Credit and debt-focused ratings agency Australia Ratings has expanded into retail funds management, initially covering 13 managers.
Australia Ratings has entered the retail funds management research space, a market currently dominated by Morningstar, Zenith Investment Partners, Lonsec, Mercer and SQM Research.
The ratings agency, which was established in 2010 by former S&P Australia managing director Chris Dalton, is mainly focused on credit ratings for debt securities such as hybrids.
Australia Ratings issued its first rating on a managed fund in the final quarter of 2017, and issued 15 ratings in February, according to Mr Dalton. The firm currently covers 13 fund managers.
"We’ve seen a growing demand from independent advisers and the wealth management groups for quality, reliable research on managed funds that offer distinct and attractive opportunities," Mr Dalton said.
"We aim to cover a broad range of funds. We will seek to build on our strong capabilities in equity, credit and alternative assets for those investors seeking to diversify with specialist funds.
Our focus will be to work with financial advisers, wealth managers, informed investors and family offices who are looking for fresh investment ideas and quality fund managers," Mr Dalton said.
Australia Ratings uses a five-star ratings scale (from 'Superior' to 'Weak') that demonstrates how well it believes a fund will perform against a "range of risks".
Mr Dalton is joined by former Zenith head of alternatives Daniel Liptak, former S&P head of investment consulting Simon Ibbetson and former Perpetual Private head of investment research Maggie Callinan.