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Special Report

2015 Morningstar ETF Conference

Get investable ideas and engaging strategies from Morningstar analysts and other ETF experts.

Since our first ETF Conference in 2010, the exchange-traded fund industry has continued to grow and evolve. ETFs are attracting an ever-larger share of assets as investors seek low-cost, passive investments, and a slew of new products has expanded the space from plain-vanilla equity index funds into more exotic products. But how can investors navigate this increasingly complex landscape to build better portfolios and position themselves in today's market?

This year's conference, Sept. 29-Oct. 1 in Chicago, shed some light on ETF investors' best practices today, including panel discussions about the rise of strategic-beta funds, how to best invest in fixed income using ETFs, dividend ETFs, and how the slowdown in China is impacting investors.

Keynote speakers include Vanguard's Joe Davis and Greenwich Associates' Charley Ellis.

For those who couldn't attend this year's event, Morningstar.com offered on-the-spot coverage and commentary, including video interviews with the presenters.

Davis: Current Environment Doesn't Encourage Risk-Taking
Investors would be wise to stick with their long-term plan, as risk-taking will likely not be rewarded in the current market climate, says Vanguard's Joe Davis.

Active vs. Passive: Not So Clear-Cut Anymore
As the distinctions between active and passive strategies become less visible, investors' due diligence must evolve, says Vanguard's Joel Dickson.

What You Need to Know About 'Strategic Beta'
As these sometimes complex new funds continue to grow, investors need to be selective, writes Morningstar’s Ben Johnson.

What Active Management Can Bring to Dividend Investing
A forward-looking active manager may be able to sidestep companies and areas of the market where dividends are at risk, says Fidelity's Ramona Persaud.

Currency: The Uncompensated Risk?
Strategically speaking, currency exposure adds to your risk profile, but not your expected return profile, argues WisdomTree director of research Jeremy Schwartz.

China: Looking Past the Headlines
Three China watchers at Morningstar's ETF Conference discussed what's behind the current volatility, what's next for the country's economy, and if investors should take a long-term stake.

Kinniry: A Double Hurdle for Tactical Asset Allocation
Not only are the probabilities stacked against tactical allocation strategies, but even the successful ones can be hard for investors to stick with, says Vanguard senior investment strategist Fran Kinniry.

Can Tactical Allocation Work for You?
At the Morningstar ETF Conference, a trio of experts debated whether these strategies can work--and whether they can work for investors.

Confronting America's Retirement-Savings Crisis
Understanding investor behavior is key to reining in the problem, says investment expert Charley Ellis.

Charley Ellis Foresees a 401(k) Crisis
His advice for avoiding "grievous harm."

5 Insights for Today's Bond Investor
At the Morningstar ETF Conference, fixed-income specialists from PIMCO, BlackRock/iShares, and Research Affiliates talked about where it makes sense to index in the bond market, how to benchmark a fixed-income portfolio, and more.

Kiesel: Finding the Survivors in Energy and Emerging Markets
When venturing into these beaten-down bond sectors, investors should target names with fundamentally strong balance sheets, says PIMCO's Mark Kiesel.

The Upside of the Investor-Return Gap
The flexibility that individual investors have to capture excess returns gives them an advantage over less-agile institutional investors, says Research Affiliates' Jason Hsu.