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From the category archives: Ratings Roundup

Ratings Roundup

Fund Rating Removal

We have taken the decision to remove the rating of the Kames UK Equity Absolute Return fund.

The fund has delivered negative returns in each of the last three calendar years and has therefore failed to meet its investment objective for an extended period of time.

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Square Mile introduces the BlackRock European Absolute Alpha fund to the Academy of Funds

We are pleased to introduce the BlackRock European Absolute Alpha fund into the Academy of Funds with a A rating. 

The fund aims to provide a positive return over any twelve month period in all market conditions by making long and short investments in equities, predominantly of European companies. It is managed with very low net market exposure, typically between -10% and +10%, which insulates performance to a high degree from broad trends in European stock markets.

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JPM Unconstrained Bond fund reinstated

We are pleased to announce the reinstatement of our A rating on the JPM Unconstrained Bond fund. We had previously suspended the rating following the departure of one of the fund's co-managers, Nick Gartside.

We have since met with the remaining management team of the fund and are confident that the fund's managers, Iain Stealey and Bob Michele, have ample experience and capabilities to continue managing this fund to the best interests of investors.

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Fund Removal and Suspension

Following the announcement that Mike Amey, portfolio manager on the PIMCO Select UK Income Bond and PIMCO Global LIBOR Plus Bond funds is to retire in June, we have removed our rating on the former and suspended our rating on the latter.

Mr Amey has managed the PIMCO Select UK Income Bond fund since its inception and our conviction around this strategy is largely based on him as a manager. We have therefore removed our rating on the fund, although we hope to meet with his successor in due course and will continue to monitor the strategy.

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Fund Rating Removal

Following an extensive and successful career, this Schroder Tokyo fund's longstanding manager, Andrew Rose, will be retiring in June 2019. Upon his departure, Mr Rose will be handing over the management of the fund to Masaki Taketsume. Based in London, Mr Taketsume joined Schroders in 2007 and has been working closely with Mr Rose in recent years, as he has transitioned from an analyst into a fund manager role.

Our conviction in this fund's rating was predominantly based on the investment experience of Mr Rose and the process which he has built over the course of his career. Although we acknowledge that Mr Taketsume has been working with Mr Rose in recent years, his fund management capabilities are yet to be tested independently, in what is a complex and challenging market.

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Fund Rating Removals

Following the news that co-manager, Andrew McCarthy, is no longer a named manager (with effect from 30th January 2019) and is due to leave the firm in the coming months, we have decided to remove our ratings of the Janus Henderson European Focus and Janus Henderson European Selected Opportunities funds.

We had previously suspended the AA ratings of both funds in November 2017 upon three departures within the Henderson Pan European Equity team...

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Square Mile introduces the Liontrust Sustainable Future Corporate Bond, Vanguard SRI Global Stock and Vanguard SRI European Stock funds to the Academy of Funds

We are delighted to announce a bolstering to the responsible investment funds that we recommend on the Square Mile Academy of Funds.

We have awarded the Liontrust Sustainable Future Corporate Bond fund an A rating and the Vanguard SRI Global Stock and Vanguard SRI European Stock funds 'Recommended' ratings respectively.

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Fund manager changes at Merian Global Investors

Richard Buxton has stepped down as CEO of Merian Global Investors (MGI) with immediate effect in order to solely focus on investment matters. Although he will remain on the firm's board, he has passed over CEO responsibilities to MGI's former non-executive director Mark Gregory.

Mr Buxton remains invested in the business and as head of UK equities. He will also remain as manager of the Merian UK Alpha fund, and therefore we will continue to support the strategy with a AA rating.

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Fund Suspension

Following the news that long-time manager of the JPM Unconstrained Bond fund, Nick Gartside, is leaving JP Morgan, we have suspended our A rating on the fund. Co-manager, Iain Stealey, remains in place, as do the wider team who feed into this fund, and this gives us comfort. We would, however, like to meet Mr Stealey and hear what plans JP Morgan have to further strengthen the management team of this fund. We have suspended our rating whilst JP Morgan make any changes and we have a chance to assess them properly.

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Fund rating change for the AXA UK Select Opportunities fund

Following an extensive and successful career, this fund's longstanding manager, Nigel Thomas, will be retiring in March 2019. In preparation for his departure, he will be handing over the management of this fund to the fund's co-manager, Chris St John, on the 31st December 2018. Mr St John has been the manager of the A rated AXA Framlington UK Mid Cap fund since 2011, and he has also been the manager of this fund's offshore equivalent, the AXA World Funds Framlington UK fund, since its launch in 2016.

We acknowledge Mr St John's experience and long-term track record running UK mid and small cap equities strategies, but his fund management capabilities are yet to be fully tested at the upper end of the market cap range.

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