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NEWS UPDATES Asean Affairs        6  May 2011

Thai mutual funds get good grades

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Thailand's mutual fund industry ranks third after the United States and Singapore for information disclosure, regulations and taxation policies.

According to the Global Fund Investor Experience Study conducted by the independent investment research firm Morningstar Research (Thailand), the Thai mutual fund industry was graded A- while the US and Singapore received an A.

The survey was conducted in 22 countries in North America, Africa and Asia. Key criteria included regulations and taxation, information disclosure, fees and expenses, and sales and media.

For the sales and media category, Thailand rated a D, as the industry still relies on advertising and promotional campaigns offering gifts to sell mutual funds.

Peet Yongvanich, managing director at Morningstar Research, said Thailand's result was satisfactory despite a limited offering of funds. Competition remains high but there is less focus on past performance and risks than in other countries.

"Additionally, information disclosure of investment portfolios is relatively slow, and disclosure of fund managers' information is still lacking," Mr Peet said.

Morningstar rates mutual funds across the globe by looking at performance the past 36 months and risks the funds entail. It awards one to five stars based on its evaluation, which some investors use when selecting funds.

The Securities and Exchange Commission recently joined with Morningstar to rate 1,400 mutual funds in Thailand.

Pravej Ongartsittigul, the SEC's senior assistant secretary-general, said investors could search for the 10 top performers in each fund category on the SEC and Morningstar websites. Kesara Manchusree, president of the Thailand Futures Exchange, said the mutual fund market had expanded rapidly with a current asset size at 2 trillion baht.

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This year in Thailand-what next?

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