Perhaps it was only a matter of time before Morningstar decided to put its stamp of approval, and disapproval, on alternative mutual funds. And by all measures, it should.

Assets held in alternative mutual funds have increased 128% since October 2008, reaching $99 billion as of March 2012, according to the Chicago-based research shop. McKinsey & Co. also predicts that retail alternative mutual funds will become part of the mainstream market in the years to come. According to the consulting shop, alternatives, which currently account for 8% of total US retail fund assets, will make up some 13% of total US retail fund assets in 2015.

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