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Fitch Resolves 'Under Review' & Affs 'Satisfactory' on AllianceBernstein Thematic Research Portfolio

January 21, 2014

NEW YORK & PARIS--(BUSINESS WIRE)-- Fitch Ratings has removed from 'under review' and affirmed the 'Satisfactory' rating assigned to the AllianceBernstein Thematic Research Portfolio. The fund is managed by AllianceBernstein L.P. (AB; rated 'A+'/ 'F1' with a Stable Outlook by Fitch). KEY RATING DRIVERS Fund Presentation AllianceBernstein Thematic Research Portfolio is a UCITS compliant, Luxembourg-domiciled fund, with USD92.3 million of assets under management (AUM) as of December 30, 2013 . The fund originally launched as a technology sector fund in August 1996 , was subsequently restructured to a short-term macro-focused thematic portfolio in Nov 2009 under Cathie Wood , and more recently shifted towards a thematic growth-oriented portfolio in June of 2013 under Daniel Roarty . As part of the latter, the fund's macro focus was removed, duration of themes shortened, and the volatility of themes reduced. Daniel Roarty assumed a leadership role over AB's Thematic strategy as part of reorganization within the firm in an effort to reduce volatility and increase alpha. The Thematic strategy ( $3.9 billion in AUM as of Dec. 31, 2013 ) was merged with the Global Growth equities group ( $3.9 billion in AUM as of Dec. 31, 2013 ) already headed by Roarty, and rebranded under the title Global Growth and Thematic Equities . Investment Process Investment process has grown more disciplined under Roarty with the introduction of standardized fundamental analysis across holdings, detailed Excel models to analyze valuation, risks and buy/sell targets, and metrics review at the theme and portfolio level. Resources Roarty joined the firm in May 2011 and was named sector head for the technology sector on the Global/International Research Growth team on July 1, 2011 , and team leader for that team in early 2012. Roarty previously spent nine years at Nuveen Investments, where he co-managed a large-cap growth strategy and a multi-cap growth strategy. His research experience includes coverage of technology, industrials and financial stocks. Also joining the team was Tassos Stassopoulous, with 22 years of experience and AB sector head of consumer staples. Track Record Flows have stabilized in the fund and the broader strategy. Performance has also improved. The fund's Lipper ranking on both performance and volatility (standard deviation) in 2013 have increased to a 2nd quartile among peer funds also tracking the MSCI AC World USD index. However, the Lipper three-year consistent return score remains at a 1 (lowest out of five) given the fund's significant underperformance in 2011 under the previous strategy. Asset Manager AB is a global, diversified asset manager ( USD451 billion AUM at Dec. 31, 2013 ), approximately 64% owned by AXA S.A. (rated 'A'/'F1' with a Negative Outlook). Equities represented 32% of AUM. Rating Sensitivities The rating may be sensitive to material changes in the investment or operational processes, or resources dedicated to the fund. A material adverse deviation from Fitch's guidelines for any key rating drivers could result in a downgrade of the rating. For example, this may be manifested in the departure of key investment professionals or in significant deterioration in the fund's performance relative to its benchmark and peers, resulting from stock-picking errors on large holdings. Fitch's Fund Quality Ratings combine Fitch's experience in qualitative fund analysis with rankings and performance data from Lipper, a Thomson Reuters company. Fitch's Fund Quality Ratings offer an independent, forward-looking assessment of a fund's key performance and risk attributes and consistency of longer-term returns, relative to peer group or benchmarks. The ratings focus on the fund manager's investment process, key fund performance drivers, risk management, and the quality of the fund's operational infrastructure. For more information, please see www.fundmanagement.fitchratings.com To receive forthcoming Fund Quality Rating research, opt in at http://pages.fitchemail.fitchratings.com/FAMAMhightlightBlankOptin/ Additional information is available at www.fitchratings.com . Applicable criteria, 'Fund Quality Rating Criteria', dated 19 September 2011 , is available at www.fitchratings.com Applicable Criteria and Related Research : Fund Quality Ratings - Frequently Asked Questions http://www.fitchratings.com/creditdesk/reports/report_frame.cfm?rpt_id=646829 Additional Disclosure Solicitation Status http://www.fitchratings.com/gws/en/disclosure/solicitation?pr_id=816034 ALL FITCH CREDIT RATINGS ARE SUBJECT TO CERTAIN LIMITATIONS AND DISCLAIMERS. PLEASE READ THESE LIMITATIONS AND DISCLAIMERS BY FOLLOWING THIS LINK: HTTP://FITCHRATINGS.COM/UNDERSTANDINGCREDITRATINGS . IN ADDITION, RATING DEFINITIONS AND THE TERMS OF USE OF SUCH RATINGS ARE AVAILABLE ON THE AGENCY'S PUBLIC WEBSITE ' WWW.FITCHRATINGS.COM '. PUBLISHED RATINGS, CRITERIA AND METHODOLOGIES ARE AVAILABLE FROM THIS SITE AT ALL TIMES. FITCH'S CODE OF CONDUCT, CONFIDENTIALITY, CONFLICTS OF INTEREST, AFFILIATE FIREWALL, COMPLIANCE AND OTHER RELEVANT POLICIES AND PROCEDURES ARE ALSO AVAILABLE FROM THE 'CODE OF CONDUCT' SECTION OF THIS SITE. FITCH MAY HAVE PROVIDED ANOTHER PERMISSIBLE SERVICE TO THE RATED ENTITY OR ITS RELATED THIRD PARTIES. DETAILS OF THIS SERVICE FOR RATINGS FOR WHICH THE LEAD ANALYST IS BASED IN AN EU-REGISTERED ENTITY CAN BE FOUND ON THE ENTITY SUMMARY PAGE FOR THIS ISSUER ON THE FITCH WEBSITE. Fitch Ratings Primary Analyst Yuriy Layvand , CFA, +1-212-908-9191 Director Fitch Ratings, Inc. One State Street Plaza New York, NY 10004 or Secondary Analyst Manuel Arrive, CFA, +33 1 44 29 91 77 Senior Director or Committee Chairperson Ralph Aurora Senior Director or Media Relations Brian Bertsch , +1-212-908-0549 ( New York ) brian.bertsch@fitchratings.com Source: Fitch Ratings


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