The financial world is a vast landscape with more information circulating than possibly imaginable. The ability to curate that data and offer it in a digestible manner is a difficult task only done by the most sophisticated companies.
There are two global giants in the financial information and market data world that have been able to provide that sophisticated level of data: Bloomberg and Morningstar. The services offered by Bloomberg and Morningstar are vast and have many similarities but also some key differences in the scope of their coverage.
Both companies have similar client profiles, which encompasses most of the types of institutions found in the financial world, such as individual investors, financial advisors, researchers, traders and asset managers, and retirement plan providers and sponsors. Although few exceptions may apply based on the different services being offered, for all intents and purposes, the client profiles are the same.
In the financial world, both companies claim a significant market share in market data offering as a whole, though slight variations do exist in terms of the asset classes covered.
Financial news makes an important ingredient for data services and remains the most tracked item for any trading activities. Bloomberg surpassed the Wall Street Journal in 2015 with more visits a month on its news site, with 20 million visits per month. Not only does the site provide news, but it also provides editorial and expert comments and opinions. Morningstar too has coverage of news at a global level. Both companies pride themselves on their news coverage, which does focus on the financial and business world, but also touches upon topics outside of that area.
Both offer clients with dedicated research tools and reports via multiple channels that include online offerings through websites, emails, webinars, podcasts, and digital reports, and offline offerings via print publications, conferences, and scheduled events.
The two companies offer dedicated symbol service for locating financial products, using their own proprietary symbols. Bloomberg offers its symbols with a wide variety (BBGID, BB Ticker, etc.), allowing it to offer services like OpenFiGi, while Morningstar does have its own symbols but no specific symbol mapping service.
Investment research is an important offering, and both Bloomberg and Morningstar are providers of independent investment research. Morningstar remains an active player with explicit ratings and recommendations while Bloomberg research is offered via its reports.
Bloomberg complements its software offerings with a print and online publication called Bloomberg Businessweek, and Morningstar also offers a publication, entitled Morningstar Magazine.
The majority of Bloomberg’s business centers on data services, with its Terminal product accounting for the majority of revenues. Morningstar too has its own investment platform, known as Morningstar Direct.
Morningstar is publicly listed on the NASDAQ, while Bloomberg is a privately held company.
Services Offered by Morningstar but Not by Bloomberg
Morningstar offers rating services, primarily for stocks and mutual funds, through its well recognized nine-blocker display. Bloomberg does not have any explicit rating service, although it provides investment analysis reports and recommendations.
Morningstar has its own investment consultancy and investment management service, which had over $193 billion in assets under management (AUM) at the end of 2018.
Morningstar also has dedicated products and services, like Morningstar Office and Morningstar Advisor Workstation, exclusively for investment advisors. Though Bloomberg products may be used by advisory professionals, Bloomberg does not quote any products for them specifically.
Services Offered by Bloomberg but Not by Morningstar
Bloomberg Television: Hundreds of millions of households benefit from 24-hour financial news coverage built upon the Bloomberg news network. Morningstar does not have any dedicated television service.
Bloomberg Government: Dedicated online offering which covers regulatory, political, and legislative developments, aimed at professionals and organizations directly having dependencies, interactions, or impact from the government. With in-depth analysis, original content, and reports for its clients, Bloomberg Government is a rich source for research.
Bloomberg New Energy Finance: Known as BloombergNEF, this service tracks renewable energy projects, offering access to clean energy data details. Morningstar has coverage for this in its own capacity, through the tracking of energy sector specific stocks and funds, but BloombergNEF is a dedicated platform on information related to a clean future.
Bloomberg Tradebook: Agency broker service that provides direct market access, analytical tools, and trading algorithms, for buy-side and sell-side institutional clients, enabling them to manage complex trading strategies for stocks, bonds, futures, options, and forex, in more than 100 global markets.
Bloomberg Beta: An investment firm backed with $225 million assets from Bloomberg, this firm invests in budding entrepreneurial ventures at early stages, particularly those focusing on machine intelligence.
OpenFIGI: A symbol lookup and mapping service of different symbols (SEDOL, CUSIP, ISIN, Stock exchange ticker, etc.) at a global level. Individual traders, as well as large investment firms having a need to consolidate data sourced from multiple sources with different symbols, use this service. For example, a mutual fund company may take two different data feeds for analysis, one from Bloomberg containing a Bloomberg symbol and another from a stock exchange containing a local ticker. The symbology services would enable cross referencing to validate data across two sources with different tickers.
The Bottom Line
Both Bloomberg and Morningstar are leaders in market data, news, analytics, and software products catering to financial market needs. With few variations, both compete head to head in the market space. Depending on the needs of an individual or organization, a service from either of these (or other vendors) can be selected.