From the category archives: Ratings Roundup

Ratings Roundup

Aberdeen Standard Liquidity Awarded a Recommended Rating

We are pleased to announce that we have awarded the Aberdeen Standard Liquidity (Lux) - Sterling fund a recommended rating. We are impressed with the size and the strength of the liquidity team at Aberdeen Standard Investments, alongside their strong track record of preserving investors capital. We also believe the fund is well priced at an OCF of 10 basis points, which is imperative in the current ultra-low interest rate environment.

We must warn investors that, due to the current interest rate environment, even the best run funds in this sector may well provide a small negative monthly return to investors, net of fees. Currently this fund's OCF is in line with the Bank of England base rate and, all things being equal, we would expect the fund to provide an annualised return very close to 0.0% at present.

Legg Mason ClearBridge US Equity Sustainability Leaders Awarded a Responsible A Rating

We are delighted to announce that we have upgraded our rating of the Legg Mason ClearBridge US Equity Sustainability Leaders fund from Responsible Positive Prospect to Responsible A.

We believe the managers have consistently and successfully applied the investment approach, which has ultimately led to a good level of asset growth and a rewarding performance profile for its investors. In addition, Franklin Templeton has completed its acquisition of Legg Mason, since we initially awarded the Responsible Positive Prospect rating. All of these factors have led to an increase in our overall level of conviction in the strategy.

Wellington Global Impact Bond fund Awarded a Responsible Positive Prospect Rating

We are pleased to introduce the Wellington Global Impact Bond fund to the Academy of Funds with a Responsible Positive Prospect rating.

With a big commitment from Wellington, the fund follows a proprietary, clearly defined, impact process. Having launched in 2018, Wellington's Impact bond team have so far delivered a positive track record, providing investors with a high quality, core, global fixed income portfolio. This has been delivered alongside strong impact investing credentials that contribute to solutions to some of the world's major social and environmental challenges.

BNY Mellon Multi-Asset Balanced re-introduced into the Academy of Funds

We are pleased to re-introduce the BNY Mellon Multi-Asset Balanced fund into the Academy with an A rating. The fund was removed from the Academy in February 2018 following a number of changes to fund's long-term managers. The current team started managerial responsibility for the fund in January 2018 and make use of many of the same resources as the previous team, but their approach to asset allocation is different. Their approach is more pragmatic and benchmark aware and has less of an emphasis on capital preservation, with the latter being a feature of the previous team. We believe this fund may appeal to investors that have a long-term time horizon and who are looking for a multi-asset portfolio that will have a bias to equities. Key attractions we see of this fund are the conviction driven approach taken by the managers, the experience and tenure within the business of the lead manager, Simon Nichols, and the strength of the global analyst team that support the equity recommendations within the portfo ...

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PIMCO Mortgage Opportunities fund Awarded an AA Rating

We are delighted to award a AA rating to the PIMCO Mortgage Opportunities fund. We believe PIMCO has one of the strongest franchises in the industry to manage securitised assets, with an experienced and well-resourced team that includes over 60 securitised analysts in the US, Europe and Asia. We like the managers' mixed investment approach where they combine government guaranteed, agency, bonds with more traditional credit market instruments, aiming to produce returns above cash in any market environment.

The fund's global reach, with a focus on the US mortgage market, should offer an additional source of diversification to investors' portfolios. We also think the fund's limited correlation to equity and credit markets should prove attractive to investors.

Responsible A rating awarded to EdenTree Amity UK fund

We are delighted to announce that we have awarded a Responsible A rating to the EdenTree Amity UK fund. We hold this fund's managers, Sue Round and Ketan Patel, and their colleagues in the EdenTree Responsible Investment team in high regard and believe them to be both very competent and committed to the group's investment approach of 'profits with principles'. We see this fund as a very credible choice for investors seeking a responsible strategy in the IA UK All Companies sector.

AXA Framlington Managed Balanced retains A Rating

Following the news that Jamie Hooper, lead manager on the AXA Framlington Managed Balanced fund, is leaving AXA IM and the industry at the end of the year, we have decided to retain the fund’s A rating. Jamie Hooper is responsible for the UK equity element of the portfolio and the asset allocation. The remainder of the portfolio is managed by asset class specialists within AXA IM. He will be handing over management responsibility to Jamie Forbes-Wilson and David Shaw. Jamie Forbes-Wilson, manager of the AXA Distribution fund range, will also take over management of the UK equity portfolio. He and Mr Hooper have worked together for many years, as colleagues on the UK equity team. Mr Shaw, whilst not directly responsible for any of the underlying equity sleeves, will bring experience and support information flow on the global equity part of the portfolio, given his experience as a US equity manager. Mr Forbes-Wilson and Mr Shaw will decide on the asset allocation, however historically this has not bee ...

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New fund rating: Goldman Sachs Emerging Markets Equity Portfolio

We are pleased to introduce Goldman Sachs Emerging Markets Equity Portfolio to the Academy of Funds with an A Rating. We have been impressed with the two co-managers, Mr Hiren Dasani and Ms Basak Yavuz, since they took charge of this strategy in April 2017. The pair are experienced investors and they have sensibly continued to apply the successful investment process that was put in place by their predecessor. In addition, we have a high regard for the capability of the extensive analyst team, which is a crucial feature in a region where markets can be influenced by a host of factors. Stock contribution is expected to be the key driver of the fund's performance over the long term, as it is the primary focus of the two managers and a key attraction of this strategy. Investing in emerging markets is not without risks, but we see this fund as a sound long-term option for investors who are seeking broad exposure to the asset class and we think it will appeal to those who are looking for a more "blended" style of m ...

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Rating downgrade for the Artemis European Opportunities fund

Upon the recent news that the co-manager of the Artemis European Opportunities fund, Mark Page, will be retiring with immediate effect, leaving the fund to be solely managed by the existing co-manager, Laurent Millet, we have decided to downgrade our rating on the fund from AA to A.

Our rating downgrade is to reflect the loss of Mr Page's lengthy experience from the fund but having co-managed the fund alongside Mr Page since launch, we believe Mr Millet is a very capable investor and will continue to uphold the fund's investment philosophy and process.

Changes to Man GLG Japan Core Alpha fund

Following the recent news of the impending retirements of Mr Steve Harker and Mr Neil Edwards at the end of March 2021, we have decided to lower the Man GLG Japan CoreAlpha fund's AAA rating to AA. Jeff Atherton, who is a senior member of the team and has been with the firm since 2011, will be taking sole charge of the strategy. He will be closely supported by Adrian Edwards, who has been with the firm from 2014, and assistant portfolio managers, Emily Badger and Stephen Harget. The four are value investors and are strongly committed to maintaining the integrity of the philosophy and the process. The change of rating reflects the fact that the team are going to lose two very seasoned investors in this space, but also recognises our ongoing conviction in and high regard for Mr Atherton and his team.

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