Morningstar of Chicago will open headquarters for its European venture, Morningstar Europe, in London in the next few weeks, said Kevin McDevitt, the business manager for Morningstar's international division.

The company will launch websites in the second quarter for the U.K., German, French, Italian and Dutch markets, he said. The sites will provide similar data as Morningstar's U.S. site, he said.

That will be the first stage of Morningstar's European ventures. The second stage will involve establishing partnerships with European companies and opening new sites in other countries, he said.

"With more Europeans taking greater responsibility for their financial futures, it's the perfect environment for Morningstar to carry on its mission of informing and empowering investors," said Tao Huang, president of Morningstar's international division, in a statement.

Hans Fjarem will be ceo of the new division. Fjarem began FondStar, Sweden's first Internet site that tracked the country's fund industry using Morningstar's evaluation methods.

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