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Press release from PR Newswire

Morningstar Launches All-in-One Solution for Variable Annuity Research

Monday, May 21, 2012

Morningstar Launches All-in-One Solution for Variable Annuity Research10:18 EDT Monday, May 21, 2012Morningstar Annuity Intelligence Combines Best of Morningstar Annuity Analyzer, Annuity Intelligence ReportCHICAGO, May 21, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- Morningstar, Inc. (NASDAQ: MORN), a leading provider of independent investment research, has launched Morningstar® Annuity Intelligence(SM), a comprehensive, web-based solution for evaluating variable annuities. Designed for financial professionals, including broker/dealers, financial advisors, compliance officers, and insurance carrier representatives, the solution provides real-time data on more than 100,000 annuity subaccounts and 1,950 annuity contracts. Morningstar Annuity Intelligence offers a new user interface with simplified navigation, enhanced search functions, and new research features and functionality. The new offering combines the best features of two popular tools, Morningstar Annuity Analyzer and the Annuity Intelligence Report, to create an all-in-one source for annuity data and information. Users now have improved capabilities to search for variable annuity contracts, compare them side-by-side, and then generate client-friendly, FINRA-reviewed presentations and reports."When it comes to purchasing an annuity, every investor has specific, personalized needs, but it can be difficult to compare annuities in a meaningful way," said Kevin Loffredi, vice president of insurance solutions for Morningstar. "By combining our two most popular annuity tools into one solution, we've made it easier for financial professionals to make apples-to-apples comparisons between different annuity products and help find the most appropriate annuity for each client."Morningstar Annuity Intelligence includes a new lifetime income calculator, which allows an advisor to see the amount of guaranteed income an annuity benefit will provide for a client based on different criteria. The solution includes plain English descriptions of complex provisions in annuity riders, annuity fee data, contract titling information, and historical contract data dating back to the 1960s. In addition, it helps compliance officers support their suitability and review process for an annuity purchase, and it enables suitability forms to be automatically populated with contract, benefit, and fee information to streamline the transaction process.As part of the new Annuity Intelligence solution, Morningstar offers two add-on capabilities, VA Expense Analyzer and VA Hypothetical Illustrator, which are designed to help provide transparency to advisors and their investor clients. VA Expense Analyzer helps streamline the compliance and sales disclosure process by conducting suitability and cost analyses to help make sure a recommended annuity is appropriate for a client. It also calculates how long it would take for a client to recover a surrender charge in the event he or she exchanges an annuity contract. VA Hypothetical Illustrator helps support client proposals by analyzing variable annuity performance as a stand-alone investment, in comparison with competing products or benchmarks, or within the context of a complete portfolio.Current Morningstar Annuity Analyzer and Annuity Intelligence Report clients will be migrated to the new Morningstar Annuity Intelligence solution over the next 12-18 months, based on each client's individual requirements.  Morningstar Annuity Intelligence is available on a site-license basis to broker/dealers, institutions, and other financial firms. Morningstar Annuity Intelligence subscribers who also use Morningstar Advisor Workstation will be able to link to the new solution directly through Advisor Workstation later this year. About Morningstar, Inc.Morningstar, Inc. 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 individuals, financial advisors, and institutions. Morningstar provides data on more than 380,000 investment offerings, including stocks, mutual funds, and similar vehicles, along with real-time global market data on more than 8 million equities, indexes, futures, options, commodities, and precious metals, in addition to foreign exchange and Treasury markets. Morningstar also offers investment management services through its investment management subsidiaries and has more than $190 billion in assets under advisement and management as of March 31, 2012. The company has operations in 27 countries.©2012 Morningstar, Inc.  All rights reserved.MORN-PMedia Contact: Shawn Malayter, 312-696-6050, shawn.malayter@morningstar.comSOURCE Morningstar, Inc.