The service, called Fund Watch, provides a summary of Mercer’s research to the general public.
The summaries are an abridged version of Mercer client reports.
“What clients have access to is the longer [and more detailed] version of these reports,” Beverly Sharp, London-based strategy leader for investment research, told our sister publication Fund Selector Asia.
Fund Watch reports will be available free online, according to Sharp. The funds that are available on the platform will depend on where the individual investor is based.
For example, the service launched this month in the Lion City only includes products that are approved by the Monetary Authority of Singapore, according to Sharp.
She believes the Singapore market has a focus on improving financial literacy and investor education.
“Individual investors are becoming more sophisticated and Singapore has a great deal of individual investment for retirement,” she said, adding that the firm hopes that the service “improves the investment outcomes for individual investors”.
The research is expected to be available to Hong Kong investors as well, according to a job vacancy posted on Mercer’s Linkedin page.
Plans are to include investors in the rest of Asia and in Latin America.
The mutual funds rated on Fund Watch only include managers that have paid Mercer for their funds to be rated, according to the firm’s website.
Fund research rivals
Mercer’s research team includes 140 analysts globally who look at mutual funds and private market funds, according to Sharp. Nine analysts are Asia-based.
Ratings are forward-looking and are based on four qualitative factors that the firm believes will drive future performance: idea generation, portfolio construction, implementation and business management.
“We spend time with the investment team running the portfolio to try to understand their what their investment philosophy is and investment ideas and how they put those together in the portfolio,” she said.
Other firms that provide fund ratings include Morningstar, FE Advisory Asia and Thomson Reuters Lipper.
The Morningstar website offers “detailed information” on mutual funds and their ratings, according to a Hong Kong-based spokeswoman for the firm.
The information includes a mutual fund’s performance data, details on a product’s investment style, fees, risk metrics and the firm’s star rating and sustainability rating, according to Morningstar.
Available to the public are star rating reports, which look at historical risk-adjusted performance, and the relatively new sustainability rating provides ESG scores. However, Morningstar’s analyst rating sheet, which is a forward-looking analysis of a fund, is not publicly available.
FE Advisory Asia uses its crown rating system for historical ratings of funds, which are available to the general public on its Trustnet website. The FE 100 list, published twice per year, provides a forward-looking rating of 100 funds for sale in the region.
For more insight on asset and wealth management in Asia, please visit www.fundselectorasia.com