Data and network symbols over a map of the world (Image: Thinkstock)

Morningstar has formed an alliance with global consulting firm Mercer to provide advisors and institutional investors a single global digital platform with data, performance analytics and qualitative research on investment managers.

The alliance pairs Mercer’s global institutional manager data and research, known as Mercer Insight, with Morningstar’s research and data on mutual funds, ETFs, separately managed accounts and market indexes.

Advisors as well as other asset management and financial services professionals who subscribe to Morningstar Direct will be able to access the Mercer data and research for an additional, as yet unspecified, fee. The firms expect the new service will be available in North America starting in the first quarter, and available later in Europe and Asia.

Scott Burns, the head of data research at Morningstar, says the alliance will offer a complementary set of data and research for Morningstar Direct users: data on asset managers pursuing broader distribution through retail channels, the current focus of Morningstar Direct, and data on asset managers that serve the institutional market — data that “operates on a higher level.”

He says the new offering will “help solve disparate solution problems that advisors and institutions both have” from the data and research they receive. Advisors especially are “increasingly looking for more access to institutional managers,” because of the drive for lower costs and the search for great managers made possible by advances in technology, adds Burns.

Dan Bristow, partner and global director of Mercer’s Analytics, Research & Tools (ART) Group, tells ThinkAdvisor the new alliance is “transformative, [providing] a single lens for the entire investment industry” to achieve the mission of both Mercer and Morningstar: “better outcomes and informed investment decisions.”

Rich Nuzum, global president of Mercer’s wealth business, said in a statement that Mercer “chose to collaborate with Morningstar because they understand the changing landscape of financial advisors’ needs.”