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From the category archives: Ratings Roundup

Ratings Roundup

Rating Change for the LF Lindsell Train UK Equity fund

Following an extensive review of the LF Lindsell Train UK Equity fund, we have taken the difficult decision to downgrade the fund’s rating from AAA to A; an action we feel is appropriate because of our increasing concerns over the fund’s liquidity profile. Over the past few years, the fund has delivered strong performance both in absolute terms and versus its benchmark, the FTSE All Share index. This has undoubtedly led to the strategy attracting a large body of assets following an investment approach that results in a low turnover and highly concentrated portfolio. Given the current liquidity levels within the underlying stocks held, we believe there could be significant issues should the fund experience a prolonged period of and/or a sizeable level of redemptions. We would like to highlight that the fund has consistently met its performance objective and we retain conviction in the manager’s ability to continue to deliver this over the long term. However, given our concerns around the fund ...

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Square Mile introduces the EdenTree Amity Short Dated Bond fund to the Academy of Funds

We are delighted to announce that we have awarded a Responsible A rating to the EdenTree Amity Short Dated Bond fund. Square Mile Responsible ratings are awarded to funds which include within their objectives or mandates an element that explicitly aims to have a positive impact on society and/or the environment, as well as to deliver on their stated financial objective. In our view, this fund, which is managed by Chris Hiorns and David Katimbo-Mugwanya meets this requirement.

Launched in 2017, it is run using the group's long established 'profits with principles' approach, which is focused on investing in high quality companies that do not cause harm to either the environment or to society. The group and its investment teams have an impressive heritage of responsible investment and we like that is clearly translated into this easy to understand, high quality short-dated bond fund which is focused on capital preservation. We believe this to be a compelling investment option for responsibly minded, low risk investors.

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Woodford Equity Income fund removed from the Academy of Funds

In light of today's announcement, we have spoken with Woodford Investment Management (WIM) and can confirm that the Woodford Equity Income fund has now entered the process of being wound up. This decision was made by the fund's ACD, Link, who have removed WIM as the fund's investment manager and appointed BlackRock Advisers to manage the liquid element of the portfolio and PJT Partners to manage the illiquid portion of the fund. The name of the fund will also be amended to reflect this change. Once regulatory approval has been granted, the fund will become the LF Equity Income fund until it is closed.

The fund's assets will continue to be repositioned but with a focus on being wound up. Once the winding up of the fund commences on the 17th January 2020, it will move to an orderly realisation of its assets. Further information is available from Link's website, which can be accessed via the following link.

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Rating suspension for the Stewart Investors funds

As a result of further departures from the Stewart Investors Investment team we have decided to suspend our ratings on the Stewart Investors Worldwide Sustainability (Responsible A rating), Stewart Investors Indian Subcontinent Sustainability (Responsible AA rating), Stewart Investors Asia Pacific Sustainability and Stewart Investors Asia Pacific Leaders funds (both Responsible AAA rating).

This decision was driven by the news that Jonathan Asante and Tom Allen have decided to leave the group. It follows the very recent departure of Ashish Swarup, who managed the Stewart Investors Global Emerging Market Leaders fund, and left the group last month.

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Rating suspension for the Stewart Investors Global Emerging Markets Leaders fund

Following the recent announcement that Ashish Swarup has resigned from Stewart Investors and departed the firm with immediate effect, we have decided to suspend the fund's Responsible AA rating.

The fund will now be managed by Tom Prew, who has been co-manager on the fund since October 2016 and with the business since 2006, and Chris Grey. We plan to meet with the new managers shortly in order to understand their long term aspirations for the fund and will post further updates accordingly.

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Rating suspension for the M&G Property Portfolio fund

Following a recent review of the M&G Property Portfolio we have suspended the recommended rating of the fund. The cash level of the fund as disclosed by M&G at the end of August was 6.5% which is just outside the fund's usual cash range of 7.5% to 12.5%. Given this is an open ended daily dealing property fund, we would prefer to see the fund within its typical cash range and we will continue to monitor its cash levels and fund flows for now.

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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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