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Investors know and trust Morningstar. And our independence is a big reason why we’ve earned their trust. Our business model is based on providing objective research built on extensive, high-quality data and sound methodologies, delivered across a range of media. Investors recognize that our drive to do what’s right for them sets us apart.

Our data foundation
For years we’ve been building a global database that now includes hundreds of thousands of investments—and is still growing. While our roots are in mutual funds, we’re now collecting and analyzing data on stocks, hedge funds, exchange-traded funds, separate accounts, and other investments to make them more transparent for investors. We also offer real-time data for millions of global instruments. The proprietary information in our database, such as full portfolio holdings, is the foundation for our qualitative research, software, and services. Around the world and around the clock, our dedicated data analysts work to collect data and make sure it’s accurate, timely, and complete. We’re obsessed with quality data because we know investors need it to make informed decisions.

An obsession with excellence
Quality is a way of life at Morningstar. Led by our chief quality officer, a quality assurance team independently reviews how well we’re meeting our targets. When we identify something we need to improve, we launch LEAN and Six Sigma projects to determine what should change about our internal processes to lead to a better result. We apply the information we learn from these projects as we build stable, consistent processes and certify them to measure how successfully they meet client needs. We’re dedicated to continuously improving our products.

Analyst insights
Morningstar takes a fundamental, bottom-up approach to investment research. Our analysts apply a consistent methodology as they complete their quantitative and qualitative research, which is available in reports on stocks, credit, muni bonds, funds, and 529 college savings plans. Morningstar fosters a culture in which analysts frequently challenge each other’s assumptions and speak freely and candidly about the investments they cover. Our analysts are intensely independent thinkers. They don’t pull any punches and are quoted daily in the news media for their objectivity and insightful commentary.

A history of innovation
Through the years, we’ve created new ways to help people evaluate investments. When we introduced the Morningstar Rating™ in 1985, we popularized the concept of risk- and cost-adjusted returns, expressed in a simple system consisting of one to five stars. Conceived by Don Phillips in 1992, the Morningstar Style Box™ has changed the way investors classify and analyze funds. This nine-square grid maps securities according to their size and value/growth characteristics to help investors understand an investment’s style and measure their style exposure to identify risk. More recently, we launched the qualitative Morningstar Analyst Rating™, an expression of our analysis of a fund as a Gold, Silver, Bronze, Neutral, or Negative rating.

Thought leaders and new ideas
In addition to our analyst teams, groups of researchers around Morningstar devote time to exploring ideas that often emerge in our products. Led by accomplished researchers such as Paul Kaplan, Tom Idzorek, and John Rekenthaler, these groups not only investigate their own theories, but also monitor relevant topics other academics and experts are studying. Morningstar methodologies often grow from the advances proposed by our researchers to improve the investor experience.

Tools for today and tomorrow
Morningstar is known for introducing tools that help people see how different investments work together. The Morningstar® Ownership Zone™, launched in 2003, adds another layer of detail to the Morningstar Style Box by showing the range of stock sizes and styles in a portfolio. The Morningstar Market Barometer presents an instant picture of the market, indicating how different investment types are performing at the moment. And the Morningstar® Sector Delta™ visually represents how diversified the stocks are in an investor’s portfolio to help avoid industry overlap. We continue to delve into new ideas and pursue them, looking for ways to help provide investors with new perspectives.
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