Morningstar Fund Ratings: Weekly Round-up

Our analysts round-up the upgrades and downgrades to Morningstar Analyst Rated funds from the past week 

Patrick Ge 22 October, 2019 | 10:13AM

ratings

New Ratings

Pimco GIS StocksPLUS - Silver

Samiya Jmili

We have initiated coverage on PIMCO GIS StocksPLUS with a Morningstar Analyst Rating of Silver. This version is a sibling to the US-domiciled PIMCO StocksPLUS. It is a unique offering amongst US large-cap blend peers, including enhanced funds. It combines the performance of the S&P 500 with the returns of a short-term bond portfolio run by seasoned portfolio manager Mohsen Fahmi. He is supported by two comanagers (Jing Yang and Bryan Tsu) and PIMCO’s extensive and well-resourced global analyst team. Although this setup only dates back to July 2018 (when Sudi Mariappa stepped off from his lead portfolio manager role), Mohsen’s prior involvement with the strategy, the fund’s special and sensibly driven process, and the rebate-free share class’ reasonable price tag have bolstered our conviction on this strategy.   

Upgrades

BGF US Dollar High Yield - Silver from Bronze

Patrick Ge

We have upgraded BGF US Dollar High Yield Bond’s Morningstar Analyst Rating to Silver from Bronze. The strategy is a mirror of its Gold-rated BlackRock High Yield US-domiciled sibling, though with one key difference – the absence of loans in its portfolio. The strategy benefits from the same seasoned group of managers – Jimmy Keenan, David Delbos, and Mitch Garfin – who have worked together for more than a decade. Flexible at its core, the fund has been steered by its managers through changing market environments and with impressively strong peer-relative returns. As such, this high-yield bond strategy is among the strongest options in its category. 

Downgrades

Pictet Asian Local Currency Debt - Neutral from Bronze

Patrick Ge

We have downgraded Pictet-Asian Local Currency Debt I USD’s Morningstar Analyst Rating to Neutral from Bronze. Wee-Ming Ting, who has comanaged this strategy alongside Philippe Petit since July 2007, unexpectedly retired in December 2018. While the investment process remains intact, its unique dependence on its portfolio managers would be affected by Ting’s departure. With no plans to replace him, Singapore-based Petit and Carrie Liaw – who was named a comanager in May 2018 – will be responsible for managing the portfolio going forward. As such, we need time to assess whether the strategy’s prior success can be replicated with the duo onwards. 

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About Author

Patrick Ge  is an Analyst on the Morningstar Manager Research team

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