Morningstar Tries to Clean up Years of Bad Data

This weekend, I sat down to compile the performance of the mutual fund portfolios in my experiment and can't believe what happened.

I use Morningstar to track my portfolios. Morningstar provides data for some 125,000 investment offerings. If you have ever researched a mutual fund, you have seen the fund company tout its Morningstar rating.

Morningstar is currently updating its website. I mentioned this recently as their changes have made it more difficult for me to update my charts. Many of the changes look pretty nice, some I could give or take. Whatever, life is change.

But this weekend was different. The first thing I do each week is log into my portfolios and update each for any dividend or capital gains distributions. For the purpose of this experiment, I reinvest all distributions and have since May 1st, 2007. Usually I have to remember to click an option in one of the menus, but this weekend, I was prompted:

New actions, I expect and every now and then there is an update- an incorrect distribution for example. Fine, no one is perfect.

Well this weekend I was greated with massive corrections going all the way back to the begining of my experiment. Here is an example of just one ETF:

I'm not sure how pervasive the bad information was- was it on the front end of Morningstar's site? Was it included in how Morningstar calculated its fund star rankings? Was it included in the information that fund companies have been using to tout their fund's performances in advertisements?

You might think even years worth of inaccuracies are not THAT big a deal if you are talking about fractions of a cent.

Well, when I post the weekly update, you'll see that mis-recorded split on one ETF was so significant it led one portfolio to jump from 7th place to 4th in my competion.

This is not the first time I've pointed out that Morningstar's data does not seem right to me.

And maybe it is not right now, who knows... Bottom line is Morningstar provides lots of great data, articles and tools. Their portfolio tool is a great resource and I'm glad they provide it for free.

But wow- what gives with not getting the numbers right?

If they're on track now, then kudos for setting things right, but unless my 8 portfolios with almost 100 funds tracked are somehow the only portfolios where this bad data showed up, I'm surprised there is not more communication about these corrections...

The only indication I see that anything has changed is a little blue 'new' next to the renamed place I need to click to update my portfolios.

If you too track your portfolios in Morningstar, after you update your changes when prompted, go click Dividend/Splits to update your portfolio again. For several of my portfolios, I had to update twice to bring things up to date with the data Morningstar is using now.

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