As 2018 fades away in our collective rear-view mirrors, we wanted to take a minute to reflect on what shaped up to be a very busy, and productive, year. From a product development perspective, Direct Cloud has seen numerous additions over the last 365 days, and we hope these enhancements have provided value and made it easier to do your job.
2018 was a year of brand-new content.
We stayed true to our roots and focused on developing new data sets and research capabilities that were new to Morningstar, and in many cases, innovations in the industry at-large. This included the release of dozens of new ESG data points. You can now assess the carbon risk of portfolios using our new Carbon Scores and get insights on a fund’s ESG intentionality. If you’re putting together a model, you can view the aggregate sustainability scores of that portfolio and what would happen to those scores if changes were made.
We scaled our analyst ratings with the release of the Morningstar Quantitative Ratings for Funds. Using a machine-learning model that uses the decision-making processes of our analysts, we’re now able to surface forward looking analyst ratings in Direct on six times more funds in the global market than was previously possible.
We demystified portfolios that hold derivatives with the release of the Economic Exposure view in the Allocation component. For funds that hold certain derivative contracts this will show you the value of the underlying assets instead of the value of the derivative contracts themselves, giving you a more accurate picture of what a fund holds.
We provided a new view on funds’ revenue exposure. Based on a proprietary methodology we now show the various geographical locations to which a portfolio has exposure, measured by where it’s underlying companies receive revenue.
We built out the first phase of our Fixed Income effort, releasing several data points that we are now calculating ourselves instead of relying on self-reported figures. Keep a close eye on this space as we’ll be releasing dozens of new fixed income data points soon!
2018 was a year of functionality enhancements.
Beyond all the new content now populating Direct Cloud, we also spent a lot time in 2018 making key functionality enhancements to the core product.
We enhanced our risk modeling capabilities through the addition of custom scenario analysis and risk decomposition functionality. You can now create your own macroeconomic scenarios and shock a fund or a portfolio to see how you would expect returns to look in the future. You can also evaluate whether a fund or portfolio is being adequately compensated for the risk it is taking.
We added batching and scheduling so that you can setup automatic exports of data reports on a programmatic basis.
We developed Research Alerts, so that you can be notified as soon as the research report or article that you care about is published.
We enabled the sharing of lists and screens to help facilitate better collaboration.
We rolled out Investment Policies so that you can better benchmark models and accounts and run total portfolio attribution on your own asset classes.
We released an entirely new homepage experience to simplify the entry point into our Cloud experience.
We optimized for performance, making the application faster than ever.
For all the large-scale items that make a year-in-review list like this one, there are many more that go on behind the scenes to make your experience using Direct an even better one. While we are excited about the progress we’ve made over the course of 2018, we know we have a lot to get done in 2019. To name a few: we’ll be releasing our multi asset risk model, building on our fixed income data set, bringing in more strategy data through our alliance with Mercer, and making the data you’ve setup on Direct Desktop accessible in the Cloud. As always, if there are things you’d like to see, drop us a line here on the Morningstar Community! Wishing you all the best in 2019!