is flexing its muscles in the financial advisor space.
The company, well known for its independent investment research, announced Thursday it has created a new business unit focused on the wealth management segment.The goal is to “streamline the investment management process for advisors and help them provide their clients with new levels of personalization,” a company spokesperson said.
The wealth management group’s first product launch will occur later this year with the roll out of a direct indexing capability on Morningstar’s Turnkey Asset Management Platform (TAMP) for advisors.
Direct indexing, which involves buying an index’s underlying securities and selling those that experience price decline, is becoming increasingly popular. Fidelity said recently it was planning to offer such a product to retail investors. Franklin Templeton also announced a foray into the business with its purchase of O’Shaughnessy Asset Management, which owns direct indexer Canvas.
Morningstar’s new wealth management solutions group unit encompasses several business lines, including managed portfolios from Morningstar’s Investment Management group, portfolio management software Morningstar Office, investment data aggregator ByAllAccounts, and the individual investor experience across Morningstar.com. The U.K. and international business from Praemium, which Morningstar announced acquisition plans for late last year, would also be part of the group once that deal is closed.
Daniel Needham, who was named president of the wealth management group, said in the press release that one of the company’s goals is to “free up advisors’ time by making the workflow seamless and bringing freedom of investment choice.”
This allows advisors to do “what they do best: serve their clients,” said Needham, who previously served as president and chief investment officer of Morningstar’s investment management group since 2015. He continues to oversee the investment management division, with Dan Kemp selected this summer to serve as global CIO. Kemp has been with the company since 2014.
Morningstar on Thursday also announced some new and recent additions to its wealth solutions group’s leadership team. This includes Elizabeth Durkee, who joined the company in January in a newly created role that leads marketing across Morningstar’s Wealth Management Solutions. Most recently, she served as head of marketing for BNY Mellon Investment Management North America and BNY Mellon Securities Corp.