Indexes’ Long Walk to Freedom

Can Morningstar's decision to make more than 100 benchmarks available free of charge shake up the index licensing business?

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As any elementary economics class will tell you, greater competition should lead to lower prices. Yet in the indexes arena, costs are rising, despite the entrance of companies offering low-cost and even free-to-use indexes as alternatives to traditional indexes. In some cases, these rising costs have forced firms to put their money where their mouth is and switch providers. For example, in 2012, Vanguard Group, the largest US mutual fund manager, replaced MSCI as the benchmark for 22 funds with