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Wednesday, April 10, 2002

Morningstar Broadens Horizons

by: Tony Pennino

Morningstar Investment Services is hard at work building a new separate account product, Tom Florence, president of Morningstar Investment Services, told attendees at The Money Management Institute's conference for the separate account business. Florence did not have an exact date as to when the service would be up and running, but he expected the launch to be before the end of the calendar year.

"We have a pre-existing framework with our mutual fund product," the executive reported. "We will be applying that to the separate account side. It will include asset allocation and an overlay of analysis that looks at the individual security holdings."

"Our view is that separate accounts are a product framework. If you can analyze a fund, if you can talk to a portfolio manager, if you can understand what they are doing to be successful, then you can apply those lessons to the separate account side," he continued.

"We are asking, 'What is important to the advisor?' It is important that they don't silo as much as it is important that we don't silo," he contended.

"We have detailed portfolio engineering and analytics. That is certainly something we will bring to the separate account arena," Florence further contended.

He did note that the firm had not yet worked out the segmentation yet. According to Florence, this is the firm's first foray into this field. 

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