On June 18-20, the Morningstar Investment Conference brought together the most innovative minds in investing.
There was no shortage of big issues to tackle this year. Attendees heard keynote presentations from PIMCO co-founder and chief investment officer Bill Gross, AQR founder and managing principal Cliff Asness, Franklin Templeton executive vice president and chief investment officer, global bonds, Michael Hasenstab, and Focus Consulting's Michael Falk.
Morningstar analysts also led panel discussions featuring notable investors, such as GMO's Ben Inker, Fidelity's Will Danoff, Ariel Investments' John Rogers, and Oakmark manager David Herro, covering a wide variety of topics, including proven active management strategies, strategic beta, the macroeconomic landscape, unconstrained bond funds, dividend-paying stocks, international opportunities, and more.
Morningstar.com offered on-the-ground coverage of the entire conference, including analyst blogs from top panels and video interviews with featured managers. See our full coverage below.
Gross: Economy Can't Survive Much Higher Rates
During his keynote presentation at the Morningstar Investment Conference, the PIMCO manager made the case that high debt levels and a need for financial stability mean that central banks should keep real rates close to zero for some time.
Keynote Blog: Gross Opens Up on Interest Rates ... and His Image
The PIMCO manager talks about where real rates need to go, the firm's three-pronged investing template, the 'New Neutral' market outlook--and his portrayal in the press.
Asness: Splitting the Middle on Market Efficiency
Markets are very good with long-term price accuracy, but they are neither perfectly efficient, nor prone to regular bubbles, says the AQR founder.
- Keynote Blog: Staking Out a Middle Ground in the Efficient-Market Debate
- Asness: Why I'm a Cynic of Active Stock-Picking
Stattman: There's a Lot to Like in Japan
Very attractive valuations compared to the U.S. market and an increased focus on shareholder value from Japanese companies combine to make Japanese equities attractive--but mind your yen exposure, says Dennis Stattman, manager of the Gold-rated BlackRock Global Allocation Fund.
Panel Blog: Inker, Stattman Offer Somber Tone on Market Conditions
The tone was so somber that near the end of the session an audience member asked, with some frustration, "What do you own? You each run funds. You must own something."
Inker: Rethink the Retirement Glide Path
GMO's Ben Inker says retirement portfolios should broaden the scope beyond solely age-based stock and bond allocations and evaluate the risk/return profile of equities as well as how much money is needed for retirement.
Hasenstab: What's So Attractive About Ukraine
Short-sighted panic-selling has offered good opportunities to buy Ukraine's dollar-denominated government bonds, which are backed by solid fundamentals, says Templeton Global Bond manager Michael Hasenstab.
Herro: Don't Look for International Fund to Reopen Soon
Unless a fragile market triggers outflows, the Oakmark International fund is likely to remain closed to retain its flexibility and concentrated portfolio, says manager David Herro.
Panel Blog: Blurred Lines in International Investing
In an increasingly globalized world, international investing is less about where a company is based and more about where it gets its revenues.
Follow the Money to Understand Your Stocks' Real Exposures
Knowing the sources of a company's revenue, not just its country of domicile, is important for investors to get the actual exposures they want, says American Funds portfolio manager Rob Lovelace.
Panel Blog: Russia, China Still Key Themes With Emerging Markets
Panelists debate where the best developing-market opportunities are for stock, fixed-income, and currency investments, and whether BRIC countries still have value.
Davis: Value or Growth? We Want Both
Assessing growth as a component of value is a guiding principle that can lead to opportunities in different areas of the market, says Davis Selected Advisers manager Chris Davis.
Panel Blog: Picks and Tips From Wide-Moat Experts
Equity-fund managers weigh in on what they look for in a company's moat and offered some of the sectors and names where they've had success.
Panel Blog: The Next Generation: Wisdom From 3 Up-and-Coming Managers
Three up-and-comers--Jan Dehn of Ashmore Investment Management, Bernard Horn of Polaris Capital Management, and Marian Kessler of Becker Capital Management--lay out how they are thinking about their respective investment universes.
Panel Blog: Don't Fear Rising Rates, Dividend Panelists Say
Dividend-based strategies will still remain viable once interest rates begin to rise, managers argue.
Lynch: The Bigger Threat to Facebook
Given Facebook's strong network effect and high switching costs, its direct rivals are a smaller concern than something completely different that might divert users' attention away from social networks, say Morgan Stanley manager Dennis Lynch. Plus: Why Lynch lowered his Apple stake.
Danoff: The Benefits of Being Big
Will Danoff, manager of the $100 billion-plus Fidelity Contrafund, says that with the fund's size comes valuable research resources, influence with company management, and the necessity of taking long-term positions.
Panel Blog: Better Beta Bets
Panelists debate the advantages and disadvantages of the new crop of strategic beta funds.
Eigen: Fixed-Income Markets Are a Compressed Spring
The longer that rates stay near all-time lows in the face of Fed exiting, inflation pressures, and a growing economy, the less it will take to cause a correction, says JPMorgan Strategic Income Opportunities manager Bill Eigen.
Panel Blog: Bank Loans a Healthy Alternative to Bonds, but Not Without Risk
Their adjustable rates may make them the 'anti-bond,' but investor can still experience hefty losses.
Panel Blog: The Long and Short of It
A wishy-washy longing for equities has led investors to long-short equity, which offers exposures to equities with an extra focus on downside protection.