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John Rekenthaler: Fund Manager Financial Incentives Are Irrelevant

Morningstar's columnist reflects on his decades of analyzing and writing about the mutual fund, retirement, and financial advice industries.

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Our guest this week is John Rekenthaler. Rekenthaler is a director in Morningstar Research Services and a feature contributor to our platforms, including Morningstar.com. A lucid thinker and brilliant writer, his popular "Rekenthaler Report" column has become a must read among investors, financial advisors, fund industry participants, and beyond.

Rekenthaler began his career at Morningstar in 1988 and has worn a number of hats, including leadership roles in our research and investment management divisions. Among other achievements, Rekenthaler has been a key player in developing some of Morningstar's best-known tools, including the Morningstar Rating for funds and the Morningstar Style Box. He holds a bachelor's degree in English from the University of Pennsylvania and a master's degree in business administration from the University of Chicago Graduate School of Business.

Background

The Rekenthaler Report

Morningstar Rating for funds methodology

Morningstar Style Box methodology

Investor Behavior 

Morningstar's Mind the Gap study

Rekenthaler Report: "Mutual Funds: Where Fun Came to Die"

Rekenthaler Report: "3 Reasons Index Investors Deserve Perdition (or Not)"

Rekenthaler Report: "Up-Front Investment Fees Are (Almost) No More"

Incentives

Rekenthaler Report: "Give Performance Fees a Chance"

How John Invests

Rekenthaler Report: "What's in My Portfolio?"

Most and Least Popular Columns

Rekenthaler Report: "Enough with Revenue Sharing!"

Rekenthaler Report: "About that Rigging Claim"

Flash Boys: A Wall Street Revolt, by Michael Lewis, March 2014.

Compelling Academic Research

Rekenthaler Report: "Predicting Mutual Fund Returns With the Ownership Lens"

"Judging Fund Managers by the Company They Keep," by Randolph Cohen, Joshua Coval, and Lubos Pastor; NBER Working Paper No. 9359, December 2002.

The State of Retirement

Rekenthaler Report: "The Retirement Crisis That Isn't?"

Teresa Ghilarducci

"A Perplexing Tale About 401(k)s," by Scott Cooley; Morningstar.com, Nov. 26, 2015.

Rekenthaler Report: "The British Show How to Improve 401(k)s"

Best and Worst Innovations

Rekenthaler Report: "Why ETFs Succeeded for Retail Investors"

Rekenthaler Report: "Tactical-Allocation Funds: Even Worse Than Expected"

Jack Bogle

Rekenthaler Report: "Jack Bogle Strikes Back!"

Rekenthaler Report: "Jack Bogle's (Somewhat) Accidental Legacy"

Corporate Governance

"Anticompetitive Effects of Common Ownership," by Jose Azar, Martin Schmalz, and Isabel Tecu; Journal of Finance, May 2018.

Rekenthaler Report: "Are Index Funds Too Soft on CEOs?"

Rekenthaler Report: "The Latest Salvo Against Indexing"

Rekenthaler Report: "The Doctrine of Shareholder Value Has Indeed Helped Shareholders"

Albert J. "Chainsaw Al" Dunlap  bio

What John Reads

Berkshire Hathaway shareholder letters

Joe Mansueto bio

Reflections on Investing

Rekenthaler Report: "My Investment Howler"