Financial Times Group launches fund ratings service for investors

London, January 21 2002: The Financial Times Group today launched FT Fund Ratings, a new service designed to help investors compare and understand more about funds.

FT Fund Ratings is a major advance in the information available to private investors. It offers incisive information about fund risks, clear assessment of fund charges and improved comparison of fund performance. The monthly updated service provides consistent information on 25,000 funds from across Europe, allowing direct comparison of funds from different markets.

A summary of the FT Fund Ratings for the main UK and offshore funds including those in ISAs, PEPs and pensions will be published in the Financial Times from February and is available now at http://www.ft.com/fundratings. A full analysis of funds is being supplied by the FT to Fund Managers, IFAs and Fund Supermarkets for publication and internal analysis.

Stephen Hill, chief executive of the Financial Times Group commented:

"With the growing number of funds available, and the current turbulence in global stock markets, FT Fund Ratings will provide an easy to use guide to risk, charges and performance. FT Fund Ratings builds on our global reputation for impartial financial information by offering independent analysis from a source that is trusted by investors and professionals alike."

'This unique ratings approach from the FT Group will be the only fund analysis service to focus on three key criteria for investors in one system, examining the ISA, pension and PEP markets in a thorough yet easily comprehensible format.'

FT Fund Ratings allows investors to identify the risks associated with funds and provides a transparent guide to fund charges, giving the individual investor a better understanding of their fund portfolio.

Christine Farnish, Consumer Relations Director at the Financial Services Authority's (FSA) commented:

'The FSA actively encourages initiatives that seek to enhance the transparency and accessibility of financial products. We therefore welcome this initiative and shall watch developments with the greatest of interest."

FT Fund Ratings have been produced in conjunction with Fitzrovia International, Advanced Portfolio Technologies and FT Interactive Data.

Further information on FT Fund Ratings is available at http://www.ft.com/fundratings

More on FT Fund Ratings

FT Fund Ratings evaluates and compares funds according to three criteria of key importance to the consumer: risk, charges and performance.

· Risk - accurately identifying the risk of investment

FT Fund Ratings produces three separate analyses of risk; Risk Profiles, Risk Levels and Risk attributions. The Risk Profiles represent funds grouped together according to their pattern of their risk exposure. The risk levels represent the volatility of the Risk Profile measured on a five point scale from very low to very high. The Risk Attributions provide a detailed analysis of funds' exposure to geographic markets, industries and other market drivers allowing an advanced comparison of funds' detailed characteristics.

· Charges ' assessing the full cost to the investor

The FT has rated all funds according to their total annual charges to produce the FT Charge Rating, giving a clear measure of the relative level of a funds charges on a five point scale from very low to very high. Initial and exit charges are excluded from the rating as they often vary for individual funds and their impact varies according to the length of time the investment is held.


· Past Performance ' measuring the risk-adjusted performance

When comparing past performance it is vital to compare like with like. The FT Past Performance Rating compares funds that are within the same risk profile and adjusts their performance for the specific risk of the Profile, seeking to ensure a transparent comparison of fund performance amongst a peer group. The Rating measures performance on a five point scale from very low to very high.


Notes

The Financial Times Group, one of the world's leading business information companies, aims to provide a broad range of business information and services to the growing audience of internationally minded business people. The FT Group includes:

- The Financial Times, one of the world's leading business newspapers, which is recognised internationally for its authority, integrity and accuracy. Providing extensive news, comment and analysis, the newspaper is printed in 18 cities across the globe, has a daily circulation of over 485,000 and a readership of more than 1.6million people worldwide.

- FT.com, the newspaper's internet partner, which combines agenda-setting editorial with relevant financial data and discussion groups, as well as a broad range of business tools including the largest search function on the internet. FT.com has more than 48 million monthly page views and over 2.4 million unique monthly visitors.

- The FT Group's pan-European network of national business newspapers and online services including France's leading business newspaper and website, Les Echos and lesechos.fr, and Spain's leading business newspaper and website, Expansion and expansiondirecto.es. In February 2000, the FT launched a new German language newspaper, FT Deutschland, with a fully integrated online business news and data service.

- Through FT Interactive Data, the FT Group is one of the world's leading sources of securities pricing and specialist financial information to global institutional, professional and individual investors. Its products include eSignal, an online realtime streaming quotation service for brokers and active traders.

- FT Business which produces specialist information on the retail, personal and institutional finance industries. It publishes the UK's premier personal finance magazine, Investors Chronicle, and The Banker, Money Management and Financial Adviser for professional advisers.

- The Financial Times Group also has a stake in a number of joint ventures:

· FTSE International, a joint-venture with the London Stock Exchange.
· Vedomosti, Russia's leading business newspaper and a partnership venture with Dow Jones and Independent Media
· A 50% stake in BDFM, publishers of South Africa's leading financial newspapers and websites.
· A 50% stake in The Economist Group, which publishes the world's leading weekly business and current affairs journal.

The FT Group is part of Pearson plc, the international media group.

For further information

Joanna Manning-Cooper on +44 (0) 20 7873 4447
Anoushka Healy +44 (0) 20 7873 3720
Simon Horne on + 44 20 7853 2293