By Frederick P. Gabriel Jr.
CHICAGO — Now that Morningstar Inc. finds itself in hot water with regulators, some in the clubby world of mutual funds are taking delight in its travails.
The influential Chicago-based fund research company has long been revered — and feared — by even the most powerful in the fund industry. Now, as the company is at the center of two government probes and trying to go public, there is no shortage of those reveling in its misfortune.
"They really tick me off," said Theodore Parrish, director of investments at Henssler Asset Management LLC in Marietta, Ga., which has about $1 billion in assets under management. "I get the impression they are a bit arrogant."
What exactly is his beef with Morningstar? Mr. Parrish said he is frustrated by the company's unwillingness to follow a large-cap blend fund he co-manages, the Henssler Equity Fund.
While the $135 million fund has a five-star rating from Morningstar, Mr. Parrish said, he can't seem to convince Morningstar's analysts to publish regular research reports on the fund. Lately, Mr. Parrish said, he hasn't even been able to get the company's analysts to return his telephone calls.
So excuse him for gloating.
"I can't say I am happy that Morningstar is running into all these problems," Mr. Parrish said, "but I guess I do feel somewhat vindicated."