Morningstar UK Acquires London-based OBSR

Morningstar UK Ltd. Acquires London-based Old Broad Street Research Ltd. (OBSR), Premier Provider of Fund Research, Ratings, and Investment Consulting Services in the United Kingdom

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Morningstar UK has acquired Old Broad Street Research Ltd. (OBSR), a premier provider of fund research, ratings, and investment consulting services in the United Kingdom, for 11.95 million pounds sterling, or approximately U.S. $18.3 million, subject to post-closing adjustments.

OBSR’s team of investment research analysts rates and recommends approximately 500 UK-domiciled and cross-border funds. In addition, OBSR analyses a wide range of financial products and tax wrappers, including individual and group pension products, UK onshore and offshore investment bonds, individual and business protection products, and savings products.

“OBSR is one of the most renowned research and consulting firms in the United Kingdom, and is wellrespected by advisers and institutions alike,” said Don Phillips, president of fund research for Morningstar. “Our acquisition of OBSR strengthens our research capabilities in one of our key global markets by complementing our existing fund research team in London, and supports one of our growth strategies, which is to continue building our thought leadership in investment research.”

Phillips continued, “The addition of OBSR will also help us expand our investment consulting presence in the United Kingdom, where we already provide asset allocation, manager selection, and portfolio construction services to institutions and intermediaries. OBSR’s expertise in research and analysis, along with its complementary investment consulting capabilities, will allow us to better serve our clients.”

OBSR offers an array of customised consulting services including model portfolios, advice on fund construction, and corporate governance services, which are used by many of the leading financial advisers, life offices, and fund platforms. Managing directors Richard Downs, Richard Romer-Lee, and Nigel Whittingham will continue to lead the business. As a subsidiary of Morningstar, OBSR will continue to offer its fund rating and consultancy services, with the benefit of access to Morningstar’s 290 researchers and analysts worldwide. The subsidiary will be called, “OBSR, a Morningstar company.”

“Morningstar is a good cultural fit for OBSR. Our research team is renowned in the industry for its quality and experience. Becoming part of a global company with greater resources will enable the team to continue to take the business forward,” said Richard Downs, managing director of OBSR. ”The investment and advice world is changing, particularly with the introduction of the Financial Services Authority’s Retail Distribution Review (RDR). As part of Morningstar, we will be able to leverage its core skills in research, design, technology, and data to develop a best-in-class solution that builds on our experience in this area.”

OBSR was established in 1999 after co-founders Richard Downs and Richard Romer-Lee purchased the research business of Buck Investment Consultants Ltd., which was created in 1994. The company has 30 employees based in London.

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