Standard & Poor's Fund Services has awarded an AA rating to Old Mutual Asset Management's new smaller companies fund, two weeks before its launch.
OMAM's Select fund, due to start on January 29, was awarded the rating on the back of star fund manager Ashton Brad bury's past performance at his previous inv estment houses.
Only a handful of funds have been given a rating before their launch.
S&P's report on the fund highlights Bradbury's top performance at Hill Samuel and HSBC bet ween 1991 and 1998 but discards his more recent poor performance at Hill Samuel in 1999.
It says: “Given the shortness of his tenure as manager during 1999 and the extent of portfolio restructuring required, we do not consider that the performance of that fund can be seen as a fair reflection of Bradbury's abilities.”
Sceptics have voiced concerns that awarding a rating to a new fund could undermine the value of the S&P's rating service.
S&P Fund Services head of research James Chew says: “We look at the manager's previous track record and consider whe ther a similar style of inv estment and similar team can be continued.
“If we are satisfied that it can be continued, we are happy to award a rating to a new fund.”