Investment Strategy
We seek to pick winning funds with superior management and quantitative characteristics linked to strong performance. Our quantitative research uses the most comprehensive mutual fund database in the world to determine the best strategies for long-term investing success. We then supplement those studies with extensive qualitative research of portfolio managers, analysts, and traders through onsite visits and follow-up phone calls.
About the Editor
Russel Kinnel is director of manager research for Morningstar, Inc. and editor of Morningstar FundInvestor, a monthly print newsletter for individual investors. He also writes the Fund Spy column for, the company's investment Web site.

Since joining the company in 1994, Kinnel has covered the Fidelity, Janus, T. Rowe Price, and Vanguard mutual fund families. He helped develop the new Morningstar Rating for funds and the new Morningstar Style Box methodology. He also is co-author of the company's first book, The Morningstar Guide to Mutual Funds: 5-Star Strategies for Success, which was published in January 2003.

Mar 24, 2018
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About Russel Russ' Photo
Russel Kinnel,
Director of Manager Research and Editor, Morningstar FundInvestor
Russel Kinnel is director of manager research for Morningstar, Inc. and editor of Morningstar FundInvestor, a monthly print newsletter for individual investors.
Featured Posts
Fiduciary Rule Scrapped

A court has struck down the fiduciary rule. That means that some advisors can continue to be ruled by the less strict "suitability" standard, which views advisors as salespeople who need only put investors in suitable investments.

That lower bar enables higher-fee products like variable annuities and high-cost funds because they are close enough to the investor's goals to be acceptable.

PIMCO D Shares Converting
PIMCO's D shares will convert to A shares on March 23. The expenses are the same, and when NTFs opened up to A shares, the two classes became redundant. Morningstar FundInvestor will likewise switch PIMCO funds to A shares in the April issue.

Revenue Share: The Fund Industry's Dinosaur
John Rekenthaler looked at revenue-sharing in the fund industry.

Fidelity International Growth Raised to Silver
Finally, we have upgraded Fidelity International Growth FIGFX. Here is analyst Andrew Daniels' take:

Increased conviction in lead manager Jed Weiss lifts Fidelity International Growth's Morningstar Analyst Rating to Silver from Bronze.

Weiss, who joined Fidelity in 1997, made the rounds as an analyst before taking over this fund at its 2007 inception. Weiss took a five-month sabbatical in 2017 to travel the world with his young family. Vincent Montemaggiore, manager of Silver-rated Fidelity Overseas FOSFX, capably managed the fund until Weiss returned. There's every reason to believe that Weiss' passion for investing remains and that he intends to stick around long term. Overall, Weiss' good mix of industry experience and his ability to tap Fidelity's well-regarded global research team of 100-plus analysts inspire confidence in the fund's future prospects.

Weiss focuses on firms with multiyear structural growth potential in industries with high barriers to entry. He also looks for out-of-favor cyclical plays with pricing power, or firms capable of maintaining--or even raising--prices during tough economic times. Weiss will often use macroeconomic-driven market shocks to spot buying opportunities, including Japan's Fukushima earthquake in 2011 and the Brexit vote in 2016. This dependable approach results in a high-quality--and relatively low-turnover--portfolio. Indeed, it has sported significantly higher returns on invested capital and net margins than the MSCI EAFE Growth benchmark; the portfolio has also emphasized firms with Morningstar Economic Moat Ratings.

Since the fund's November 2007 inception through February 2018, its 4.1% annualized gain beats the benchmark's 2.2% gain as well as 88% of its foreign large-growth peers. Consistent with its quality emphasis, the fund has maintained its edge on a risk-adjusted basis thanks to its tendency to lose less than the benchmark and peers in market pullbacks. Notably, the fund held up better during the 2008, 2011, and 2014 sell-offs.

Despite losing its fee advantage relative to similarly distributed peers (without the performance adjustment), the fund's talented manager and consistent approach make it a worthy investment.



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