February 20, 2013

Fans of Finance to Gather at Morningstar Event

‘Intimate’ conference lets about 350 guests meet with more than a dozen VIPs in the world of portfolio investing

The 2013 Morningstar Ibbotson Conference, set for Thursday and Friday in Hollywood, Fla., is not for the faint of heart. It squeezes in an intense series of finance talks delivered by academically talented and quantitatively focused professionals.

Organizers say it also offers attendees lots of chances to chat in person with Morningstar and other experts about financial theory and practice. And, for better or worse, the event takes place near the warm, sunny beach and pool area of the Westin Diplomat hotel.

“This is Morningstar’s premier conference geared to sophisticated professionals and institutional investors, and its content is very different from the yearly advisor-focused conference most of the industry is familiar with,” scheduled for June in Chicago, said Thomas Idzorek, CFA, president of Morningstar Investment Management, in an interview with AdvisorOne.

Idzorek compares Morningstar’s February confab to the CFA Institute’s annual conference. “It’s a mix of leading academics and leading professionals in the industry, with general sessions and a large number of breakout sessions,” he explained. “It’s hosted by Morningstar speakers.”

The conference is “really intimate,” he notes, and usually has about 350 attendees. “This means that those attending can interact directly with Morningstar experts,” Idzorek said.

Agenda for 2013

Joe Mansueto, chairman and CEO of Morningstar, will kick off the event early on Thursday. He’ll also introduce Roger Ibbotson, now chairman and chief investment officer of Zebra Capital Management.

Ibbotson will speak about which types of fundamental market characteristic drive stock returns over the long term, including risk-based factors, liquidity and earnings.

Later in the day, Rodney Sullivan, head of publications for the CFA Institute, will talk about dynamic, tactical asset allocation and its impact on active investing. He will also discuss the opportunity of emphasizing top-down, qualitative analysis in this field.  

Marvin Zonis, a professor emeritus from the University of Chicago’s Booth School of Business, will lay out his views on successful global investing. “He’s a fantastic speaker on global risk and extremely entertaining,” said Idzorek.

In addition, Kevin Kliesen of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis will discuss U.S. economic outlook and the issue of whether or not there is a “new normal.”

The event’s keynote speak will give attendees a break from the markets: Jamie Clark, extreme adventurer, is set to speak on living a life of passion “on your own terms.”

“This event is really about giving those who attend direct access to the premier thought leaders from throughout Morningstar … in an inteimate venue,” said Idzorek. We have multiple, concurrent breakouts you can go to with about 50 others, which makes direct access possible.”

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