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The Company Behind the Morningstar Rating

Morningstar, Inc. is a globally recognized financial services firm established in 1984, with its headquarters in Chicago, Illinois. Made famous for its comprehensive investment research, the company provides an array of tools, data, and expertise to individual investors, financial advisors, and institutions. Morningstar's primary offerings encompass mutual funds, ETFs, and stock analysis, but its reach has expanded to include investment management and retirement solutions. Through its extensive databases and software, the company aids both retail and professional investors by offering insights and resources that aid in making informed financial decisions.

Founded in a Chicago Bedroom

Morningstar, Inc. is a global financial services firm founded in 1984 by Joe Mansueto. Its origins trace back to Chicago, where Mansueto began his venture from his apartment with an initial investment of $80,000. Initially, Morningstar's primary goal was to provide detailed research and analysis on mutual funds for individual investors, filling a gap in accessible and comprehensive fund information. The company's first publication was a bi-weekly print sourcebook that provided data on mutual funds. Over the years, Morningstar has expanded its reach through both organic growth, as well as a number of strategic acquisitions.

The Morningstar Rating

The Morningstar Rating, often referred to as the "star rating," is a quantitatively driven assessment given to mutual funds and other investment products based on their historical risk-adjusted performance. Rated on a scale of one to five stars, the system evaluates funds within specific categories, comparing them to their peers. A fund with a five-star rating has historically demonstrated superior risk-adjusted returns compared to its category peers, while a one-star fund has underperformed. The rating is based on a fund's performance over three, five, and ten-year periods, if applicable. Investors and advisors commonly use the Morningstar Rating as one tool among many to help gauge the relative performance of an investment.

Other Services

While the Morningstar rating is what the company is most known for, it’s not all that it provides, and the company offers a myriad of services tailored for investors. The company provides in-depth research, data, and analysis on a wide spectrum of investment products, including stocks, bonds, and exchange-traded funds (ETFs). Their software platforms, such as Morningstar Direct and Morningstar Advisor Workstation, offer tools for portfolio analysis, asset allocation, and wealth management. Some comparable public companies operating in the same industry are S&P Global, Moody’s, and MSCI.