It's like they've been married thirty years, or maybe divorcing after thirty years. Or something.
The feud between Jeffrey Gundlach's DoubleLine
has reached its latest, and perhaps inevitable, level of histrionics.
In a report published yesterday, Morningstar downgraded the forward-looking analyst rating of the Total Return Bond Fund
from "Neutral" to "Not Ratable," as noted by Bloomberg
In the report about the downgrading, analyst Sarah Bush had this to write:
DoubleLine has declined to answer Morningstar’s due-diligence questions. Without more detail on portfolio construction and attribution, risk controls and the team backing Gundlach, Morningstar has determined that this fund is not ratable.
DoubleLine analyst Loren Fleckenstein told MFWire
this about the relations between his firm and the analyst website.
From the day TCW fired Jeffrey Gundlach, Morningstar.com's fund writers actively sided with TCW in its dispute with our team. For two years, Morningstar.com fund writers made false statements about DoubleLine and our fund, and mischaracterized our fund. So, in 2012, we finally threw in the towel and decided to have no further communication with Morningstar.com.
For those new to the history of the founding of DoubleLine
and past squabbles Gundlach had with former employer TCW
, read here
Now, it's important to remember that there are two ratings Morningstar assigns to each fund or fund family.
There is the Morningstar
Star Rating system, which objectively rates past risk-adjusted performance. Within this system, the Total Return Bond Fund
has held 5-stars since it was first eligible for a star rating.
Then there is the Morningstar
Analyst Rating system, which is forward-looking and meant to be more of a deep institutional-style research dive into the fund firm.
spokesperson Nadine Youssef told MFWire
that in the Analyst Rating methodology, the scale for ratings is: Gold, Silver, Bronze, Neutral, and Negative, as well as Not Ratable. More on their methodology can be found here
Youssef went on to explain that " A Not Ratable designation means either that a fund has failed to provide sufficient transparency to determine a rating, or that we are providing information on a new strategy where investors require guidance as to suitability, but there is not yet sufficient information to rate the fund."
"We’ve assigned Not Ratable to other funds in the past," she said.
The feud between the fund firm and the analyst website dates back at least as far as December 2011, when Morningstar snubbed Gundlach
in the nominations for the Fixed Income Manager of the Year
Fund firms have become increasingly cranky with Morningstar's
ratings on a number of fronts. For example, one area of growing contention is how Morningstar rates alternative strategies
, with a number of experts suggesting new paradigms
for approaching these products.
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