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Only two US funds get top AAA ratings

Merrill Lynch Investment Managers has had three of its US funds downgraded by Standard & Poor&#39s Fund Services due to “lack of consistency in its management approach”.

The Mercury OST North American, Mercury Selected North American and Merrill Lynch American funds were all downgraded to AA from AAA ratings in the latest S&P review of the sector.

Merrill Lynch disputes S&P&#39s reasoning. MLIM managing director Julian Ide says: “We would not agree that we have changed our valuation criteria. There are times in any portfolio where the time-horizon for assessing projected future returns can vary.”

Dresdner RCM received the most favourable review from S&P, with two of its US funds – the Dresdner global distributor and Dresdner North American Trust – being upgraded from AA status to AAA.

Despite a volatile year in US markets, the North American sector was up by 24.3 per cent over the 12 months to November. However, the average return on a US fund has dropped by around 20 per cent in the past three months after stockmarket falls before Christmas.

S&P European head of research James Tew says: “It is notable this year that only two funds achieved AAA-rated status. This reflects the extremely difficult challenge of providing consistently strong performance over each of the past three years, a period marked by substantial volatility in the technology sector.”


Artemis branches out

Artemis Investment Management is adding the European growth fund to its range of unit trusts. Artemis has, until now, focused on the UK market. But its appointment of Philip Wolstencroft – formerly of Merrill Lynch – as head of European equity has been the catalyst for a new direction. The fund will invest in Europe […]

Equity-release plans cost West Brom £27m

West Bromwich Building Society last week finally admitted it has paid out nearly £27m in legal bills and compensation following its High Court battle with customers missold equity-release plans in 1980s and early 1990s. The society has been left with the bill following inappropriate sales to pensioners by financial adviser Fisher Prew Smith. The economic […]

Jupiter moves greenwards with new trust

Summing up, Snowden comments: “There may or may not be extra interest from investors who have seen recent AITC ‘its’ advertising on the TV. I hope that those who have not liked the TV advertising are not put off what looks like a very attractive investment opportunity.”Finally Rutter says: “Global investment trusts with a green […]

Clarke wins financial sales award

Millfield Partnership co-founder Paul Clarke was named financial sales professional of the year at the Institute of Professional Sales awards dinner on Thursday. The other finalists were David Morgan of Morgan Independent Financial Services and Darren Coughlan and Keith Dobson, both from Portman Building Society. The financial sales award was sponsored by Belgium-based software developer […]


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