Morningstar will hold its annual conference on exchange-traded funds (ETF) over three days September 6-8, 2017.
ETF experts and finance professionals will gather in Chicago for a unique event focused on the latest developments in the ETF world. Among others, ETF providers such as BlackRock and Vanguard will be presenting at the conference, as well as investment banks Goldman Sachs and J.P. Morgan.
Day 1: September 6
The first day of the conference will start at 12 p.m. with a series of research presentations by Morningstar specialists. Broadly, the lectures will aim to showcase how Morningstar makes its due diligence when assigning ratings to passive investment products, including ETFs. The second part of the day will start with a panel consisting of Morningstar experts, who will talk about economic moats in equity analysis. The day will end with a keynote speech by Joe Davis from Vanguard.
At the heart of Davis’ discourse – titled “The Trend That Will Define Our Lifetime” – will be the dramatic transformation of global economies and implications for the markets.
Day 2: September 7
The busiest day of the conference will start at 8:30 a.m. with a general session by Andrew Ang from BlackRock. Titled “Frontiers of Factor Investing,” the discussion will focus on smart beta and whether its popularity leads to congestion and capacity concerns. Chris Brightman from Research Affiliates will follow suit with a session on pitfalls in smart beta. Brightman will discuss how riding a trend is expensive and may hurt investors, leading to bubbles. He is expected to make the case for investing in securities that are trading below their historical levels.
After a short break, representatives from Dimensional Fund Advisors, Goldman Sachs and BlackRock will talk about multifactor ETFs, an emerging type of funds aiming to combine a series of attributes such as value, size, momentum, low volatility and high yield to provide superior returns. This presentation will be followed by a panel discussion on defensive equity investing and how dividend-paying, dull stocks will perform in a rising interest rate environment.
The first half of the day will end with a panel on strategic beta and fixed income and another discussion about value strategies.
The second half of the day will start in full force with a one-hour conversation with Richard Thaler from the University of Chicago and Barry Ritholtz from Ritholtz Wealth Management. After this highly anticipated talk, experts from Russell Investments and S&P Dow Jones Indices will touch on small-cap indexes and their importance in diversification, and shortly thereafter, Franklin Templeton Investments will discuss ETF trading and potential pitfalls.
Another two panels will follow: the first one will be about the influence of passive investing on corporate governance and the second will touch on international equities. The day will end with a presentation by Barry Ritholtz on human emotions in the investing process.
Day 3: September 8
On the third and last day, Jamil Baz from bond manager PIMCO and Miriam Sjoblom from Morningstar will make an hour-long presentation about how bonds and stocks differ in the debate between active and passive investing. J.P. Morgan, Goldman Sachs and Morningstar will then team up to delve into a discussion on liquid alternatives. The day will end with a panel talk about emerging markets and whether they represent an opportunity in times of crisis.
The Bottom Line
The 2017 Morningstar Conference is a must-attend gathering for every finance professional working in the realm of ETFs. It is a rare chance to get first-hand insight from industry leaders, as well as build a professional network. The bulk of the conference will take place on the second day, with the first day largely intended for accommodation, and the third and final day for making conclusions.