DEFINITION of 'Stewardship Grade'

An evaluative data point in Morningstar's fund and stock reports that assesses the quality of a company's governance practices. Stewardship grades for both funds and stocks range from 'A' (excellent) to 'F' (very poor) based on criteria that measures the effectiveness of fund and corporate managers to consistently act with their shareholders' best interests in mind.

BREAKING DOWN 'Stewardship Grade'

Morningstar initiated its stewardship grades for both the funds and stocks covered by its investment research services in 2004 in response to the mutual fund and corporate scandals prevalent at that time. Morningstar sees a high level of managerial stewardship as an important investment quality for investors to seek out in their selection of funds and stocks.

For funds, five areas of stewardship are evaluated: corporate culture, board quality, manager incentives, fees and regulatory issues.

For stocks, three broad areas are examined: transparency in financial reporting, shareholder friendliness, and incentives, ownership and overall stewardship.

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