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Morningstar Asia fund reviews and re-ratings — July

An upgrade for a Meridian fund and some new ratings as coverage is initiated on products from Fidelity, HSBC and Blackrock.

The research firm’s “analyst rating” is forward-looking. On an annual basis, analysts review and if necessary re-rate the funds on a five-tier scale with three positive ratings of Gold, Silver, and Bronze, a Neutral rating, and a Negative rating.

The analyst rating differs from the firm’s backward-looking “star rating”, which assigns 1 to 5 stars based on a fund’s past risk- and load-adjusted returns versus category peers. 

Analyst ratings for July

   Rating   Previous rating   Analysis date 
 Fidelity Euro Corp Bond A-Acc-EUR   Bronze  —  July 26
 HSBC Asian Bond AM2 USD  Neutral  —  July 18
 BGF Asian Growth Leaders A2 USD  Neutral   —  July 6
 MFS Meridian US Value W1 USD  Silver  Bronze  July 5


1. Fidelity Euro Corp Bond A-Acc-EUR

Coverage initiated with a Bronze rating. The fund seeks to outperform the BA/ML Euro Corporate index by employing a high conviction approach primarily driven by sector allocation and credit selection.

David Simner, the lead manager of the strategy and a euro specialist, has been at the helm since June 2009. He relies on Fidelity’s team of credit analysts, quantitative analysts and traders for shaping and implementing his top-down view. We believe he has the necessary skill, relevant experience and support to successfully manage this strategy.

— Carlos Lucar, analyst, manager research

2. HSBC Asian Bond AM2 USD

Coverage initiated with a rating of Neutral. The fund has been led by Cecilia Chan since May 2000. However, day-to-day portfolio management responsibility rests with Gregory Suen, who took up the mantle on 1 April 2011. Suen who joined HSBC in 2007, has 16 years of investment experience.

While we think that Suen shows promise, the 12-member Asian credit research team has witnessed several turnovers in recent years. The strategy focuses on hard currency investment grade credit, but has the flexibility to invest in high yield and local currency debt. The investment process combines bottom-up credit selection with a top-down macroeconomic view, and has yielded respectable peer-relative returns during Suen’s tenure through March 2016. Although we think that this is a fine offering, we would like to see the supporting team settle down and demonstrate greater stability.

— Don Yew, Analyst, manager research

3. BGF Asian Growth Leaders A2 USD

Initiated coverage with a Neutral rating. The fund is co-managed by Andrew Swan and Emily Dong. Swan is a seasoned and capable investor, as seen from his successful, Bronze-rated BGF Asian Dragon.  However, Dong is relatively new to money management. She provides the riskier, small- and mid-cap stock ideas that are not in Swan’s aforementioned fund. While the duo has delivered stellar returns so far, we are cautious of this relatively high-risk product that has significant input from a relatively untested co-manager. Moreover, the fund has a limited track record. We would like more time to build our conviction in the fund.

— Germaine Share, senior analyst, manager research

4. MFS Meridian US Value W1 USD

Upgraded to Silver from Bronze. Steven Gorham has managed the US version of the fund (MFS Value) since 2002, with Nevin Chitkara joining him as co-manager in May 2006. The fund’s experienced managers and supporting analysts inspire confidence. They’ve skillfully used this sensible, quality-focused, and patient approach with consistency, leading to above-average performance in the long run. The fund’s reasonable fees on its non-rebate share class also add to its long-term appeals.

— Mathieu Caquineau, senior fund analyst

Part of the Mark Allen Group.