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Rating:See Your Stars Ahead of Time Not Rated 3.0 Email Routing List Email & Route  Print Print
Monday, March 11, 2002

See Your Stars Ahead of Time

Reported by Sean Hanna, Editor in Chief

Worried that the fee structure on that new share class will torpedo your fund's hard-earned five star rating? Now you can rest easy. Morningstar has developed a new tool that lets fund firm product managers see what their fund rating would be under different scenarios.

The Chicago fund tracker is offering the tool though its DataLab service that debuted last December. That service provides mutual fund companies deeper access to Morningstar's database.

The new tool leverages this service to allow fund executives to better understand their products rankings. "Now, fund companies can determine whether its four-star fund is on the cusp of becoming a three-star or five-star fund," explained Don Phillips, Morningstar managing director. He contends that the service will be most valuable for a newer fund lacking a three-year track record or a nine-year-old fund for which the manager is projecting the full 10-year.

Also included is the ability for product managers to play with the loads and fee structures in funds to see what those structures would do to the fund ratings.

Thus, if that new deferred sales charge is likely to whack the fund from five stars to four, the product manager will have a chance to know ahead of time and not when it is too late fix the problem. At a time when fund families are tweaking multiple fee structures and share classes to achieve the widest possible solution this product seems to have a niche.

The distribution power of Morningstar ratings a key fact of life for fund marketers, so this tool seems likely to take its place in the product development kit at most shops. 

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