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Morningstar Analyst Rating for Funds

Unlike the backward-looking Morningstar Rating™ (often referred to as the "star rating"), which assigns 1 to 5 stars based on a fund's past risk- and load-adjusted returns versus category peers, the Analyst Rating is the summary expression of Morningstar's forward-looking analysis of a fund. Morningstar analysts assign the ratings on a five-tier scale with three positive ratings of Gold, Silver, and Bronze, a Neutral rating, and a Negative rating.

The Analyst Rating is based on the analyst's conviction in the fund's ability to outperform its peer group and/or relevant benchmark on a risk-adjusted basis over the long term. If a fund receives a positive rating of Gold, Silver, or Bronze, it means Morningstar analysts think highly of the fund and expect it to outperform over a full market cycle of at least five years.

The Analyst Rating is not a market call, and it is not meant to replace investors' due-diligence process. It cannot assess whether a fund is the right fit for a particular portfolio and risk tolerance. It is intended to supplement investors' and advisors' own work on funds and, along with written analysis, provide forward-looking perspective into a fund's abilities. It picks up where commonly watched measures of the past leave off.

Research Methodology: The Five Pillars
Morningstar evaluates funds based on five key pillars--Process, Performance, People, Parent, and Price--which its analysts believe lead to funds that are more likely to outperform over the long term on a risk-adjusted basis. Analysts assign a rating of Positive, Neutral, or Negative to each pillar.

Process: What is the fund's strategy and does management have a competitive advantage enabling it to execute the process well and consistently over time?

Performance: Is the fund's performance pattern logical given its process? Has the fund earned its keep with strong risk-adjusted returns over relevant time periods?

People: What is Morningstar's assessment of the manager's talent, tenure, and resources?

Parent: What priorities prevail at the firm? Stewardship or salesmanship?

Price: Is the fund a good value proposition compared with similar funds sold through similar channels?

Analyst Rating Scale
Gold: Best-of-breed fund that distinguishes itself across the five pillars and has garnered the analysts' highest level of conviction.

Silver: Fund with advantages that outweigh the disadvantages across the five pillars and with sufficient level of analyst conviction to warrant a positive rating.

Bronze: Fund with notable advantages across several, but perhaps not all, of the five pillars—strengths that give the analysts a high level of conviction.

Neutral: Fund that isn't likely to deliver standout returns but also isn't likely to significantly underperform, according to the analysts.

Negative: Fund that has at least one flaw likely to significantly hamper future performance and that is considered by analysts an inferior offering to its peers.

Learn more about how to use the Analyst Rating for Funds and see our full rating methodology.

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