Standard & Poor's Fund Services of New York announced Sept. 18 that it will broaden the mutual fund services it offers in Latin America, including offering "Select Fund" designations in Mexico and Argentina next year.

S&P has offered Select Fund ratings in Brazil since last summer through an alliance with an online service provider. It first began offering the rating service in the U.S. for U.S.-based mutual funds in March 1999.

S&P screens for and awards "Select Fund" designations to mutual funds that the firm believes have consistently strong performance and fund management that is capable of future growth.

The Select Fund ratings originated with Fund Research, a London-based company S&P acquired five years ago, said Gary R. Arne, managing director of fund services at S&P. The expansion of S&P's rating services to Latin American markets is evidence of the growing number of funds available there and the increased interest in equity investments, he said.

In addition, S&P's Management Quality Ratings, which evaluate fund managers' investment process, will be offered on fixed-income and balanced funds in Latin America in the coming months, according to the company. S&P currently provides management quality ratings on Latin American equity funds.

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