March 13, 2019

Morningstar Assigns New Analyst Ratings to 18 Strategies, Including Four Collective Investment Trusts; Upgrades Five Strategies; and Downgrades 10 in February 2019

CHICAGO, March 13, 2019 /PRNewswire/ -- Morningstar, Inc. (Nasdaq: MORN), a leading provider of independent investment research, has published a summary of Morningstar Analyst Rating™ activity for 154 U.S. strategies that occurred in February 2019. Strategies include all vehicles that Morningstar covers, including open-end mutual funds, exchange-traded funds (ETFs), separately managed accounts (SMAs), target-date series, and new this month, collective investment trusts (CITs). The Morningstar Analyst Rating represents Morningstar's conviction in the strategy's ability to outperform on a risk-adjusted basis over the long term. The five-tiered, qualitative Morningstar Analyst Rating scale has three positive levels, indicating Morningstar Medalists—Gold, Silver, and Bronze—in addition to Neutral and Negative ratings.

In February 2019, Morningstar's manager research group assigned new ratings to 18 U.S. strategies, including four CIT target-date series, and affirmed 118 strategies. Five strategies were upgraded, 10 were downgraded, and three were placed under review. 

"Collective investment trusts are increasingly common in larger 401(k) retirement plans, and we're excited to add CITs to our growing coverage list," said Laura Pavlenko Lutton, Morningstar's North American practice leader, manager research. "We introduced the Morningstar Analyst Rating for CITs in November, and we added some industry-leading CIT target-date series to coverage in February. Our approach to rating CITs is consistent with Morningstar's forward-looking, global research philosophy."

The following Analyst Rating changes occurred in February 2019:


Vehicle Type

Previous Morningstar

Analyst Rating

Current Morningstar

Analyst Rating

New Ratings




American Century Retirement Target-Date Series

CIT

None

Neutral

BlackRock LifePath Index Target-Date Series

CIT

None

Gold

Ashmore Emerging Markets Frontier Equity

Mutual Fund

None

Neutral

Columbia Small Cap Growth

Mutual Fund

None

Neutral

Dolan McEniry Investment Grade

SMA

None

Neutral

Fidelity Advisor International Small Cap Opportunities

Mutual Fund

None

Silver

Goldman Sachs Strategic Growth

Mutual Fund

None

Neutral

JPMCB SmartRetirement Target-Date Series

CIT

None

Gold

MassMutual Select TRP Retirement Target-Date Series  

Mutual Fund

None

Silver

M.D. Sass 2-Year Fixed Income

SMA

None

Neutral

M.D. Sass Core Fixed-Income

SMA

None

Neutral

T. Rowe Price Institutional Floating Rate

Mutual Fund

None

Silver

T. Rowe Price Institutional High Yield

Mutual Fund

None

Bronze

T. Rowe Price Retirement Target-Date Series

CIT

None

Silver

Virtus KAR International Small-Cap

Mutual Fund

None

Bronze 

Voya Global Equity Dividend

SMA

None

Negative

Voya High Yield Bond

Mutual Fund

None

Neutral

Voya SmallCap Opportunities Portfolio

Mutual Fund

None

Neutral





Upgrades




Baird Aggregate Bond

Mutual Fund

Silver

Gold

Baird Core Plus Bond

Mutual Fund

Silver

Gold

Baird Short-Term Bond

Mutual Fund

Silver

Gold

BlackRock LifePath Target-Date Series  

Mutual Fund

Neutral

Bronze

PIMCO Emerging Markets Local Currency and Bond

Mutual Fund

Neutral

Bronze





Downgrades




Columbia High Yield Bond

Mutual Fund

Bronze

Neutral

Dreyfus Opportunistic Midcap Value

Mutual Fund

Bronze

Neutral

Hartford Schroders US S/M-Cap Opportunities

Mutual Fund

Silver

Bronze

Hartford Schroders US Small Cap Opportunities

Mutual Fund

Silver

Bronze

Neuberger Berman High Income Bond

Mutual Fund

Silver

Bronze

T. Rowe Price Global Technology

Mutual Fund

Silver

Neutral

T. Rowe Price New Horizons

Mutual Fund

Gold

Bronze

Templeton Foreign

Mutual Fund

Bronze

Neutral

USAA International

Mutual Fund

Bronze

Neutral

USAA World Growth

Mutual Fund

Silver

Neutral





Under Review




Fidelity Advisor Emerging Markets

Mutual Fund

Bronze

Under Review

Fidelity Independence

Mutual Fund

Neutral

Under Review

Fidelity Magellan

Mutual Fund

Neutral

Under Review

A list of the Analyst Ratings for 107 U.S. funds, five target-date series, and six SMAs that Morningstar affirmed in February is available here.  

As of Feb 28. 2019, Morningstar analysts had assigned a Morningstar Analyst Rating of Gold to 200 unique U.S. funds, a Silver rating to 416 funds, a Bronze rating to 624 funds, a Neutral rating to 736 funds, and a Negative rating to 31 funds. Morningstar Medalists currently account for approximately five percent of unique mutual funds available for sale in the United States and 62 percent of assets under management. Morningstar's manager research analysts rate approximately $12.2 trillion of U.S. investor assets, or approximately 69 percent of total investor assets in the United States.

A summary of last month's Morningstar Analyst Rating changes for U.S. funds is available on Morningstar.com in the latest Fund Spy: Medalist Edition here.  

Morningstar launched its Analyst Rating for funds and Global Fund Reports in December 2011. Morningstar Medalists—Gold-, Silver-, and Bronze-rated funds—are funds that analysts determine are likely to outperform their peer groups and/or relevant benchmarks on a risk-adjusted basis over a market cycle of at least five years. The differences between the positive ratings indicate the level of the analyst's conviction in a fund's future performance. Analysts arrive at a rating through an evaluation of five key pillars: People, Process, Parent, Performance, and Price. The Analyst Rating methodology for mutual funds is available here and for ETFs here. The Analyst Rating methodology for SMAs and CITs is available here.

To view a complete list and supporting analysis for Analyst Ratings for U.S. funds, please visit www.morningstar.com. Premium Members have access to a Morningstar Medalists screener, where users can sort funds by Morningstar Rating, Morningstar Analyst Rating, Fund Family, Manager Tenure, Expense Ratio, and other metrics. Morningstar's Global Fund Reports, in-depth research reports that include a wealth of data and analysis, are available in Morningstar DirectSM, the company's web-based global investment analysis platform for institutional investors, and in Morningstar OfficeSM, a global practice and portfolio management solution for advisors.

Morningstar has approximately 120 manager research analysts worldwide. The company provides data on approximately 244,150 open-end mutual funds, 12,530 closed-end funds, and 16,920 exchange-traded product listings as of Dec. 31, 2018.

About Morningstar, Inc.
Morningstar, Inc. is a leading provider of independent investment research in North America, Europe, Australia, and Asia. The company offers an extensive line of products and services for individual investors, financial advisors, asset managers, retirement plan providers and sponsors, and institutional investors in the private capital markets. Morningstar provides data and research insights on a wide range of investment offerings, including managed investment products, publicly listed companies, private capital markets, and real-time global market data. Morningstar also offers investment management services through its investment advisory subsidiaries, with more than $193 billion in assets under advisement and management as of Dec. 31, 2018. The company has operations in 27 countries. For more information, visit www.morningstar.com/company. Follow Morningstar on Twitter @MorningstarInc.

Morningstar's Manager Research Group consists of various wholly owned subsidiaries of Morningstar, Inc. including, but not limited to, Morningstar Research Services LLC. Analyst Ratings are subjective in nature and should not be used as the sole basis for investment decisions. Analyst Ratings are based on Morningstar's Manager Research Group's current expectations about future events and therefore involve unknown risks and uncertainties that may cause such expectations not to occur or to differ significantly from what was expected. Analyst Ratings are not guarantees nor should they be viewed as an assessment of a fund's or a fund's or separately managed account's underlying securities' creditworthiness. This press release is for informational purposes only; references to securities or a separately managed account investment strategy in this press release should not be considered an offer or solicitation to buy or sell the securities or to invest in accordance with that strategy.

©2019 Morningstar, Inc. All rights reserved.

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Mary Kate Marchesi, +1 312 348-3180 or marykate.marchesi@morningstar.com
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