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Inside ETFs Conference Sees Big Growth, With More Than 1,800 Attendees

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Advisors who want to learn both the basics and the buzz around exchange traded funds can get it all next week at the Inside ETFs conference in Hollywood, Florida.

Presented by ETF.com, the Jan. 25-28 Inside ETFs conference, “Building the Next-Generation ETF Portfolio,” already has more than 1,800 participants signed up to attend the eighth annual event that numbered about 1,500 participants in 2014 and 1,280 in 2013.

Feature keynote speakers at this year’s event include:

  • Jeffrey Gundlach, chief executive and chief investment officer of DoubleLine Capital
  • Ric Edelman, chairman and CEO of Edelman Financial Services
  • Political pundits Karl Rove and James Carville
  • Terry Bradshaw, former Super Bowl winning National Football League quarterback and current co-host of Fox NFL Sunday.

Last year’s conference ETF.com President Matt Hougan attributes the conference’s striking growth to the equally dramatic growth in the ETF market.

“We’ve seen a lot of growth,” Hougan said in a phone interview a week before the conference. “Over the past few years, the number and type of ETF users has expended dramatically. Registered investment advisors are traditional users, but now broker-dealers and wirehouses are also using ETFs.”

This year’s conference offers 17 continuing education credits for the Certified Financial Planner (CFP) designation and 16 CE credits for the Certified Investment Management Analyst (CIMA) designation. The agenda starts with “ETFs 101” sessions on fundamentals and risks, then continues with topics such as Research Affiliates CEO Robert Arnott’s thoughts on cap-weighted indexes, volatility and alternative income over the course of the conference.

This year’s conference will see more keynote speakers than ever, including the Winklevoss Twins of Facebook fame who are still trying to launch a bitcoin ETF, and Center for a New American Security senior fellow Robert Kaplan, a “captivating” geopolitical analyst who rated at last year’s conference as the No. 1 speaker, Hougan said.

Hougan also looks forward to moderating a robo-advisor panel, “The Future of Financial Advice: Man vs. Machine,” pitting Wealthfront CEO Adam Nash against Ric Edelman.

In addition, he’s curious to hear what DoubleLine’s Gundlach will say: “Jeff Gundlach is a fascinating speaker. He’ll start off talking about 17th-century ceramics, and you won’t know what he’s saying, and then his thoughts about 17th-century ceramics will suddenly make what the Federal Reserve is doing make sense.”

With a total of 23 keynote-style talks in three and a half days, Hougan writes in a “5 Exciting Things About Inside ETFs” blog post, the challenge will be deciding which talk to attend during the track sessions.

Formerly known as IndexUniverse, ETF.com was founded in 2001 as an information hub that now offers investors publications, webinars, events, data analysis and online tools designed to research ETFS.

– Check out more ETF coverage at ThinkAdvisor’s InsideETFs 2015 landing page.