The most important thing I do each year is to put together the agenda for Inside ETFs, the world’s largest ETF conference. Because the event takes place January 22-25 (at the Diplomat Beach Resort in Hollywood, Florida), it sets the scene for the ETF year to come.
We spend a lot of time thinking about what the biggest stories in the ETF space will be and try to structure the agenda around them.
Here are four of the biggest themes we think will shape ETFs in 2017.
Story #1: Forget Fees; It’s All About Behavior
The past ten years in ETF-land have been all about the ETF fee war. But today, plain vanilla ETFs are almost free: you can buy broad-based U.S. equity exposure for 0.03% in fees per year.
We think 2017 is the year that advisors and ETF issuers alike wake up to the fact that competing further on fees offers diminishing returns. Each year, the average investors sacrifice 2-4% of returns through poor behavior such as buying high and selling low. Why worry about 0.03% in fees when investors are lighting 3% a year on fire?
Our agenda is designed to help advisors radically reshape how they deal with client behavior as well as their own. Topics include:
- Barry Ritholz’s Keynote Fixing Client Behavior — The Biggest Problem Never Solved (Sunday, January 22, 5:50 p.m.)
- My and Dave Nadig’s Keynote addresses Timing Is Everything (Monday, January 23, 11:30 a.m.)
- Denise Shull’s (the model for the character Wendy Rhoades on Showtime’s TV show Billions) lunch-time talk How to Improve Trading & Risk Judgement Calls (Tuesday, January 24, 12:50 p.m.)
- Michael Kitces’ talk on The Future of Investment Advice in the Digital Age (Sunday, January 22, 5:20 p.m.)
Story #2: Fixed Income ETFs Dominate… And Investors Remake Their Bond Portfolios
Fixed income ETF assets soared in 2016, with nearly $90 billion flowing into the asset class. With institutional investors embracing fixed income ETFs in a major way, we think that’s just a starter. In fact, we think fixed income ETFs will fundamentally transform the fixed income market in 2017 and will be the fastest growing asset class in ETFs.
At the same time, investors face huge new risks in fixed income, including how to rethink portfolios in rising rates and how to trade fixed income ETFs successfully. We plan to prepare investors to succeed in this new bond reality with sessions like:
- A 360-Degree View of Fixed Income ETFs, with five of the leading minds in fixed income ETFs sharing the stage (Tuesday, January 24, 9:40 a.m.)
- ETFs 301: Fixed Income ETFs – New Tools for A New Era, offering a complete introduction to how fixed income ETFs work… and where they falter (Sunday, January 22, 3:10 p.m.)
- Fixed Income ETFs & Institutional Investors: A Case Study, a hard-hitting look at how institutional investors are using fixed income ETFs today (Monday, January 23, 2:50 p.m.)
Story #3: Completely Redefining Portfolios
This plays off theme #2, but we think 2017 is a year when investors rethink how they build portfolios from the ground up. With the bond bull market over, and correlations rising sharply, the challenge of how to build a diversified portfolio is bigger than ever. There is no one “right” way to tackle portfolio construction in 2017, but we’ve got a wide array of experts ready to offer alternate views, including:
- Larry Swedroe on Rethinking Diversification – Insights from a Leading Advisor, talking about how to build portfolios using factor loading and not asset classes (Sunday, January 22, 4:20 p.m.)
- Steve Cucchiaro, the original founder of Windhaven, the most successful ETF strategist of all time, on how to apply multi-player game theory to portfolio construction (Wednesday, January 25, 12 p.m.)
- John Mauldin of Mauldin Economics fame on how he plans to revolutionize portfolio management (Wednesday, January 25, 12 p.m.)
- Bruce Lavine, former CEO of WisdomTree and now head of 55 Capital Partners, a massive new advisor effort backed by ETF legend Lee Kranefuss, on The Crisis in Investing: New Solutions to Today’s Market Crisis (Monday, January 23, 4:10 p.m.)
Story #4: The Year of Active ETFs
People have been talking about active ETFs for nearly a decade, but assets haven’t followed. With concerns rising around market volatility, the chatter is louder than ever. We think 2017 is the year that active ETFs break through and start to really matter in the market, and we’re highlighting them in the agenda in three interesting ways:
- A Crash Course in Active ETFs: Why They Might Save Your Clients In 2017, an amazing plenary panel discussion (Wednesday, January 25, 11:10 p.m.)
- Regulation & ETFs: What to Expect in 2017 & Beyond, an in-depth breakfast workshop (Tuesday, January 24, 8:00 a.m.)
- Chairperson Address: The Evolution of Active, a keynote address by conference chair (and head of Vanguard’s Financial Advisor Services Division) Tom Rampulla (Monday, January 23, 9:10 a.m.)
Vanguard? Talking about active? I thought that’d catch your eye.
There’s still time to register for Inside ETFs, and friends of ETFdb receive a $100 discount. Just use the VIP code IE17-ETFdb at checkout. Click here to review the full agenda and register for the event today!