The Long View
The Long View
May 15, 2019
Don Phillips: We’re All in the Behavior Modification Business
1 hr 2 min

Our guest for this week's installment of The Long View podcast is Morningstar managing director Don Phillips. Don was Morningstar's first mutual fund analyst and eventually became CEO of the firm; he established Morningstar's independent voice and mentored scores of analysts. He also helped develop many of the tools that investors today take for granted, such as the Morningstar Style Box and the Morningstar Rating for stocks (also known as the star rating). Throughout his career Don has worked to enact positive change in the fund industry, speaking out on issues such as misleading advertising and high-fee funds as well as the need for better shareholder disclosures.

In this broad-ranging interview, Don discusses his path from a paper boy investor in Templeton Growth Fund to a job analyzing mutual funds at Chicago startup Morningstar in the mid-1980s. He also opines on the industry's evolution from the opaque, sales-driven culture that he encountered 30-plus years ago to its current emphasis on transparency and very low costs.

Early influences
• The paper-boy years: Don’s early investing influences (1:40) • The magic of mutual funds: “Sir John Templeton is my personal money manager” (2:45) • “I had gotten married”: How an aspiring literature professor became Morningstar’s first mutual-fund analyst (4:00)

Building Fund Research
• “Dark days”: What it was like in the fund industry of the 1980s (5:20)
• Democratizing data: When the freshest fund stats were nine months old (7:10)
• Getting them to answer the phone: How Morningstar’s fund database was built (8:30)
• “Putnam wouldn’t talk to us”: How pull demand (i.e., a reporter’s background notes) changed that (9:45)
• “My first job was to read 777 mutual fund prospectuses” (11:20)
• Don’s “el-train” indoctrination to investing (12:10)
• “Not interested (click)”: Opening doors in the early days (13:00)
• “It’s who you surround yourself with”: How to build a team (14:20)
• “Their funds are better than some, not as good as others…”: Morningstar’s approach to serving the financial journalists that called on it (16:10)
• “They found us”: Connecting with our audiences, finding our voice (17:00)
Analyzing Funds, Finding Our Voice
• “Let’s add a gold fund”: Behind the development of the Morningstar Style Box (18:00)
• “You had to be an insider to know that Windsor was a value fund and Janus was a growth fund”: Turning the tables on fund-company marketers (19:05)
• “Lies, Damn Lies, and Fund Advertisements”: Facing down a fund company’s libel suit (21:45)

Achieving Better Outcomes
• Low-cost trend means “better and better deals for the investor” but beware unintended consequences (23:00)
• It’s not the only thing: “You can have a low-cost portfolio that’s wildly inappropriate for an investor that leads to a disastrous outcome” (25:00)
• “We’re all in the behavior-modification business”: Helping people chart a path to their goals (26:40)
• “I would have closed the (Vanguard) Growth Index Fund”: How the experience you create for investors determines your success in the fund industry (36:30)
• Avoiding the “arms-dealer mentality”: How fund companies can ensure investors have better experiences (39:30)
• “The best thing I can do for my clients…is to go on vacation”: On the wisdom of investing without tinkering, and the hazards of information overload (41:00)
Active vs. Passive Investing (and Remembering Jack Bogle)
• “Passive is getting more active every day”: Finding ways to evaluate algorithms and indexes (28:00)
• “Jack is very much with us today”: Remembering Jack Bogle and his impact on investors and Morningstar (29:10)
• “You can’t get away from arithmetic”: If cost is the enemy then investors probably aren’t overdoing it in fleeing active funds for passive (31:30)
• “To me it’s not an either/or battle”: Don on the mix of active and passive funds in his personal portfolio (32:50)
• Personalization as the new active: “The art of investing is matching investment to investor” (35:00)

The Future of Funds, Advice, and Research
• Imagining the fund industry in 10 years (and its similarity to the music business’s radical transformation): “It may be that the mutual fund is like the old LP” (42:20)
• “Investors have a right to know” the ESG consequences of where their money is going (45:00)
• “Digitizing process”: Using big data to assess the investment process (46:10)
• “When you’re reading literature, you’re seeing the world through different eyes”: The importance of diversity to decision-making and life (47:30)
• “Put it on a little piece of paper and put it in a drawer”: How investment committees can avoid knee-jerk reactions and make better decisions (48:30)
• “The art of investing is the match between investment and investor”: New frontiers in fund research (52:00)
• “There is fee pressure, but there’s also a lot of satisfaction”: How the advice industry evolves amid automation and declining prices (56:30)
• “Fiduciary standards in general are hard to enact”: The intentions are good, but beware bureaucracy, red tape, and unintended consequences (58:30)

References
• Don Phillips, recipient of 2016 Matthew R. McArthur Industry Pioneer Award https://investmentsandwealth.org/news-room/2016/imca-awards-recognize-outstanding-achievement
• Sir John Templeton https://www.templeton.org/about/sir-john
• Wall Street Week https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3ADn7V_l4Ws
• Joe Mansueto https://www.morningstar.com/company/about-us/joe
• Don’s love of the liberal arts, literature, and business https://grahamschool.uchicago.edu/news/how-liberal-arts-thrive-business-world
• Don Phillips, “Reflections on Fund Management, Five Lessons from 25 Years” http://www.imas.org.sg/uploads/media/2012/10/31/519_100907_Reflections_on_Fund_Management_Five_Lessons_from_25_Years_Sep11.pdf
• The Wiesenberger Books https://www.ifa.com/articles/arthur_wiesenberger_morningstar/
• Morningstar Mutual Fund Sourcebook https://images.app.goo.gl/LgzRCxK9Q3Bu77WC9
• Charles Royce https://www.roycefunds.com/people/chuck-royce
• The Morningstar Style Box http://www.morningstar.com/InvGlossary/morningstar_style_box.aspx
• Vanguard Windsor Fund https://www.morningstar.com/funds/xnas/vwndx/quote.html
• Court of Appeal, Second District, Division 7, California.; Morningstar, Inc., and Don Phillips, Petitioners, v. SUPERIOR COURT of the State of California, for the County of Los Angeles, Respondent. PILGRIM GROUP, INC., Real Party In Interest; No. B075691. https://caselaw.findlaw.com/ca-court-of-appeal/1769980.html
• ESG Investing https://www.morningstar.com/company/esg-investing
• Morningtar Blog: Sustainable Investing https://www.morningstar.com/blog/tag/sustainableinvesting
• Janus Funds, Super Bowl XXXI (1997), “Eyes” ad https://adage.com/videos/janus-funds-eyes/1024
• “The Evolution of Robo-Advisors”, Morningstar blog (July 2018) https://www.morningstar.com/blog/2018/07/11/robo-advisors.html
• “The Importance of Asset Allocation” by Roger G. Ibbotson, Financial Analysts Journal, May/June 2010 https://www.cfapubs.org/doi/abs/10.2469/faj.v66.n2.4
• “Why Diversity and Inclusion Matter to Investors” by Dan Lefkovitz, Morningstar blog, Dec. 18, 2018 https://www.morningstar.com/blog/2018/12/18/diversity-inclusion.html
• Cathy Odelbo https://www.morningstar.com/company/about-us/catherine
• John Rekenthaler https://www.morningstar.com/articles/archive/208/articles-by-john-rekenthaler.html
• Lori Lucas https://www.ebri.org/about/staff/lori-lucas-cfa
• A Global Guide to Strategic-beta Exchange-Traded Products https://www.morningstar.com/lp/global-guide-to-strategic-beta
• “Strategic-Beta Exchange-Traded Products Continue to Grow, but Show Signs of Maturity” by Ben Johnson, Morningstar blog, Mar. 27, 2019 https://www.morningstar.com/blog/2019/03/27/strategic-beta-etp.html
• “Vanguard Founder Jack Bogle Passes Away” by Dan Culloton and Alec Lucas, Morningstar.com https://www.morningstar.com/articles/908054/vanguard-founder-jack-bogle-passes-away.html
• Invesco QQQ Trust (which tracks the Nasdaq 100 Index) https://www.morningstar.com/etfs/xnas/qqq/quote.html
• Jack Brennan, former Vanguard CEO [to find] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_J.Brennan(businessman)
• Sheryl Garrett https://garrettplanningnetwork.com/about/team

Bogleheads On Investing Podcast
Bogleheads On Investing Podcast
bogleheads
Episode 027: Cliff Asness, host Rick Ferri
Dr. Cliff Asness is a Founder, Managing Principal, and Chief Investment Officer at AQR Capital Management, a quantitative money manager overseeing $186 billion in assets as of December 2019. Prior to co-founding AQR Capital Management, he was a Managing Director and Director of Quantitative Research for the Asset Management Division of Goldman, Sachs & Co. He is an award-winning researcher on quantitative investment strategies and has authored articles for many publications, including The Journal of Portfolio Management, Financial Analysts Journal, The Journal of Finance, and The Journal of Financial Economics. Cliff received a B.S. in economics from the Wharton School and a B.S. in engineering from the Moore School of Electrical Engineering at the University of Pennsylvania, graduating summa cum laude in both. He received an M.B.A. with high honors and a Ph.D. in finance from the University of Chicago, where he was Eugene Fama’s student and teaching assistant for two years. This podcast is hosted by Rick Ferri, CFA, a long-time Boglehead and investment adviser. The Bogleheads are a group of like-minded individual investors who follow the general investment and business beliefs of John C. Bogle, founder and former CEO of the Vanguard Group. It is a conflict-free community where individual investors reach out and provide education, assistance, and relevant information to other investors of all experience levels at no cost. The organization's free website is Bogleheads.org and the wiki site is Bogleheads® wiki. Bogleheads sites are operated by volunteers who contribute time and talent. Donations help defray operating costs. Since 2000, the Bogleheads' have held national conferences in major cities around the country and currently meet in Philadelphia in the autumn of each year. There are 56 Local Chapters in the US and three Foreign Chapters that also meet regularly. New Chapters are being added on a regular basis. This podcast is supported by the John C. Bogle Center for Financial Literacy, a non-profit organization approved by the IRS as a 501(c)(3) public charity on February 6, 2012.
59 min
WEALTHTRACK
WEALTHTRACK
Consuelo Mack
Successful Investing: Timeless Advice
Can investing be simple? Can we stop worrying about what’s happening on Wall Street, in Washington, with Fed policy, inflation, corporate earnings, and numerous other headline-making concerns? Can we just get on with our lives and still invest successfully?  According to this week’s guest, the answer is yes, and we shouldn’t even care what the market is doing.   What should we care about? How should we invest? That is the focus of this week’s exclusive WEALTHTRACK interview.   Our guest is Charles Ellis, the author of the investment classic WINNING THE LOSER’S GAME, available now in its 2017 7th edition. Ellis is the author of 16 other books including the recently published 10th-anniversary edition of THE ELEMENTS OF INVESTING, co-written with his good friend, Princeton economics professor Burton Malkiel.    Ellis is a globally recognized financial thought leader, investment consultant, and advisor to governments, institutions, and endowments. He also cares deeply about helping investors succeed, as he puts it “winning the loser’s game.” He will help us do that this week.  WEALTHTRACK #1721 broadcast on November 20, 2020 More info: https://wealthtrack.com/timeless-strategies-for-successful-investing-from-legendary-investment-consultant-charles-ellis/ WINNING THE LOSER’S GAME (2017 edition): https://amzn.to/379ODOP THE ELEMENTS OF INVESTING: https://amzn.to/2UL96Dz --- Support this podcast: https://anchor.fm/wealthtrack/support
26 min
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