Morningstar upgrades one fixed interest strategy, downgrades six

By Penny Pryor

Morningstar has upgraded the Western Asset Global Bond fund from bronze to silver in its latest annual fixed-interest sector wrap of 72 Australian fixed-interest strategies.

Morningstar said the upgrade was due to its increased conviction in Western Asset's investment team and research capability.

Unfortunately, six strategies were downgrade on the back of "reduced confidence in the investment team, diminished conviction in the investment processes, or lower assessment under our enhanced ratings system because of expensive fees."

Those funds were the Colchester Global Government Bond fund, the FirstChoice WS Fixed Interest fund, the Franklin Templeton Multisector Bond fund, the Macquarie Australian Fixed Interest fund, the Schroder Fixed Income Fund - Wholesale and the UBS Diversified Fixed Income Fund.

"We take a medium- to long-term outlook when determining qualitative recommendations. Our views about the merits of investment strategies move over time based on manager-specific factors, including investment-team composition, changes to the investment process, and pricing," Morningstar said in its report.

The research firm also initiated coverage of three new funds, rating the CFS Wholesale Indexed Australian Bond and the Neuberger Berman Strategic Income Bronze and the Pendal Sustainable Aust Fixed Interest Neutral.