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The Short Answer

Timeless Lessons from the Morningstar Conference

Amid market turmoil, investors can find great long-term advice.

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The Morningstar Investment Conference, held this year from June 25-27, is always a great place to hear investors, academics, and industry leaders talk about what's going on in the markets. This year, there were keynote talks from such luminaries as PIMCO's Mohammed El-Erian, T. Rowe Price's Brian Rogers, and financial journalist Jason Zweig, and expert panels on such topics as real estate, exchange-traded funds, and growth investing.

Inevitably, much of the talk at the conference tends to be about the current state of the market; that was certainly true this year, given all the uncertainty that investors have had to endure lately. But amid all the discussion of commodity prices and the direction of interest rates, this year's conference also provided lots of timeless advice that's useful for investors in any kind of market. Chris Davis has recently discussed some of the fascinating insights from neurobiology that Jason Zweig presented during the conference, and in his book Your Money & Your Brain. Here are a few of the most valuable points that long-term investors could glean from this year's other speakers.

All Rebalancing Is Not Created Equal
One of the more interesting sessions of the conference was a discussion between Morningstar's John Rekenthaler and William Bernstein, author of The Intelligent Asset Allocator and several other books. In his books and on his Efficient Frontier Web site, Bernstein has been a big proponent of efficient-market theory and has often discussed how investors can build a portfolio with the best expected returns over the long term. One of the key elements of maintaining any portfolio is rebalancing, but, as Bernstein noted, the question of when to rebalance is not a simple one.

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David Kathman does not own shares in any of the securities mentioned above. Find out about Morningstar’s editorial policies.