Barry McNamara  |   Published December 03, 2015

Morningstar’s new president

Kunal Kapoor, 1997 Monmouth College graduate, a leader at international investment company
  • Kunal Kapoor, a 1997 Monmouth College graduate, has been named president of Morningstar, Inc..
Kunal Kapoor, a 1997 Monmouth College graduate, has been named president of Morningstar, Inc., (NASDAQ: MORN) a leading provider of independent investment research.
  Kapoor, who previously served as head of global products and client solutions, will oversee the firm’s sales, marketing and product development globally. His objective will be to further Morningstar’s mission of serving investors around the world by creating user-centric products built on the company’s innovative, investor-focused research.   A native of India, Kapoor majored in economics and environmental policy at Monmouth College and earned an MBA from the University of Chicago Booth School of Business.   “We have a clear path that we’re on as a company, and I’d like to accelerate the pace at which we’re moving ” Kapoor said. “Morningstar’s market position and strategy have never been more compelling, and we’ve earned the trust of investors.”   Morningstar is a leading provider of independent investment research in North America, Europe, Australia and Asia. The company offers an extensive line of products and services for individual investors, financial advisors, asset managers and retirement plan providers and sponsors. Morningstar also offers investment management services through its investment advisory subsidiaries, with more than $170 billion in assets under advisement and management as of Sept. 30.   “I’m excited about leading the company to its next phase of innovation,” continued Kapoor. “We plan to accelerate the rollout of new experiences for and Morningstar Retirement Manager; deliver even more solutions through Morningstar Direct Cloud; tighten the integration of our adviser-facing capabilities; and deploy our unique data and research capabilities in the environmental, social and governance investing space.”   Asked what innovations within the company have Kapoor’s personal stamp, he replied, “At Morningstar, nothing happens because of one person. For example, when I first started, Morningstar was Chicago-centric with its employee base, and revenue was almost exclusively from the U.S. Now, we’re a global firm, with approximately 25 percent of revenue coming from outside the U.S. I’ve had a hand in helping the firm grow in that fashion but by no means is it an individual effort.”   Part of the next phase of innovation, he said, is continuing to make investing accessible to a wider swath of investors, particularly women and millennials.   “Morningstar exists to help investors achieve better outcomes. So we’ve been asking, ‘How do we make saving and investing more accessible to even more investors?’ Responsibility for retirement savings, for instance, is being pushed from the state to individuals around the world, and for some, it can be simply too daunting to get going early enough. We want to help people climb that ladder and make it easier to move up over time.”   Kapoor has held a number of leadership roles since joining Morningstar in 1997, including director of mutual fund analysis, director of business strategy for international operations, president and chief investment officer of Morningstar Investment Services, and head of and the firm’s data business. During that time, Morningstar has grown from 300 employees and $40 million in revenue to 3,760 employees and $760 million in revenue, while completing its initial public offering through an OpenIPO, extending its operations into 27 countries, and building a trusted global brand.   “The heart and soul of Morningstar is our research and data, and I spent many years on the research side,” said Kapoor. “I like to say ‘once an analyst, always an analyst,’ so another area where I’ve been able to make a difference is taking those concepts that our analysts are tinkering with and helping to bring them to light in our data and research products.”   In his acceptance speech for Monmouth College’s 2005 Young Alumnus Award, Kapoor said, “Monmouth holds a very dear place in my heart.” He also thanked faculty mentors such as Ira Smolensky, Rod Lemon, Farhat Haq and Mike Connell and said his achievements were a “testament to the fine work that the faculty does. I attended the University of Chicago’s school of business, which is known for having a world-class faculty, and I believe that Monmouth’s faculty compares favorably any day. … It really pleases me to know I’ve done right by them.”   Shortly after being named president, Kapoor said, “My close student-mentor relationships with a number of Monmouth professors have persisted. I still call them to bounce ideas off of them, and there have been many fantastic opportunities to engage with them over the years.”   As a Monmouth student, Kapoor was named Senior Man of the Year by the Blue Key honor society. He was also involved with the Mortar Board honor society, the International Club, Sigma Omicron Mu and WMCR radio, and he served as a head resident of a dormitory.   His experiences inside and outside the classroom contributed to an element that is nearly as important to him as the relationships he formed at Monmouth.   “Something that is greatly undervalued in the job market – and it’s a difficult skill to measure – is critical thinking,” Kapoor said. “I learned critical thinking skills in spades at Monmouth. When you think about going to business school or learning the trade, everyone does the same case studies. But it’s how you apply those lessons and what you do with the knowledge that’s really important – maybe solving the issue in a different way or coming up with a unique approach.”
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