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Frequently asked questions | Morningstar rankings
How is Morningstar's star rating calculated?
The star rating is based on a fund's risk-adjusted return relative to similar funds over three-, five-, and 10-year periods. Morningstar calculates the rating by taking into account a fund's net-of-expenses performance, and risk, among other factors.
What do Morningstar's star ratings mean?
The star ratings evaluate a fund's past performance adjusted for risk. The rating is then assigned to the fund on a scale of one to five stars. The higher the number of stars, the better the fund's performance has been relative to similar funds. Five stars indicate a fund ranks in the top 10% of its peer group. Four stars is the second-highest group, comprising 22.5% of the category. One star indicates a fund ranks in the bottom 10%.
Are Morningstar's star ratings a guarantee of future performance?
No, Morningstar's star ratings are not a guarantee of future performance. The star rating is based on past performance.
How often are Morningstar's star ratings updated?
Morningstar updates the star ratings on a monthly basis. The ratings take into account the latest performance data and can change as a result.
How do fees impact Morningstar rankings?
When determining a fund's star rating, Morningstar evaluates performance net of expenses. Funds with lower fees have a lower hurdle, so to speak, but the performance of a fund sometimes more than makes up for a difference in fees. It's important for investors to consider both a fund's performance and its fees when making investment decisions. Investors may also benefit from consulting with a financial advisor.
Are Morningstar's star ratings influenced by conflicts of interest, such as relationships with fund managers or sponsors?
The star rating system is a quantitative analysis of past performance and does not include subjective inputs. Morningstar has other rating systems for funds that include subjective inputs, but the organization has policies in place to prevent conflicts of interest.
Can investors use Morningstar's star ratings in conjunction with other sources of information when making investment decisions?
Morningstar's star ratings can be a factor to consider in researching funds, but it is important for investors to consider other sources of information as well, as even Morningstar declares. Investors can consider a fund's management, fees, investment objectives, and risks, as well as its performance relative to its peers and its underlying assets. Additionally, investors should be aware that past performance is not a guarantee of future results, and that market conditions can impact a fund's performance. Investors may also benefit from consulting with a financial advisor before making any investment decisions.
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Morningstar Ratings for the specific share classes only; other classes may have different performance characteristics.
The Morningstar Rating™ for funds, or "star rating", is calculated for managed products (including mutual funds, variable annuity and variable life subaccounts, exchange-traded funds, closed-end funds, and separate accounts) with at least a 3-year history. Exchange-traded funds and open-ended mutual funds are considered a single population for comparative purposes. It is calculated based on a Morningstar Risk-Adjusted Return measure that accounts for variation in a managed product's monthly excess performance, placing more emphasis on downward variations and rewarding consistent performance. The Morningstar Rating does not include any adjustment for sales loads. The top 10% of products in each product category receive 5 stars, the next 22.5% receive 4 stars, the next 35% receive 3 stars, the next 22.5% receive 2 stars, and the bottom 10% receive 1 star. The Overall Morningstar Rating for a managed product is derived from a weighted average of the performance figures associated with its 3-, 5-, and 10-year (if applicable) Morningstar Rating metrics. The weights are: 100% 3-year rating for 36–59 months of total returns, 60% 5-year rating/40% 3-year rating for 60–119 months of total returns, and 50% 10-year rating/30% 5-year rating/20% 3-year rating for 120 or more months of total returns. While the 10-year overall star rating formula seems to give the most weight to the 10-year period, the most recent 3-year period actually has the greatest impact because it is included in all three rating periods.
Some of Morningstar's proprietary calculations, including the Morningstar Rating™, are not customarily calculated based on adjusted historical returns. However, for new share classes/channels, Morningstar may calculate an extended performance Morningstar Rating that is based, in part, on adjusted historical (or "pre-inception") returns for periods prior to the inception of the share class of the fund shown herein ("Report Share Class").
The extended performance is calculated by creating a performance stream consisting of the Report Share Class and older share class(s). Morningstar adjusts the historical total returns of the older share class(es) of a fund to reflect higher expenses in the Report Share Class. Morningstar does not hypothetically adjust returns upwards for lower expenses.
The extended performance Morningstar Risk-Adjusted Return is then calculated for 3-, 5-, and 10-year time periods and used to determine the extended performance Morningstar Rating. The extended performance Morningstar Rating for this fund does not affect the retail fund data published by Morningstar, as the bell curve distribution on which the ratings are based includes only funds with actual returns. The Overall Morningstar Rating for multi-share open-end funds will be either based on actual performance only or extended performance only. Once the share class turns three years old, the Overall Morningstar Rating will be based on actual ratings only. The Overall Morningstar Rating for multi-share variable annuities is based on a weighted average of any ratings that are available.
While the inclusion of pre-inception data, in the form of extended performance, can provide valuable insight into the probable long-term behavior of newer share classes of a fund, investors should be aware that an adjusted historical return can only provide an approximation of that behavior. For example, the fee structures of a retail share class will vary from that of an institutional share class, as retail shares tend to have higher operating expenses and sales charges. These adjusted historical returns are not actual returns. The underlying investments in the share classes used to calculate the pre-performance string will likely vary from the underlying investments held in the fund after inception. Calculation methodologies utilized by Morningstar may differ from those applied by other entities, including the fund itself.
© 2023 Morningstar. All Rights Reserved. The information contained herein: (1) is proprietary to Morningstar and/or its content providers; (2) may not be copied or distributed; and (3) is not warranted to be accurate, complete or timely. Neither Morningstar nor its content providers are responsible for any damages or losses arising from any use of this information. Past performance is no guarantee of future results.