UK –The sharp swings in stock markets last year have resulted in a shake-up of Standard & Poor’s (S&P) ratings of UK fund managers investing in Europe.

Although the managers found themselves huddling around the indices, according to S&P's latest report, six funds achieved an improved rating on a year ago, while nine funds fell a rating band.

”In challenging conditions last year, averaged funds in both mainstream large cap European sectors managed close performance alignment to their relevant benchmark indices, no mean feat in markets subject to such substantial swings in sentiment,” says Linda-Jane Coffin, director and head of equity research at Standard & Poor’s in London.

Overall 72 funds qualify for S&P rated status this year, and funds excluding the UK did slightly better than those including Britain, says the ratings provider.
However, the best performing funds were within the UK inclusive sector, which also had the greatest variation in results.

The top-performing fund in the pan-European large cap sector and the only one to get a AAA rating, was the Gartmore Capital Strategy Fund– Europewide, which outstripped the worst performer by 88 percentage points. This is a significant change from a year before, when the difference between the best and the worst fund in the sector was 133 points, reports the company.
Similarly in the ex-UK sector the gap was 60 percentage points compared with close to 100 points twelve months earlier.

“Out performance last year came from the freedom to act quickly, sometimes a little outside the conventional house style. Rapid and substantial change at country, sector and stock level put many established house processes to the test and certainly found some wanting,” says Debbie Boys, lead analyst of Europe funds at S&P.

Of the 82 funds passing the S&P performance screen, nine have been ranked AAA, 39 funds got AA ratings – including 14 new funds, and 24 qualified for A rated status.
Ten funds were not rated says the company.

In the European smaller companies sector, Fleming Frontier European Discovery Fund was the only fund to achieve AAA rating, while seven funds in the Europe ex UK sector were graded the highest rating.