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Investing Specialists

Phillips: 'We're All in the Behavior Modification Business'

Longtime fund observer Don Phillips on the importance of investor psychology, the uptake of passive and ESG investing, and Jack Bogle's enduring legacy.

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Our guest for this week's installment of The Long View podcast is Morningstar managing director Don Phillips. Don was Morningstar's first mutual fund analyst and eventually became CEO of the firm; he established Morningstar's independent voice and mentored scores of analysts. He also helped develop many of the tools that investors today take for granted, such as the Morningstar Style Box and the Morningstar Rating for stocks (also known as the star rating). Throughout his career Don has worked to enact positive change in the fund industry, speaking out on issues such as misleading advertising and high-fee funds as well as the need for better shareholder disclosures. 

In this broad-ranging interview, Don discusses his path from a paper boy investor in Templeton Growth Fund to a job analyzing mutual funds at Chicago startup Morningstar in the mid-1980s. He also opines on the industry's evolution from the opaque, sales-driven culture that he encountered 30-plus years ago to its current emphasis on transparency and very low costs.

About the Podcast: The Long View is a podcast from Morningstar. Each week, hosts Christine Benz and Jeff Ptak conduct an in-depth discussion with a thought leader from the world of investing or personal finance. The podcast is produced by George Castady and Scott Halver.

About the Hosts: Christine Benz and Jeff Ptak have been analysts and commentators on investments and the investment industry for many years. Christine is Morningstar's director of personal finance and senior columnist for Morningstar.com. Jeff is head of global manager research in Morningstar Research Services, overseeing Morningstar's team of 120 manager research analysts in the U.S. and overseas.

To Share Feedback or a Guest Idea: Write us at TheLongView@morningstar.com.

Previous Episode: William Bernstein: 'I Don't Think the System Needs Nudges. It Needs Dynamite.' Read more about the debut episode with author William Bernstein and subscribe today.