Morningstar expects to launch the database in early 2009, and there is no cost to institutions to participate, according to the announcement.
The database will include more than 300 quantitative data points from public- and private-sector plans, including quarterly performance, portfolio holdings, assets under management, fees and expenses, as well as qualitative information about plan sponsors, trustees, management, service providers, participants, and consultants.
Performance data will allow Morningstar to report on the absolute and relative performance of plans, while holdings data will allow these plans to be placed in the Morningstar Style Box, a nine-square grid that classifies securities by size and by value and growth characteristics.
Morningstar said a steering committee has been established to oversee the construction of the database. In addition to senior staff from both Morningstar and Ibbotson Associates, the steering committee currently includes Dr. P. Brett Hammond, managing director and chief investment strategist for TIAA-CREF Asset Management; Hank Kim, executive director and counsel for the National Conference on Public Employee Retirement Systems; Dr. Olivia S. Mitchell, professor at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania and executive director of The Pension Research Council; and Anna M. Rappaport, past president of The Society of Actuaries and founder of Anna Rappaport Consulting.
“Pension plans, endowments, and foundations in the United States manage approximately $15 trillion, and their investments, performance, and risk touch everyone. But comprehensive and timely public information about these institutions is lacking,” said Joe Mansueto, chairman and chief executive officer of Morningstar, in the announcement. “We hope to bring greater transparency and an improved level of understanding to the industry. This new database will for the first time allow those involved with the management of public and private plans as well as plan participants, donors, and taxpayers to compare and benchmark these plans against their peers and to other portfolios.”