Morningstar turns 25

A look back at Morningstar's path since its 1984 founding

Joe Mansueto 18 May, 2009 | 11:09AM
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It's hard to believe it's been a quarter of a century.

This week marks the 25th anniversary of the founding of Morningstar. And yes, have things changed. What started in my one-bedroom apartment with a couple of clunky computers and piles of mutual fund prospectuses has now become a global company with 2,300 employees in 19 different countries, covering nearly 300,000 investments and serving more than 6 million investors.

It's been a great journey. Our very first product, published in 1984, was The Mutual Fund Sourcebook™, a quarterly print publication featuring performance data, portfolio holdings, and other information on roughly 400 funds. At the time, it was a nice accomplishment because there really wasn't much independent, objective information available on mutual funds. I believed back then and still believe today that funds are excellent investment vehicles for individual investors. Little did I know, though, how quickly and robustly the industry would grow. It's been fun to be a part of that growth, fun to have the privilege of analysing and learning from the titans of the fund industry--John Bogle, Peter Lynch, John Templeton, Bill Gross, and so many others.

Since those early days, we here at Morningstar have enjoyed the chance to both reflect and affect the evolving investment industry. Along with the rest of the world, we moved from paper to floppy disks to CDs to the Internet. We expanded our coverage from mutual funds to closed-end funds, stocks, international investments, variable annuities, separate accounts, 529 plans (investment plans to save for future education costs in the US), exchange-traded funds, hedge funds, and other investments. We moved from analysing individual investments to analysing entire portfolios and helping investors understand how all of their holdings work in concert. We also gradually broadened our product line to address the needs of all types of investors, from individuals to advisers to institutions.

Amidst all of this growth and change, one thing has stayed constant. Morningstar's core mission is the same today as it was on day one: to create great products that help you reach your financial goals.

And so, in this volatile market environment, I encourage you to keep your focus on your long-term goals rather than the short-term noise. We all know that's much easier said than done, but our goal at Morningstar as we move forward is to keep striving to use our research, technology, and design capabilities to create innovative tools and products that will help you do just that.

Thank you for supporting us, for reading us, for writing to us, for inspiring us. It's meant an incredible amount to us. And I encourage you to let us know what we can do to serve you better over the next 25 years.


Joe Mansueto

The information contained within is for educational and informational purposes ONLY. It is not intended nor should it be considered an invitation or inducement to buy or sell a security or securities noted within nor should it be viewed as a communication intended to persuade or incite you to buy or sell security or securities noted within. Any commentary provided is the opinion of the author and should not be considered a personalised recommendation. The information contained within should not be a person's sole basis for making an investment decision. Please contact your financial professional before making an investment decision.

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Joe Mansueto  Joe Mansueto is founder and CEO of Morningstar, Inc.