"You can count on Morningstar for reliable data, research, analysis, and candid editorial commentary," the company's Web site says. The sentence before that, however, Morningstar does not own, operate, or hold any interest in mutual funds," will soon be untrue. Following Morningstar's announcement that it is establishing a registered investment advisor that will buy and sell mutual funds, some industry observers have begun to question how Morningstar's reliability will hold up.

Last week, the Chicago-based investment information and analysis provider, announced that later this year it will launch Managed Portfolios, a portfolio-management service geared to financial advisors. The program will be offered by Morningstar Investment Services, a registered investment advisor the company has established specifically to operate the new program.

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