Standard & Poor's has merged its mutual fund services into a single unit.

Though the company is well known for the quality and depth of its information on bonds, its mutual fund capabilities have been "a well-kept secret," said Sanford B. Bragg, the managing director of the new unit, Standard & Poor's Fund Services.

Last week's consolidation makes it "a lot easier for the marketplace to get access to our information and our analysis," he said.

The move comes one month after Standard & Poor's introduced the Select Fund Evaluation Service to rate equity mutual funds. Seven bank-run funds made the grade from an initial group of 425 funds, including separate share classes.

The new unit brings together the Micropal division, which collects information on more than 51,000 investment funds in 52 countries, and the Managed Funds Group, which rates bonds and money market funds. The unit also includes Standard & Poor's fund research division, which provides ratings and research on offshore, emerging-market funds, and portfolios in the United Kingdom.

"Each unit has respective strengths, but in many cases we can provide either more extensive information or deeper information by putting them together," Mr. Bragg said.

The combined unit has about 300 employees in 13 countries and will continue to grow, Mr. Bragg said. He declined to elaborate.

Mark Adorian, the managing director of Micropal, will oversee sales, marketing, and operations. Peter Jeffreys, the managing director of the fund research division, will oversee research.

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