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Morningstar Manager Research Overview

Morningstar.com.au  |  26 Jul 2022Text size  Decrease  Increase  |  
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Morningstar Qualitative Manager Research

Morningstar is a leading global provider of independent investment research, with more than 120 manager research analysts based across North America, Europe, Australia and Asia. The 14 member Australasian manager research team has over 14 years of average experience and has been producing qualitative manager research and ratings since 1999.

Morningstar’s qualitative manager research aims to determine which investments deserve the attention of investors and which do not. Morningstar assesses investment managers based on how we believe they will perform in the future over an economic cycle, against both peers and accepted benchmarks. Our model rewards managers that are open and transparent, have a well-run investment process and, importantly, are good fiduciaries of investors’ monies.

Morningstar is committed to the principle of independence. We do not charge asset managers to rate their strategies and associated vehicles, nor do we permit asset managers to commission ratings from us. This means that we determine our own coverage universe. Our coverage is organised across Morningstar Categories that span all major asset classes. We had full coverage on over 480 flagship strategies which mapped to over 3,000 underlying funds, ETFs and LICs at 31 July 2020.

There are three guiding principles that define the strategies Morningstar covers:

Investment Merit – As well as including some of the best-known strategies on offer globally, there is also scope for worthy but largely undiscovered strategies to fall within our review.

Client Demand – Given our user-pays philosophy, Morningstar responds to client demand to initiate strategy coverage. Correspondingly, we will cease coverage of funds and sectors where no substantial client demand exists.

Strategy Size – If there is a fund that has a large amount of assets, it is likely that coverage of the strategy will benefit a large number of investors and although there may not be current client demand, Morningstar may cover it in order to provide a view of the offering to existing investors.

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Prior to any sector review Morningstar’s category review committee meets to determine the category constituents. Funds considered for inclusion in the review include the following; analysts’ best ideas, Morningstar Prospects, fund coverage requests and client demand.

The Morningstar Analyst Rating™ is the final outcome of a collaborative process based on a site visit, manager questionnaire, quantitative and holdings-based analysis of the portfolio and an assessment of all the key issues outlined, as illustrated in the diagram below.

Morningstar Fund Review Process


Following the conclusion of the manager review process, the Morningstar Australasian Manager Research Ratings Committee convenes to determine which investments deserve the attention of investors and which do not. This committee is responsible for the governance and oversight of the rating outcomes and consists of senior members of the manager research team and can include senior members from the Morningstar global analyst group. The entire Morningstar manager research team participates in the ratings process, but voting is limited to the APAC directors of manager research, the sector lead and lead strategy analyst.

The Morningstar Analyst Rating for funds is expressed on a five-tier scale running from Gold to Negative. For actively managed funds, the top three ratings of Gold, Silver, and Bronze all indicate that our analysts expect the rated investment vehicle to produce positive alpha relative to its Morningstar Category index over the long term, meaning a period of at least five years. For passive strategies, the same ratings indicate that we expect the fund to deliver alpha relative to its Morningstar Category index that is above the lesser of the category median or zero over the long term. The Analyst Rating does not express a view on a given asset class or peer group; rather, it seeks to evaluate each strategy and associated vehicle within the context of an appropriate benchmark and peer group.

Ratings for active strategies should be interpreted as follows, where performance expectations refer to performance over a holding period of at least five years, and where alpha is calculated relative to the standard Morningstar category index:


These are our top recommendations within their Morningstar Categories. Our evaluation of their key pillars in the context of the fees charged at the share-class level ranks them in the top 15% of all investments with expected positive net-of-fee alpha in their category.


These sit just below Gold but are also among our strongest investment ideas within their Morningstar Categories. Our evaluation of their key pillars in the context of the fees charged at the share-class level ranks them in the next 35% of all vehicles with expected positive net-of-fee alpha in their category.


We do not expect these investments to perform as well as Gold or Silver offerings, but we still expect them to deliver positive net-of-fee alpha. Our evaluation of their key pillars in the context of the fees charged at the share-class level ranks them in the bottom 50% of all vehicles with expected positive net-of-fee alpha in their category.


We expect these investments to deliver net-of-fee alpha that is less than or equal to zero. Our evaluation of their key pillars in the context of the fees charged at the share-class level ranks them in the top 70% of all vehicles with net-of-fee alpha less than or equal to zero in their category.


These are the worst investments within their Morningstar Categories in terms of our expected net- of-fee alpha. Our evaluation of their key pillars at the price level for the rated vehicle and associated share class(es) ranks them in the bottom 30% of all vehicles with expected net-of-fee alpha that is less than or equal to zero in their category.

Morningstar may also use two other designations in place of a rating:

Under Review

This designation means that a change at a rated fund requires further review to determine the impact on the rating.

Not Ratable

This designation is used only where we are providing a report on a new strategy or on a strategy where there are no relevant comparators, but where investors require information as to suitability.


Morningstar Prospects

The Morningstar Prospects list highlights strategies that the Manager Research believe are worthy of additional investor attention. Such investments likely have enduring competitive advantages and long-term appeal, but have so far not met our coverage criteria. Morningstar evaluates funds for inclusion based our standard 5P framework. Inclusion on the list does not guarantee that a strategy will be subject to full analyst coverage, and strategies can still move to full coverage without being on the Prospects list.


Annual Manager Research Schedule

Sector reviews form the basis of the Morningstar manager research process. Full reviews are conducted on annual 12-monthly cycles. The following schedule shows Morningstar Australasia’s intended fund research schedule. Morningstar reserves the right to alter this schedule on the basis of developments or unforeseen circumstances.


Communication of Ratings:

Once ratings have been decided, they are communicated to subscribers through the publication of our fund reports. Subscribers are notified of ratings changes through a daily research update email.

No external parties are alerted to ratings changes prior to report publication.

Fund coverage requests can be submitted to Aman Ramrakha.


For any queries, please contact:

Tim Murphy, CFA, CAIA
Director of Manager Research
+61 2 9276 4436 (AUS)

Aman Ramrakha, CIMA
Director of Manager Research Ratings
+61 499 550 986 (AUS)


Morningstar Manager Research Team Qualifications, Tenure and Industry Experience (as at September 2020)


Morningstar Manager Research Team Biographies








About Morningstar

Morningstar, Inc. is a leading provider of independent investment research in North America, Europe, Australia, and Asia. The Company offers an extensive line of products and services for individual investors, financial advisors, asset managers, retirement plan providers and sponsors, and institutional investors in the debt and private capital markets. Morningstar provides data and research insights on a wide range of investment offerings, including managed investment products, publicly listed companies, private capital markets, debt securities, and real-time global market data. Morningstar also offers investment management services through its investment advisory subsidiaries, with approximately $205 billion in assets under advisement and management as of June 30, 2020. The Company had operations in 27 countries as of June 30, 2020. For more information, visit www.morningstar.com/company.


© 2022 Morningstar, Inc. All rights reserved. Neither Morningstar, its affiliates, nor the content providers guarantee the data or content contained herein to be accurate, complete or timely nor will they have any liability for its use or distribution. This information is to be used for personal, non-commercial purposes only. No reproduction is permitted without the prior written consent of Morningstar. Any general advice or 'regulated financial advice' under New Zealand law has been prepared by Morningstar Australasia Pty Ltd (ABN: 95 090 665 544, AFSL: 240892), or its Authorised Representatives, and/or Morningstar Research Ltd, subsidiaries of Morningstar, Inc, without reference to your objectives, financial situation or needs. For more information, refer to our Financial Services Guide (AU) and Financial Advice Provider Disclosure Statement (NZ). Our publications, ratings and products should be viewed as an additional investment resource, not as your sole source of information. Morningstar’s full research reports are the source of any Morningstar Ratings and are available from Morningstar or your adviser. Past performance does not necessarily indicate a financial product's future performance. To obtain advice tailored to your situation, contact a licensed financial adviser. Some material is copyright and published under licence from ASX Operations Pty Ltd ACN 004 523 782. The article is current as at date of publication.

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