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BARING ASSET MANAGEMENT AWARDED AA RATING FROM STANDARD & POOR'S FUND RESEARCH

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Baring Asset Management's highly successful High Yield Bond Fund has been awarded the highly regarded AA rating by ...
Baring Asset Management's highly successful High Yield Bond Fund has been awarded the highly regarded AA rating by Standard & Poor's Fund Research. The review encompassed the old UK High Income sector, including for the first time High Yield and Emerging Debt funds. Of the 9 funds rated in the High Yield sub-sector, Baring High Yield Bond fund was the only one to receive a AA rating, with all the others receiving a A rating.

Marino Valensise, fund manager of Baring High Yield Bond Fund: 'This is an excellent achievement and we have a lot to look forward to next year. The dedication and discipline shown by the team at Baring Asset Management has been rewarded'.

NOTES

- The Fixed Income and Currency Team at Baring Asset Management consists of 12 Investment Managers and 3 analysts based in London and Boston. Over£11.9bn is managed on behalf of clients located around the world.

- As at 30.06.2000 Baring Asset Management manages over£35bn, on behalf of governments, corporates, institutions, charities, private clients and mutual fund investors. Assets under management are split between equities (42%), balanced (30%) and fixed income (28%); and (in terms of client origin) between the UK (34%), the USA (33%) and the rest of the world (33%).

- Baring Asset Management's Global Fixed Income and International Fixed Income institutional products have both consistently outperformed their indices. These two Fixed Income products appear in the top quartile of the relevant Frank Russell universes over 1, 3 and 5 years. Of Baring Asset Management's mutual fund range, both the Baring Global Bond Fund and the Baring International Bond Fund carry the coveted Triple-A ranking from Standard and Poor's Fund Research.

- Baring Asset Management employs 104 investment professionals located in London, Boston, Hong Kong and Tokyo. It combines the advantages of the global resources of a large organisation with the high levels of client service and access to senior fund managers associated with a smaller firm.

- Global Investor Magazine awarded us Manager of Global Fixed Income in 1999 and this year Central European magazine named us Investment House of the Decade.

- The performance of Baring Asset Management's mutual funds has been well above average - 64% of our mutual funds ranked above median in their respective universe for the three year period to the end of December 1999 and 69% were above median over five years. A total of 18 funds are Standard & Poor's Fund Research A rated or above.

- Baring Asset Management's Financial Services Group based in Guernsey, Dublin and the Isle of Man provides offshore banking, corporate trusteeship, foreign exchange, investment management, global custody, corporate secretarial accounting and fund administration services world-wide. These activities represent a complete range of interconnecting offshore financial services. In addition, the Financial Services Group provides fund administration from London for UK investors.

- Baring Asset Management is part of the ING Group, one of the largest financial institutions in Europe. The ING Group employs around 84,500 people in over 61 countries.

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