleased to announce that we have decided to upgrade the rating of the Fidelity European fund to AA. Our conviction in the fund's manager, Sam Morse, has grown over time. He has a long-term approach, essentially seeking to invest in blue chip companies that can consistently grow their dividends and are attractively priced. Mr Morse has a history of acting as a safe pair of hands in the management of the funds that he has run, and we believe with this fund he has delivered, and will continue to provide long-term investors with an attractive exposure to the region.

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Reinstatement for the Threadneedle European Select fund

We are pleased to announce that we have lifted our suspended rating of the Threadneedle European Select fund and are replacing it with an A rating. Since the departure of the previous co-manager, Mark Nichols, and two other members of the team, we have met with the new management pairing of long serving co-manager, David Dudding, and the more recently appointed co-manager, Benjamin Moore....

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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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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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