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Rating agency truce will help investors assess mutual funds

MUTUAL FUNDS REPORTER

Rival mutual fund ratings agencies have agreed to bury the hatchet, paving the way for the return of a single set of industry-wide categories for Canadian investment funds.

After a year's absence, Toronto-based Morningstar Canada agreed yesterday to rejoin the Canadian Investment Funds Standards Committee, which will end two competing classifications for mutual funds that has created puzzlement for financial advisers and investors alike.

"We are delighted to have Morningstar back," said Chris Adair, chairman of the six-member CIFSC.

"Our mutual goal is to assist Canadian investors in their investment decisions," said Scott Mackenzie, president and chief executive officer of Morningstar Canada, a unit of Chicago-based research firm Morningstar Inc.

Morningstar Canada left the CIFSC in early 2006, saying the volunteer industry group was too bureaucratic and moving too slowly to overhaul its classification system.

Fund classification compares fund performance data, and is an important sales tool. Last summer two rival sets of fund classifications were unveiled. A new fund list is expected to fall between the CIFSC's 38 classifications and Morningstar Canada's 46 categories plus 15 new categories for hedge funds.

© 2007 The Globe and Mail. All rights reserved.

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