As the sun set on 2016 and we welcome in the first weeks of the new year, I would like to round off with a reflection of Morningstar’s annual achievements in Asia.
First up, we are glad to bring Morningstar Indexes to Asia. The Bank of Singapore is the first Morningstar Indexes client in the region, licensing the Morningstar® Exponential Technologies Moat Focus IndexTM to create structured products that are made available to accredited investors in Singapore and Hong Kong.
In addition, Morningstar provided real-time market data and equity fundamentals to power a few trading platforms in the region for investors in Hong Kong, China and Singapore.
We provided fund manager research to support our institutional clients in Taiwan, China and Singapore to drive their new product creations and we look forward to expand the reach of this capabilities to more Asian markets to help fund investors.
We also continued expansion of our equity research coverage and built a capability to offer equity researches in local languages, enabling local investors to benefit from our in-depth equity analysis and broaden the reach of our equity research methodology. In particular, we have published a book “Why Moats Matter. The Morningstar Approach to Stock Investing” in simplified Chinese, to provide a deep-dive of the “economic moat” concept to Chinese investors in Asia.
In 2016, we set up locally managed social media accounts, including LinkedIn showcase pages in Hong Kong and Singapore; as well as a WeChat account to engage with local audience. Since its launch in April 2016, our WeChat user base has grown to more than 9000 followers.
Further, in 2016, Morningstar aligned and added additional client and product support resources across the region to enhance our customer experience, putting “Client First” mentality into practice.
In other big news, Morningstar introduced industry’s first sustainable ratings for 20,000 funds globally, giving investors new way to evaluate investments based on Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) factors. We have also introduced forward-looking Morningstar analyst rating for exchange-traded funds, continue to aid due diligence efforts and serve investors’ best interests. In November 2016, Morningstar has launched the Open Indexes Project, offering asset managers and other firms the ability to benchmark their investments against more than 100 Morningstar global equity indexes for free. As Joe Mansueto, Morningstar’s Founder has said, “the Open Indexes Project offers the industry a new path to lowering costs and ultimately reducing fees charged to individual investors”.
Our third Pan-Asian Morningstar Institutional Conference held in June 2016 was well-received and attended. Keynote speaker John Tsang, financial secretary of the Government of the Hong Kong S.A.R., provided insights into new growth drivers in an interconnected world. Attendees also heard from John C. Bogle, founder and former chief executive of Vanguard and creator of the first index mutual fund, as well as a host of other esteemed speakers in the financial industry.
Morningstar also received recognition from Asian Private Banker, a pan-Asian private bank-focused media outlet, has named Morningstar the winner in the “Best Service Provider – Fund Research” category in its annual Asset Management Awards for Excellence. Morningstar received the award for its manager research, ratings, and service offering.
Last but not least, we continued the expansion of our teams, with the appointments of a number of talented individuals joining the Asia operation - including Manfred Wong as the director, portfolio specialist; and Stephanie Woo, as the associate director, portfolio specialist for Morningstar Investment Management Asia. Also, we welcome Chris Carlin, head of alliances, redistribution solutions and data products in Asia; Alice Yu, client support manager; Jodie Henson, chief compliance officer of Asia; Leonard Chu, senior compliance officer; and Peter Dietrich, a senior business development leader relocated from Chicago to Asia as head of business development for Greater China for Morningstar Asia. With these valued additions, we continue to build an ambitious, creative and entrepreneurial group which is driven by our passion to help investors.
While this has been both a robust and exciting year, we trust that our friends and customers can leverage these developments and ensure a terrific 2017 ahead.