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Standard & Poor’s rates Russell funds as top notch

Standard & Poor’s rates Russell funds as top notch

Russell’s International Shares Fund and Global Opportunities Fund receive 4 star rating from S&P

AUCKLAND 07 April, 2008 – Two of Russell's international equity funds – the Russell Global Opportunities Fund and the Russell International Shares Fund - have received four-star ratings following the Standard & Poor’s (S&P) International Equity – Multi Manager Review.

The two funds, both of which are available in New Zealand, achieved the highest rating given to managers in the International Equity Multi Manager sub-category. In total, there were 13 multi-manager products offered by six investment managers. As a result of the review ratings remained unchanged for nine products, one was downgraded and the two (Russell funds) were rated for the first time.

Jane Wu, S&P fund analyst, says S&P views positively Russell’s large global network of research analysts that support the investment process through rigorous fund manager due diligence and ability to identify new alpha-generating managers. S&P is also satisfied Russell has adequate risk-management and portfolio-construction tools with which to monitor the characteristics of the underlying portfolios over time and at the aggregate level.

“Timing when to invest in growth or value-style funds requires skill, which the majority of managers have failed to consistently demonstrate: multi-manager products were designed to take this timing burden from investors,” Ms Wu says.

Dr Ed Schuck, Managing Director of Russell Investment Group NZ, says the S&P ratings have confirmed Russell’s commitment to providing first-class multi-manager funds.

“Russell has been building multi-manager products since 1980,” he says. “We select the ‘best’ managers from around the world in each asset class, and carefully blend different ‘styles’ of managers to achieve a superior risk and return outcome for an overall portfolio.”

The Russell International Shares Fund was launched in January 1998 and employs a multi-style, multi-manager approach. It is broadly diversified and provides an ideal vehicle for an investor's core exposure to the international equities markets.

The Fund aims to provide exposure to a diversified portfolio of international shares. It seeks to provide a total return, before costs and tax, higher than the MSCI World Net Dividends Reinvested Accumulation Index over the long term.

The Russell Global Opportunities Fund (RGOF) is the younger of the two international-equity products, launched in January 2005 and utilises a multi-style, multi-manager approach. It is broadly diversified and its global investment brief can be a valuable complement to an investor's core exposure to the international equities market. The Fund aims to provide exposure to a diversified portfolio of international shares, and to outperform significantly the Fund's benchmark, before costs and tax, over the long term.

According to S&P, both funds scored 4 stars reflecting their high conviction that the risk-adjusted fund returns will consistently exceed relevant investment objectives and returns of peer funds.

The S&P reports states: “S&P considers Russell’s globally-integrated investment-research team, product-management process, comprehensive information systems and analysis tools, internal implemented services and its size to hold multiple sources of alpha key to its strength relative to peers. With dedicated global-equity research and portfolio-management staff based in the US and UK, Russell is well-placed to furbish its list of buy-rated managers and strategies. S&P has a high regard for its quality of research effort in terms of staff and capability.”

The S&P International Equity – Multi-Manager category is a sub-sector of the International Equities review. The International Equities-Large Cap Sector Report will be available later this month. A full list of the funds reviewed is available at www.assirt.com.au

Note: To the extent that any ratings, opinions or other information of Standard & Poor’s Information Services (Australia) Pty Ltd (ABN: 17 096 167 556, Australian Financial Services Licence Number: 258896) (“Standard & Poor’s) constitutes general advice, this advice has been prepared by Standard & Poor’s without taking into account any particular person’s financial or investment objectives, financial situation or needs. Before acting on any advice, any person using the advice should consider its appropriateness having regard to their own or their clients’ objectives, financial situation and needs. You should obtain a Product Disclosure Statement relating to the product and consider the statement before making any decision or recommendation about whether to acquire the product. Past performance is not a reliable indicator of future performance. Ratings can change or cease at any time and should not be relied upon without referring to the meaning of the rating. For more information regarding ratings please call S&P’s Customer Service on 1300 792 553 and also refer to Standard & Poor’s Financial Services Guide at www.assirt.com.au. Each analytic product or service of Standard & Poor’s is based on information received by the analytic group responsible for such product or service.

“S&P” and “Standard & Poor’s” are trademarks of The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. 2007 Standard & Poor’s Information Services (Australia) Pty Limited

About Russell:

Russell Investment Group, which launched its first multi-manager funds in 1980, advises clients on more than NZ$3 trillion in assets and delivers investment programmes to more than 2,000 clients in 44 countries. Russell manages approximately NZ$277 billion in assets in a variety of multi-manager funds. More than 40 million individual investors also have access to Russell services and products through a network of alliances that includes many of the world’s top banks, insurance companies, broker/dealer networks, and independent investment advisors.


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