Morningstar (Nasdaq: MORN), a leading provider of independent investment research, today announced it is creating a comprehensive database for U.S. pensions, endowments, and foundations.
The new initiative is a response to marketplace demand for useful information and analytics about private and public institutions. Culling information from public filings and through voluntary participation, Morningstar expects to launch the database in early 2009. Unlike many existing databases, there is no cost to institutions to participate. The database will include participating funds' investment strategy, performance, portfolio information, and operations data.
"Pension plans, endowments, and foundations in the United States manage approximately $15 trillion, and their investments, performance, and risk touch everyone. But comprehensive and timely public information about these institutions is lacking. Today's market environment only illustrates the need for a national public and private plan database," said Joe Mansueto, chairman and chief executive officer of Morningstar. "We hope to bring greater transparency and an improved level of understanding to the industry. This new database will for the first time allow those involved with the management of public and private plans as well as plan participants, donors, and taxpayers to compare and benchmark these plans against their peers and to other portfolios."
In May 2007, Morningstar began to solicit interest among pensions, endowments, and foundations for the formation of a database. The company received a strong positive response from both public and private plans indicating they would supply performance and holdings data. A steering committee has been established to oversee the construction of the database. In addition to senior staff from both Morningstar and Ibbotson Associates, the steering committee currently includes Dr. P. Brett Hammond, managing director and chief investment strategist for TIAA-CREF Asset Management; Hank Kim, executive director and counsel for the National Conference on Public Employee Retirement Systems; Dr. Olivia S. Mitchell, professor at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania and executive director of The Pension Research Council; and Anna M. Rappaport, past president of The Society of Actuaries and founder of Anna Rappaport Consulting.
Morningstar will collect more than 300 quantitative data points from public- and private-sector plans, including quarterly performance, portfolio holdings, assets under management, fees and expenses, as well as qualitative information about plan sponsors, trustees, management, service providers, participants, and consultants. Performance data will allow Morningstar to report on the absolute and relative performance of plans, while holdings data will allow these plans to be placed in the Morningstar Style Box, a nine-square grid that classifies securities by size and by value and growth characteristics.
As a leading provider of independent, objective investment research, Morningstar has amassed comprehensive data on stocks, mutual funds, exchange-traded funds, closed-end funds, variable annuity/life subaccounts, separate accounts, and 529 college-savings plans. The addition of a public and private plan database will allow the company to provide a uniquely comprehensive picture of an investor's portfolio, and new insight to institutions and their constituents.