For investment advisors, the annual Morningstar Investment Conference experience is like the proverbial kid in the candy store. Held for the 22nd year in Chicago on June 23-25, following are excerpts from onsite reporting at the conference by Group Editor-in-Chief Jamie Green and Kate McBride, editor of WealthManagerWeb.com. See more comprehensive reports at InvestmentAdvisor.com; read Kate’s exclusive interview with keynote speaker Jeffrey Gundlach at right.
Robert Reynolds, Putnam Investments
Two years after leaving Fidelity Investments to run Putnam, Bob Reynolds said on June 24, that “we as a company know that if you’re going to do something great in this business, you have to do it over time.”
Reynolds famously changed the compensation model for his fund managers and analysts, with bonuses being awarded based on the manager’s ability to put his fund in the top quartile over a rolling three-year period, since “what clients are looking for is top-quartile performance.”
As for what’s next, Reynolds pointed out that “401(k)s now cover half of working America; we have to extend them to the rest of Americans.” He suggested that a National Insurance Charter, being discussed as part of financial services regulatory reform, “would allow an annuity to have an FDIC-like insurance paid for by the industry.” One other initiative that “we’re working on with Congress is that once retirees hit age 78, they start drawing down tax free.”
William McNabb, Vanguard
Speaking on June 24, Vanguard CEO Bill McNabb laid out the three main building blocks for restoring investor and advisor trust in the markets.
The first building block is simplicity, exemplified by the “five-minute rule” first coined by Richard Ennis of the pension consulting firm Ennis, Knupp: “If you don’t understand the thesis underlying an investment in five minutes or less, take a pass.” The second is transparency, which he said mutual funds like Vanguard’s already offer, but that many other investing vehicles do not. The third building block is candor, which he said meant “being out front, up front, and honest to a ‘T.’”
As for financial reform, McNabb said that regardless of its specifics, any law would be “a good thing” since there are “basics in the bill…necessary to restore trust,” including: dealing with systemic risk; derivatives regulation, though he cautioned that Congress should be careful in how …