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Product review: RSMR ratings and reviews

A fund ratings specialist has added three new services to its suite, with an aim to assist advisers with their due diligence.

Rayner Spencer Mills Research (RSMR) has developed several research and reporting channels to complement its existing fund rating system.

One part, the fund review service, will provide information and commentary on ‘managed solutions’, including multi-manager funds and multi-asset fund ranges. The service is designed to cover the growing trend of ‘suites’ of products that advisers can use as solutions for clients. Both passive and active options will be included.

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Another of the new launches is the fund analysis service, designed specifically to look at funds made available within the past 12 months that do not yet qualify for a full RSMR rating. The research firm will review the fund manager and supporting team, along with the fund itself and overall proposition, to provide an extensive qualitative review of new market entrants. Analysts will narrow down new launches to select those for review.

The third thread is profiles for funds that have already been rated. These will provide additional information, analysis and opinion on a fund’s strategy and management style to give advisers a behind-the-scenes view before deciding whether to recommend the fund.

All of the above will be free to use for advisers and available on the RSMR website.

www.raynerspencermills.co.uk

Comment

Fund rating is a competitive area. Several research companies, including Morningstar and Standard & Poor’s, attempt to whittle down the vast investment universe to the brightest and best.

RSMR already does its own version of this although presently, rather than providing rankings as such, a fund is either rated or it isn’t. However, these new propositions add something different to the marketplace in reviewing new launches and fund suites.

The general fund review service, although interesting, is probably the least dynamic; lots of places provide commentary on funds. It does, however, address the issue of advisers using external sources – rather than just the fund management’s own view of itself – that the regulator is concerned about.

Reviewing new funds is interesting as many agencies require a reasonable track record before they will give an opinion. This should help advisers who are interested in a new launch but want a greater depth of understanding before jumping in. You could argue that, as the past is no guide to the future, funds ratings agencies should not require past performance anyway. That said, RSMR is sticking its neck on the line to analyse a fund before its strategy has been proven.

Analysing suites of products will also be useful for advisers as many of these appeared post-RDR and few have a significant track record.