Morningstar has issued a statement that it is considering establishing its own credit-ratings systems in competition with rating agencies such as Moody’s and Fitch, although it has no plans in place.

The information was part of a question-and-answer session the Chicago-based company filed with the SEC under the signature of CFO Scott Cooley. Morningstar said it is evaluating the area. But its statement strongly suggests the company would like to enter the market. It pictured the current players as tarred by the current economic crisis.

The statement said that the reputation of the Big Three rating services, S&P, Moody’s and Fitch, “has been permanently impaired. Their futures look deservedly grim, yet it's a service that someone needs to provide. What better company to step in than Morningstar?” Morningstar cited its equity research, a trove of financial data and independence as strengths.

The company launched what it called investor-centric, analyst-driven qualitative research and ratings for European and Asian funds.

Morningstar began offering wide-ranging public statements about company operations in January. The statements are issued the first Friday of every month. The February statement also covered investment-consulting operations, management ownership of stock and international strategy.

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