When the mutual fund scandal began, recommendations to investors by Morningstar were simple: Stay away.

But as more settlements between firms and regulators are reached, and more executives are replaced, Morningstar has shifted to a more pro-firm stance, telling investors that the corrective measures firms are taking provide reasons to invest back into the funds, The Wall Street Journal reports.

As the scandal broke, some fund industry insiders criticized Morningstar for being to quick to tell investors to consider selling shares of funds run by the maligned firms. The Chicago-based research group contended, however, that it was doing its job in an unforeseen and unprecedented time for the fund industry.

Three categories - don't send new money, consider selling and proceed with caution - have been introduced by Morningstar to handle the scandal. The "proceed with caution" tag means that a company may have gotten caught up in improper trading, but has addressed the issue.

Don Phillips, a managing director at Morningstar, said that decisive actions have helped firms clean up their acts. "Our moving quickly has been a reflection of how the companies have responded," Phillips told The Journal. "For us to ignore reforms and wait another six months before commenting would have been a mistake."

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