Our Thinking  ⟩  Trending Research

Our Thinking  ⟩  Trending Research


Trending Research

Our latest thinking and most sought-after analysis


Brexit: A Morningstar View

This report on Brexit compiles key insights from Morningstar. We examine the impact of possible Brexit outcomes on investors and what investors should do now.

Emma Wall | Dec 10, 2018


Your KID’s First-Term Report

This paper examines the requirements of Key Information Documents (KIDs) and makes focused recommendations on how they could be improved.

Andy Pettit | Nov 22, 2018


Morningstar Direct U.S. Asset Flows Update–October 2018

Conduct competitive analysis, develop new products, and market managed investments using our comprehensive estimated asset flow and updated market share data.

Kevin McDevitt | Nov 20, 2018


Conflicts of Interest in Mutual Fund Sales

In this paper, we examine data from the SEC and Morningstar to quantify how payments to brokers drive fund flows and affect investor returns, and to determine the extent to which regulation has been effective in mitigating conflicts of interest.

Jasmin Sethi, Jake Spiegel, Aron Szapiro | Nov 15, 2018


The Health Savings Account Landscape–2018

Investors have few resources available to help them compare the hundreds of health savings account providers that exist. To provide a comprehensive resource about HSAs for investors, we evaluated 10 of the largest HSA providers.

Leo Acheson | Nov 12, 2018


Morningstar Markets Observer–Q3 2018 Data

Get timely macroeconomic and market data you can use with clients to discuss trends, set appropriate risk and return expectations, and explain investor behavior in this quarterly collection of charts and analysis.

Timothy Strauts, Alina Lamy | Oct 29, 2018


Quantitative Analytics Quarterly: 3 Ways to Skin a Scenario

Scenario analysis is an essential tool for managing long-term expectations and exploring shorter-term volatility. We run a market event through our scenario analysis tools to examine the impact of user-defined constraints on portfolio returns.

Chau Pham, Michael O'Leary | Oct 25, 2018


The Effects of the Retail Distribution Review on Fund Fees in the UK

We look at the impact the RDR has had on open-end fund fees against the backdrop of the rise of passive investing, using a sample of funds that encompass the most commonly sought market exposures, from the viewpoint of a UK investor.

Jackie Beard | Oct 15, 2018


A Framework for Evaluating Strategic-Beta Bond Funds

Evaluate approaches to the portfolio construction processes for strategic-beta fixed-income funds using our framework.

Alex Bryan, Jose Garcia-Zarate | Oct 03, 2018


Morningstar’s European Active/Passive Barometer–October 2018

The Morningstar European Active/Passive Barometer is a semiannual report that measures the performance of European active managers against their passive peers within their respective categories.

Dimitar Boyadzhiev | Oct 01, 2018


Morningstar Sustainability Atlas: Carbon Edition

Examine the sustainability profiles of Morningstar’s 46 equity market indexes using company-level environmental, social, and governance scores.

Dan Lefkovitz | Oct 01, 2018


How Long Can a Factor-Based Portfolio Underperform?

We apply the concept of Longest Underperformance Period to factor-based portfolios and show that even factor-based portfolios that outperform over the long haul can have shockingly long stretches of underperformance.

Maciej Kowara, Paul Kaplan | Sep 17, 2018


How Does Sustainability Impact Investor Decisions?

Our quantitative research team attempts to decompose investor preferences for sustainable funds by examining the relationship between monthly fund flows and three Morningstar fund-level characteristics.

Madison Sargis, Dan Kleeman | Aug 17, 2018


Morningstar’s Active/Passive Barometer Midyear 2018: Active Funds’ Success Rates Decline in the Year’s First Half

The Morningstar Active/Passive Barometer is a semiannual report that measures the performance of U.S. active managers against their passive peers within their respective categories.

Ben Johnson, Alex Bryan | Aug 15, 2018


Morningstar U.S. Prospects June 2018

Discover up-and-coming or under-the-radar strategies in a quarterly list that our manager research analysts think may be worthy of full coverage in the future.

Greg Carlson, Christopher Franz | Jul 20, 2018


Robo-Advisor Upgrade! Installing a Program for Profitability: Digital Advice Raises Profits for Investment Services Industry

Robo-advisors are developing new strategies to overcome faults with their original business model. We assess robo-advisors in light of evolving business models and conclude that select-robo advisors have a viable path to profitability.

Michael Wong | Jul 05, 2018


Mind the Gap 2018, U.S.

Morningstar’s latest annual investor returns study has found that the gap between official total returns and those actually experienced by investors across all mutual funds has shrunk to 26 basis points over the 10 years that ended March 2018.

Russel Kinnel | Jun 12, 2018


Quantitative Analytics Quarterly: What Factors Drive Investment Flows?

Over the past three years, investors preferred more established funds at a higher rate than the previous period studied. Our report also shows that performance is less of a driver of flows than three years ago.

Madison Sargis, Lee Davidson | May 22, 2018


2017 Global Asset Flows Report

Global net flows reached nearly $2 trillion in 2017, amounting to the largest inflows in a decade. We look at what these trends reveal about past performance, as well as investor behavior and expectations going forward.

Kevin McDevitt | May 21, 2018


Passive Sustainable Funds: The Global Landscape

See the global landscape of passive sustainable funds and the choices available to investors. We focus on two regions that have seen the greatest adoption of index-tracking sustainable funds—Europe and the United States.

Hortense Bioy, Kenneth Lamont | May 15, 2018


Finding Bond Funds That Can Beat Their Benchmarks After Fees

Typical active fixed-income fund managers struggle to beat the fund’s benchmark after fees. We look at historical excess returns distributions for funds in 25 Morningstar fixed-income categories to learn what drives underperformance.

Mara Dobrescu, Matias Möttölä | May 08, 2018


2018 Target-Date Fund Landscape

Assets in target-date mutual funds surpassed $1 trillion in 2017. The unimpeded growth means target-date funds play an increasingly important role in the retirement success for more and more investors.

Jeff Holt | May 07, 2018


Measuring Transition Risk in Fund Portfolios: The Morningstar Portfolio Carbon Risk Score

Understanding the risks posed by climate change can help investors make better decisions. The Morningstar® Portfolio Carbon Risk ScoreTM is a new metric that investors can use to evaluate carbon risk at the portfolio level. The scores can be used to compare funds with each other and with their benchmarks.

Jon Hale | May 01, 2018


Annual U.S. Fund Fee Study–2018

Our manager research analysts evaluate the cost of U.S. mutual funds and exchange-traded funds (ETFs) in Morningstar's database and identify the latest fund fee trends in this annual study.

Patricia Oey | Apr 26, 2018


How Long Can a Good Fund Underperform Its Benchmark?

Funds that outperformed their benchmarks had also trailed that benchmark for an average of nine to 12 years sometime during that period, according to our study.

Maciej Kowara, Paul Kaplan | Mar 20, 2018


Fund Managers by Gender: Through the Performance Lens

Morningstar began formally studying fund managers by gender in 2015 after observing anecdotally that women are underrepresented in the fund industry. We looked at fund managers' performance by gender to see if the results help explain why there are so few fund managers who are women.

Madison Sargis, Kathryn Wing | Mar 08, 2018


Sustainable Funds U.S. Landscape Report

Sustainable investing has gained considerable traction over the past several years. Yet, these funds can be difficult to identify and analyze. This report clarifies the choices of sustainable funds available in the U.S. as of the end of 2017.

Jon Hale | Jan 31, 2018


Stop Guessing: Using Participant Data to Select the Optimal QDIA

We present a framework for using participant data to help determine which type of qualified default investment alternative, or QDIA, may be most appropriate for a plan.

Tom Idzorek, David Blanchett | Jan 30, 2018


Passive Fund Providers Take an Active Approach to Investment Stewardship

To better understand the investment stewardship activities of index managers, we surveyed the largest providers of index funds and exchange-traded funds across the U.S., Europe, and Asia.

Hortense Bioy, Alex Bryan | Dec 06, 2017


Morningstar Global Fund Investor Experience Study 2017

We created the Morningstar’s Global Fund Investor Experience to encourage a dialogue about best practices for mutual funds from the perspective of fund shareholders. This year we cover 25 countries across North America, Europe, Asia, and Africa.

Anthony Serhan | Oct 09, 2017


LDI Misapplied: Income Portfolios and Liability-Driven Investing

Building efficient retirement income portfolios is complex. This paper explores the unique aspects of properly applying liability-driven investing to the creation of an asset allocation for an individual investor.

Thomas Idzorek, David Blanchett | Oct 02, 2017


The Aftermath of Fund Management Change

How does the typical fund fare after a management change, and how do investors react? Our research explores what impact management change has, if any, in a fund’s future performance.

Madison Sargis, Kai Chang | Jul 24, 2017


The Default Investment Decision: Weighing Cost and Personalization

When it comes to selecting a plan default investment, there are a number of factors to consider. Managed accounts typically come at a higher cost than target-date funds, but have the potential to deliver a higher level of personalization.

David Blanchett | Jun 07, 2017


The Fall of Funds: Why Some Funds Fail

Full fund closures can have significant negative consequences for investors. To better understand fund closures and their potential impact, we explored the factors leading to fund liquidations and mergers.

Madison Sargis, Lee Davidson | May 31, 2017


Fund Managers by Gender: The Global Landscape

Since 2015, we’ve studied where women have made progress or stepped backward within the fund industry. In this paper, we examined 26,000+ funds registered in 56 countries to learn what women are managing in financial markets globally.

Madison Sargis, Laura Pavlenko Lutton | Nov 28, 2016


Building Better Core Menus in the Age of Default Investments

With the mass adoption of default investment solutions in retirement plans, the type of investor that uses the core retirement plan menu has changed. Many participants are defaulted into solutions such as target-date funds and managed accounts.

David Blanchett, Daniel Bruns | Nov 28, 2016


The Glide Path Selection Problem: A Quantitative Approach to Assessing Glide Path Fit for DC Participants

The target-date decision has lacked consideration for glide path design, resulting in potential mismatch between the equity glide path used by the plan sponsor and the optimal glide path for the specific demographics of the plan participants.

Daniel Bruns, Lucian Marinescu | Mar 10, 2016

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