Morgan Stanley is a multinational financial services company with a presence in 42 countries. It offers institutional and individual investors a variety of wealth management solutions, including its highly ranked mutual funds that bring extensive financial expertise and global reach. Morgan Stanley mutual funds provide a wide variety of investment strategies in equities, fixed-income securities and alternative investments. Morningstar has rated numerous Morgan Stanley funds with high marks, including five-star overall ratings, based on their risk-adjusted returns and consistent management teams.

It should be noted that international investing, especially in emerging markets, is not for the faint of heart. Fluctuations in currency valuations, political turmoil, natural disasters, trade policy changes and more can upset business development at any time. Note, for example, that one other Morgan Stanley international fund would have received that five-star rating only a few years ago. As of November 2018, the Morgan Stanley Institutional Fund Inc. Frontier Emerging Markets Portfolio Class A (MFMPX) had a two-star designation from Morningstar.

Morgan Stanley Institutional Fund Inc. International Advantage Portfolio Class A (MFAPX)

Founded in 2010, the Morgan Stanley Institutional Fund Inc. International Advantage Portfolio Class A had more than $216 million in net assets as of November 2018. The fund invests in established companies with an international presence. Because the fund invests the bulk of its assets in foreign stocks, investors are subject to foreign currency fluctuations that can significantly influence the fund's returns.

The fund favors large-cap foreign stocks that have demonstrated consistently rising earnings growth and strong business models. Its assets are concentrated in the consumer defensive sector at 27% allocation, consumer cyclicals at 25% allocation and technology equities at 19% allocation. The fund's top 10 holdings have 41% allocation.

In its short history, the fund has performed well against its peers and against the market as a whole. In the 12-month period ended November 2018, it was up 13 percent compared to 1.8% for its peers and 15.7% for the S&P 500. For the five-year period, it was up 13.5% compared to 4.8% for its peers and 11.6% for the S&P 500.

The fund comes with a load fee of 5.25% and charges a net expense ratio of 1.59%.

Morgan Stanley Institutional Fund Inc. Global Opportunity Portfolio Class A (MGGPX)

Created in 2010, the Morgan Stanley Institutional Fund Inc. Global Opportunity Portfolio Class A seeks long-term capital growth by investing in established and franchised companies with global operations. The fund focuses on various fundamental factors, including strong financial positions, intangible assets and growing free cash flows.

U.S. stocks typically account for about 50% of the fund's assets, while the remainder is held in foreign stocks and cash. Information technology stocks have overweight positions in the fund's portfolio with 42% allocation, while consumer cyclical equities account for 22% of the fund's portfolio.

In the one-year period ended Nov. 2, 2018, the fund returned 18.4% compared to 7.6% for its peers and 15.7% for the S&P 500. For the five-year period, it gained 19.7% compared to 7.7% for its peers and 11.6% for the S&P 500.

While running net assets of more than $1 billion, the fund charges investors a net expense ratio of 1.23% and has a load fee of 5.25%.