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Morningstar® Investment Conference


Chicago 2017


April 26–28 | McCormick Place




Don’t miss the early bird price. (Flying away Feb. 24.) 


Morningstar presents the latest developments on financial advice from the industry’s top minds. Discover new perspectives on the market and ideas to put into practice.


Our Speakers


Tap into a dialogue about the most important research on investing this year.


Keynote Speakers


Laurence D. Fink

Michael Lewis
Best-Selling Author

Jimmy Wales


Main Stage Speakers


Michael Kitces
Pinnacle Advisory Group

Josh Brown
Ritholtz Wealth Management


On the Agenda


We're still adding sessions to our conference agenda. Check back for updates.


10 a.m.–11 a.m.

The Pursuit of Sustainable Income: Navigating Dividend Strategies

Research Showcase

Michael Hodel, Morningstar / Dan Lefkovitz, Morningstar

Dividend strategies have an enduring core role in portfolio design for retirees. In this session, Michael Hodel, editor of Morningstar DividendInvestor, will lead a panel exploring the power and perils of dividend investing. 

Putting the DOL's Fiduciary Rule Into Practice

Research Showcase

David Blanchett, Morningstar / Paul Ellenbogen, Morningstar / Aron Szapiro, Morningstar / Jeff Schwantz, Morningstar

Implementation of the DOL Fiduciary Rule is a priority for not only broker/dealers, but also for asset managers. In this session, Morningstar will discuss recent research and approaches to implementation that have been used with institutional clients.


Introduction to Behavioral Finance and Advising

Research Showcase

Ray Sin, Morningstar

Behavioral finance explains why investors fall prey to common problems like confirmation bias, overconfidence, and temporal myopia. These problems can lead investors to make rash investing decisions and can undermine both performance and one's relationship with their advisor. This session outlines investor psychology and biases, the dangers they pose to investors, and how advisors can help clients overcome them. 

11 a.m.–12 p.m.

The Morningstar Analyst Rating: A Unified System for Evaluating Funds and ETFs

Research Showcase

Grant Kennaway, Morningstar / Ben Johnson, Morningstar

In November, Morningstar introduced the Morningstar Analyst Rating for exchange-traded funds to round out analyst coverage of key investing tools that advisors use in client portfolios. This session will explain the difference between the Analyst Ratings for funds and exchange-traded funds, explain how to use the ratings in strategy selection, and demonstrate how to incorporate the ratings into client communications.


The Latest Techniques in Behavioral Finance for Advisors

Research Showcase

Steve Wendel, Morningstar / Sarah Newcomb, Morningstar

Risk tolerance questionnaires have long been a standard tool in assessing investors’ risk appetites, but they are flawed. Behavioral science offers an alternative approach that enables advisors to support investors’ long-term goals without turning a blind eye to their emotions and preferences. The approach is straightforward: Stop trying to use asset allocation to avoid risk. Instead, structure the decision-making environment to help empower investors to better handle risk themselves. In this session, Wendel and Newcomb offer methods to work with investors to meet their financial goals. 


Beyond DOL: Government Policy Impact on Investors and Investing

Research Showcase

Aron Szapiro, Morningstar

In this session, Morningstar's director of policy research leads us through the implications of a number of policy changes on the investment advisory business, including tax reform, expanded health savings accounts, and multiemployer defined contribution plans. 

1 p.m.–2 p.m.

Does it Pay to Invest in Companies With Economic Moats?

Research Showcase

Elizabeth Collins, Morningstar / Debbie Wang, Morningstar / Damien Conover, Morningstar

A focus on companies with significant competitive advantages, or economic moats, is a hallmark of Morningstar’s equity analysis. Having a wide economic moat can enable a firm to earn more than its cost of capital over the long run. In this session, we'll provide our perspective on how healthcare reform and streaming video are impacting moats in their respective sectors. We will also disclose the performance of the Morningstar Rating for Stocks--can investing with the rating pay off? 


New Fund Analytical Tools: The Style Box for Alts, Issue-level Bond Data, and More

Research Showcase

Jason Kephart, Morningstar / Nick Vassilos, Morningstar

Learn about the latest developments from our data and methodology teams that will help you serve clients better, including the Morningstar Style Box for alternatives funds, upcoming improvements to our fund fixed-income analytics, and how we use attribution to understand active managers' investing processes. 


Inspiring Clients to Follow Your Best Interest Advice

Research Showcase

Steve Wendel, Morningstar

Even when investors ask for and get good advice from their financial adviser they struggle to follow through and apply it for their own benefit. In this discussion, we’ll detail how behavioral science can help us understand the obstacles investors face to taking action, and how advisors can tailor interventions to overcome them. We’ll address why investors simply don't believe what you're telling them (even though they ask for advice); why it often overwhelms and paralyzes them; and why they fail to follow through and act, even when they intend to.

3 p.m.–3:30 p.m.

Opening Remarks with Kunal Kapoor

Kunal Kapoor, CEO, Morningstar

3:30 p.m.–4:30 p.m.

Distributed Information and Markets: A Wiki Way of Thinking

Opening Keynote Speaker

Jimmy Wales, Wikipedia

Jimmy Wales will speak on a wide range of issues around the future of technology, including the benefits of a globally connected world with free access to human knowledge. He’ll also address threats to that vision, including government reach into web data in the name of national security and governments' efforts to control access to information. Wales draws on his background as a futures and options trader in Chicago and financial economist and ties it to developments in how information is transmitted in society today.

4:40 p.m.–5:30 p.m.

Industry Disruption

General Session

Moderated by Tricia Rothschild / Don Phillips, Morningstar / Josh Brown, Ritholtz Wealth Management / Rohit Mahna, Salesforce

For decades, trends have come and gone in the investment industry, but this feels different: The rise of passive strategies, robo-advice, and regulatory scrutiny signal a sea change in how advisors construct portfolios and manage client assets. Our panel of industry veterans will discuss which of these trends are permanent disruptions and which are passing fads

5:30 p.m.–7:30 p.m.

Opening Reception in the Exhibit Hall

7 a.m.–8 a.m.

Breakfast in the Exhibit Hall

8 a.m.–9 a.m.

Michael Kitces of Pinnacle Advisory Group

General Session

9:10 a.m.–10 a.m.

Straight Talk about Strategic Beta

Track: Passive/Strategic Beta

Moderated by Ben Johnson / Patrick O'Shaughnessy, O'Shaughnessy Asset Management / Wes Gray, Alpha Architect

Strategic beta, or so-called "smart" beta, ETFs have been all the rage in recent years. New funds have proliferated and new inflows have been strong and steady. Our expert panel will demystify this newly popular category of investments and provide insights on how to cut through the hype.


Liquid Alts: The Square Peg for Your Round Portfolio

Track: Outcome-Oriented Investing

Moderated by Jason Kephart / Bob Boyda, John Hancock / Catherine LeGraw, GMO / Joel Dickson, Vanguard

When used responsibly, liquid alternatives give investors the potential to improve their portfolios’ risk-adjusted returns over the long term. This panel will address the best practices for including liquid alts in a portfolio and offer our panelists’ best ideas on which alternatives strategies are built for tomorrow’s markets


The Best Investments—Anywhere

Track: Active Management

Moderated by Kevin McDevitt / Noriko Chen, Capital Group / Charles Pohl, Dodge & Cox / Amit Wadhwaney, Moerus Capital Management

This panel of talented asset allocators will discuss their approaches to investing and detail how they look across asset classes, regions, sectors, and securities for the best opportunities. 


Pillars of a Modern Advisor: How to Achieve Scale and Prosper

Track: Practice Management

Sheryl Rowling, Rowling & Associates

Discover the easy way to achieve greater scale and profitability while serving clients’ best interests. Advisors can have a hard time managing growth and bringing on new clients. The quality of client services can decline as work overpowers their personal time. This session will demonstrate with  a few simple steps—with or without technology— how to better serve current clients and take on new ones. All while still having a personal life.

11 a.m.–11:50 a.m.

Fixed Income: The Achilles Heel of Indexing

Track: Passive/Strategic Beta

Moderated by Ben Johnson / Natalie Zahradnik, PIMCO / Karen Schenone, BlackRock / Gemma Wright-Casparius, Vanguard

Fixed income markets are believe by many to be the last bastion of active management. Do bond index funds stand a chance versus their actively managed peers? What does the future hold for bond indexes?


Income-Focused Strategies for Retirees

Track: Outcome-Oriented Investing

Moderated by Leo Acheson / Brett Sumsion, Fidelity Investments / Andrew Suzman, Capital Group / Ed Perks, Franklin Templeton Investments

With an estimated 10,000 baby boomers retiring every day, the number of Americans age 65 and older is expected to reach more than 70 million by 2030. Does it make sense to roll their assets into an income-oriented portfolio? What options exist in this space, and how are the managers navigating the volatile interest-rate landscape?


The Active Equity Challenge

Track: Active Management

Moderated by Katie Reichart / Clare Hart, JP Morgan / Matt Fruhan, Fidelity Investments

Most active equity fund managers have failed to beat their benchmarks after fees in recent years, but the portfolio managers on this panel have been winners over the long term. We’ll dig into their funds to discuss why they’ve been successful and why indexing provides stiff competition.


The Augmented Advisor: How Technology Amplifies the Significance of Financial Advice

Track: Practice Management

Bill Winterberg,

Startups have raised hundreds of millions of dollars under the premise of deploying algorithms and artificial intelligence to disintermediate human financial advisors. But instead, startups have pivoted to cater to the unique needs of human advisors and their clients. In this provocative session, you will learn ways to use your current technology to enhance the advice you provide and be exposed to innovations on the horizon that have the potential to amplify your relationships with clients and prospects. 


Incorporating Sustainable Investing Into Your Practice

Research Showcase

Paul Ellis, Paul Ellis Consulting / Jeffrey Gitterman, Gitterman Wealth Management / Moderated by John Hale, Morningstar

As trillions of assets transfer to younger investors and women over the coming years, their interest in making an impact with their investments and investing in sustainable companies will drive many of their choices. Research shows that more than 80% of millennials and 70% of women are interested in sustainability. In this session, we will discuss the benefits of incorporating sustainability into your practice with two successful financial advisors. We will also outline practical steps for portfolio construction, as well as integration of client service and marketing strategies for sustainable investment. 

12 p.m.–1:30 p.m.

Michael Lewis, author of The Undoing Project

Lunch Keynote Presentation

1:40 p.m.–2:40 p.m.

Value (Index) Investors Club

Track: Passive/Strategic Beta

Moderated by Alex Bryan / John West, Research Affiliates / Jared Watts, Morningstar

Value investors have been through trying times. Has value gone missing? Are there any signs that it might soon return? What is the best way for investors to harness that value factor?


Preparing for Inflation and Protecting Purchasing Power

Track: Outcome-Oriented Investing

Moderated by Jeff Holt / Jessica Bush, Principal Financial Group / Michael Aked, Research Affiliates

In the wake of the financial crisis, inflation has remained well below historic norms, but this threat to investors’ purchasing power looms following years of accommodative monetary policy to stimulate growth. Come hear a panel of three multi-asset portfolio managers discuss current inflationary pressures and different methods of preparing a portfolio for inflation.


A Flexible Approach to Fixed Income

Track: Active Management

Moderated by Miriam Sjoblom / Bryan Whalen, TCW/Metwest /Mark Egan, Scout Investments / Elaine Stokes, Loomis Sayles & Co.

Years of low yields across the developed bond markets have meant challenging times for investors. Join us as we talk with three managers who venture beyond the confines of traditional bond benchmarks in their search for value. How will these approaches change if rates continue to rise?


Goals-Based Risk: A Better Way to Understand Clients’ Risk Preferences in the Context of Investing Well

Track: Practice Management

Ryan Murphy, Morningstar

We present a framework that emphasizes coherence between investors’ current financial situation, their long-term fiscal goals, and sensible investment strategies. Risk preferences inform part of this approach, but they are only one piece of a more complicated puzzle. The goals-based risk approach highlights the inherent trade-offs an investor faces when developing an investment strategy and helps clarify the role an advisor has in helping clients make good decisions consistent with their aspirations both in the short and long term.

2:30 p.m.–3:30 p.m.

Break in Exhibit Hall

3:30 p.m.–4:30 p.m.

Behavioral Coaching for Advisors

General Session

Sarah Newcomb, Morningstar

The rise of robo-advice, as well as increasing pressure from regulatory changes, has fueled a wave of change in the financial advice industry. Advisors have a growing need to prove the value they provide to clients and to develop skills that can set them apart from automated solutions and their human competition. Morningstar has responded to this need through original research and practical solutions that will prepare advisors to better deal with the “softer” side of money management: anxiety, family dynamics, and problematic financial behaviors. This talk will offer a preview of current findings and discuss how advisors can incorporate critical elements of financial psychology work into their day-to-day practice.

4:40 p.m.–5:30 p.m.

General Session

Amid performance, fee, and regulatory pressure, the competitive landscape for fund firms has been shifting rapidly. Join some of Morningstar’s equity and fund researchers as they review which asset managers are likely to deliver the best results going forward and which have lost their edge. We’ll also discuss the impact on advisors’ client portfolios.

5:30 p.m.–7:00 p.m.

Reception in Exhibit Hall

8 a.m.–9 a.m.

Breakfast in Exhibit Hall

9 a.m.–10 a.m.

A Conversation with Larry Fink of BlackRock

Closing Keynote Presentation

Larry Fink, BlackRock

Join us for an industry-spanning discussion with the chairman and CEO of the world's largest asset manager, BlackRock. We'll get Larry Fink's views on global trends in ETFs, active management, and the cost of investing. We'll review the shifting regulatory landscape and name the places where BlackRock sees opportunity.

10 a.m.–11 a.m.

Bonds 2.0: Fixed-Income Investing for the 21st Century

General Session

Sonal Desai, Franklin Templeton / Dan Ivascyn, PIMCO / Rick Reider, BlackRock

Challenges abound in today's fixed income markets, but investors also have a growing number of tools at their disposal. Join us as three influential bond investors discuss their market outlook, where they're finding value across the global fixed-income markets, and what investment strategies offer the most promise for competing in a world of low-bond yields.

11:30 a.m.–12:30 p.m.

ETF Trading 101

Track: Passive/Strategic Beta

Anita Rausch, WisdomTree

Trading exchange-traded funds can be tricky business. This trading tutorial will cover best practices in EFT trading, equipping investors with the knowledge they need to navigate the ebb and flow of ETF liquidity.


Absolute Return Funds: Absolutely Fabulous or Absolute Rubbish?

Track: Outcome-Oriented Investing

Moderated by Josh Charlson / Suzanne Hutchins, Newton Investment Management / Mart Norton, Morningstar / Brian Singer, William Blair

Absolute return strategies (also known as cash-plus or target-return strategies) have long been popular with institutional investors in the United Kingdom and Europe. More recently, some of these strategies have made their way into retail U.S. liquid alternative mutual funds. In this session, we’ll speak to portfolio managers to learn how absolute return strategies are constructed, whether the return targets they promise are realistic, and how investors might look to incorporate such funds into their portfolios.


Uncertain Times for Munis

Track: Active Management

Moderated by Elizabeth Foos / Sheila Amoroso, Franklin Templeton / John Miller, Nuveen / John Lofreddo, MacKay Shields

Changes in Washington and rising yields weighed on municipal bond markets in 2016. Was this a buying opportunity or just the first leg down? Three veteran fund managers weigh in on controversial areas like tobacco and Puerto Rico, as well as tips for choosing bonds among more straightforward government projects.


Inspiring Clients to Follow Your Best Interest Advice

Track: Practice Management

Steve Wendel, Morningstar

Even when investors ask for and get good advice from their financial advisor they struggle to follow through and apply it for their own benefit. In this discussion, you’ll hear about how behavioral science can help us understand the obstacles investors face to taking action, and how advisors can tailor interventions to overcome them.


When You Get Here


Welcome to Chicago


It’s Morningstar’s home and a hub for business and culture. You’ll be a quick cab ride away from the Loop, the center of the city. Spending most of the day at McCormick Place, you’re going to be right off Lake Michigan and just steps away from your hotel.


Where You’ll Stay


Unwind at the Hyatt Regency McCormick Place after a full day at the conference. You'll have access to the lakeside jogging path. And if you want to explore our eclectic neighborhoods, you’ll be steps from Metra and CTA train stops. Get a special hotel rate if you book by April 4.




Hyatt Regency McCormick Place

2233 South Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Drive

Chicago, IL, 60616


Book Your Room


Morningstar does not hire or authorize anyone to contact you to book your hotel rooms at the Hyatt McCormick or Hyatt Regency for the Morningstar Investment Conference. If you are contacted by a third party to book your room at the Hyatt for the Morningstar Investment Conference, please contact:


See You in the Exhibit Hall


Network with people from more than 100 organizations including asset management firms, fintech companies, and media groups. Morningstar experts will be on hand, too—ready to answer questions. 


Aberdeen Asset Management

Advisor Perspectives

Akre Capital Management, LLC


Alliance Bernstein

American Beacon Advisors

American Funds

Appleseed Funds

Ariel Investments, LLC

AQR Capital Management

The Arbitrage Funds

Artisan Partners

The Athene Group

Azzad Asset Management

Baron Funds



Bridgeway Funds

Brown Advisory

Brown Brothers Harriman

Calamos Investments

Calvert Research and Management

Cambiar Investments

Capstone Financial Services, Inc.

Carillon Tower Advisors

Causeway Capital Management, LLC

Centerstone Investors, LLC

CFA Institute

Cognois Capital, LLC

Conestoga Funds

Cramer Rosenthal McGlynn, LLC

Davis ETFs

Diamond Hill Capital Management

Discovery Data


Eaton Vance Investment Managers

Edgewood Management LLC

eMoney Advisor, LLC

Envestnet Logix

Envestnet Tamarac

Eventide Asset Management

Evermore Global Advisors, LLC

FAM Funds

Financial Advisor Magazine Financial Planning

First Eagle Investment Management

Firsthand Technology Value Fund, Inc.

FMI Funds

Forester Value Fund

FPA Funds

Frost Investment Advisors, LLC

Guggenheim Investments GuideStone Funds

Harbor Funds

Harding Loevner

Hartford Funds

Havener Capital Partners

Heartland Funds

Hotchkis & Wiley

HSBC Global Asset Management


Investment News

Investor’s Business Daily

IVA Funds

Janus Capital Group

Jensen Investment Management J.P. Morgan Asset Management

Leuthold Funds

Litman Gregory

Longleaf Partners

Loomis, Sayles & Company, L.P.

Macquarie Investment Management Mainstay Investments

Mairs & Power

Matthews Asia


Moerus Capital Management, LLC

Morgan Stanley Investment Management


Neuberger Berman

OppenheimerFunds, Inc.


Orion Advisor Services, LLC

Osterweis Capital Management

Parnassus Investments

Perritt Funds

PIETech, Inc.

PIMCO Principal Prudential Investments, LLC

Queens Road Funds

Redi2 Technologies, Inc.

Redtail Technology

Reverse Mortgage Funding, LLC

RidgeWorth Investments




RiverPark Funds

Royce & Associates

Saturna Capital

Scout Investments


SIT Mutual Funds

Smead Capital Management

Sound Shore Management, Inc.

State Street Global Advisors TCW

T. Rowe Price

Think Advisor

Thompson Investment Management

Thornburg Investment Management

Tweedy, Browne Company, LLC



Versus Capital


Victory Capital Management

Wasatch Funds

Wealth Management

Weitz Investment Management

Westchester Capital Management, LLC

Westcore Funds

William Blair



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See you at the conference.