Morningstar Investment Conference

May 8–10, 2019 | McCormick Place, Chicago

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.


The conference brings together some of the financial industry’s top minds.

Keynote Speakers

Cliff Asness
AQR Capital Management

Sonal Desai, Ph.D.
Franklin Templeton

David Giroux
T. Rowe Price

Doris Kearns Goodwin

Morgan Housel
The Collaborative Fund

Kunal Kapoor

Emmanuel "Manny" Roman

Boyd Varty
Storyteller, Life Coach, Tracker

On the Agenda

Agenda subject to change.

8 a.m.–7:30 p.m.

Registration Open

10 a.m.–11 a.m.

Fund Ratings Systems & Performance

Research Showcase

Jeff Ptak, CFA, Morningstar Research Services LLC

We run the gamut from the basics of the Morningstar Rating for funds (the “star rating”) to the methodology behind the Morningstar Analyst Rating for funds, our forward-looking, subjective rating, and discuss our analysis of each rating system’s efficacy.


Social Comparisons and Financial Well-Being

Research Showcase

Sarah Newcomb, Ph.D., Morningstar

Humans have a natural drive for social comparisons as a means toto make sense of our place in the world. Recent work by Morningstar explored how social comparisons affect overall financial well-being. This talk offers an overview of the relationship between how we compare ourselves withto others and how we feel about ourselves – when it comes to money. Participants will learn the pitfalls and benefits of both upward and downward comparisons and gain practical tips on how to improve overall financial well-being with simple mind-set changes.


Evaluating the Federal Government’s Approach to Helping Investors

Research Showcase

Aron Szapiro, Morningstar

Morningstar’s director of policy research walks through the main ways the government tries to nudge ordinary people to invest wisely—tax incentives, disclosure, and direct regulation of advice—and what decades of mixed results tell us about the future of regulation and how to help investors succeed.

11 a.m.–12 p.m.

Morningstar Indexes: Beta Disruption, Strategic Beta Innovation, and Sustainability

Research Showcase

Haywood Kelly, Morningstar / Andrew Lane, Morningstar / Dan Lefkovitz, Morningstar

Morningstar Indexes combine the science and art of indexing to give investors a clearer view into the world’s financial markets. In this session, you’ll learn about our Open Indexes program for asset managers, new index series that we’ve developed to help investors, and trends in indexing that are relevant to both advisors and asset managers


The Latest in Manager Research

Research Showcase

Maciej Kowara, Morningstar / Matias Möttölä, Morningstar / Miriam Sjoblom, Morningstar

We’ve published a number of research papers over the past year to help investors make better choices. In this session, you’ll learn about our research on how long to wait for a good management team to prove itself, which categories of fixed-income-funds have a good chance of beating their benchmarks, and other topics.


New Data for Choosing and Understanding Funds & Companies

Research Showcase

Dayna Doman, Morningstar / Lia Mitchell, Morningstar / Janet Yang, CFA, Morningstar

Data forms the core of Morningstar's offerings, informing our research and powering our products. Join us as we preview some of this year's key enhancements, including tools that give new perspectives on portfolio allocations and geographic exposures and help investors better understand strategic beta choices and health savings accounts, or HSAs.


1 p.m.–2 p.m.

New Tools for Sustainable Investing

Research Showcase

Jon Hale, Ph.D., CFA, Morningstar Research Services LLC

In this session, you’ll learn about the latest techniques for identifying and evaluating environmental, social, and governance vehicles for your clients. We introduced the now-familiar Morningstar Sustainability Rating for funds in 2016 and have followed it with additional enhancements, including a significant new suite of tools and data that will be announced prior to the Morningstar Investment Conference.


Quant Variety Show: Flows, Attribution & Scenario Analysis

Research Showcase

Tim Strauts, Morningstar

Learn about the latest work from our 40-strong quantitative analysis team. You’ll hear about our new scenario analysis tool and the latest in attribution and risk decomposition capabilities, and you’ll get an introduction to our new factors-that-drive-asset-flows dashboard.


Index Fund and ETF Research Sampler

Research Showcase

Hortense Bioy, CFA, Morningstar / Alex Bryan, CFA, Morningstar Research Services LLC / Ben Johnson, CFA, Morningstar Research Services LLC

Members of our global passive strategies research team will be sharing the key takeaways from their most recent research. Learn about how we analyze multifactor funds, why it is a mistake to assume that index managers take a passive approach to investment stewardship, and the factors that influence the ebb and flow of active managers’ success rates versus their index-tracking peers.

2 p.m.–3 p.m.

Break in Exhibit Hall

3 p.m.–3:30 p.m.

Opening Remarks With Kunal Kapoor, CEO, Morningstar


Kunal Kapoor, CEO, Morningstar

3:30 p.m.–4:30 p.m.

A Conversation With Walt Bettinger, CEO, Charles Schwab


Walt Bettinger, CEO, Charles Schwab

4:35 p.m.–5:30 p.m.

Kevin Kelly, founding editor of Wired magazine


5:30 p.m.–7:00 p.m.

Opening Reception in the Exhibit Hall

7 a.m.–6 p.m.

Registration Open

7 a.m.–8 a.m.

Breakfast in the Exhibit Hall

8 a.m.–9 a.m.

A Conversation With Daniel Kahneman


Host: Sarah Newcomb, Ph.D., Morningstar / Daniel Kahneman

After a near 10-year absence from the lecture circuit, Nobel Laureate Daniel Kahneman has returned to discuss some of the most critical issues of our time. As documented in his best-selling book Thinking, Fast and Slow, as well as Michael Lewis’s best-seller The Undoing Project, much of Kahneman’s life and work has been devoted to behavioral economics—the science of human decision making. In the late 1970s and early 80s, Kahneman and his research partner Amos Tversky published two landmark papers on the subject, entitled Prospect Theory: An Analysis of Decision Under Risk and Judgment Under Uncertainty: Heuristics and Biases.


These two works laid the foundation for modern behavioral economics, flying in the face of long-held assumptions about the supposed role of human rationality in decision making. The pair also introduced now widely known concepts such as framing, the availability and representativeness heuristics, cognitive biases, and loss aversion into the public consciousness, particularly as they relate to business, economics, and military strategy.


Since then, Kahneman has moved on to studying new subjects including hedonic psychology, algorithmic data analytics, and, most recently, artificial intelligence. He has also spent several years consulting for top financial services firms worldwide. His combined experience—both academic and professional—along with his credentials, certify him as one of the foremost psychological and economic thought leaders alive today.”

9:10 a.m.–10 a.m.

Taming Your Technologies


Moderator: Karyn DeJong, Morningstar / Dermot O'Mahony, Morningstar / Spenser Segal, AIFA, ActiFii / Bill Winterberg, CFP,

When technology is working well, it can give advisors the freedom to do what they’re best at. The time saved can be used to introduce valuable new services, build lasting relationships with clients, understand client motivations, and personalize their investment strategies. In today’s investor-centric environment, these are all critical to the success of a modern advisor’s practice.


The Bond-Pickers’ Guide to Fixed-Income Strategies


Moderator: Sarah Bush, Morningstar / Ryan Brist, Western Asset Management / Mohit Mittal, PIMCO / Elaine Stokes, Loomis Sayles & Company

Corporate bonds have enjoyed a strong run since the depths of the financial crisis, leaving valuations at historically rich levels. Find out how these skilled bond-pickers identify winning credits, manage risk, and deliver compelling returns in ever-changing markets.


The Rise of the Machines


Moderator: Ben Johnson, CFA, Morningstar Research Services LLC / Osman Ali, Goldman Sachs / Kevin Franklin, BlackRock /Bryan Kelly, AQR Capital Management

Big data, machine learning, and artificial intelligence, oh my! Asset managers are engaged in an arms race, trying to outgun one another with ever more intricate data sets and sophisticated means of parsing them. This panel will explore how asset managers are leveraging these tools and whether they can provide managers a sustainable edge.


On the Cutting Edge of Retirement Research


Moderator: Christine Benz, Morningstar / David Blanchett, Ph.D., CFA, CFP, Morningstar Investment Management LLC / Jeff Holt, CFA, Morningstar Research Services LLC / Aron Szapiro, Morningstar

Join Morningstar’s retirement experts as they discuss withdrawal rates, glide paths, behavioral factors, trends in financing healthcare, such as health savings accounts, and the evolving role of annuities in retirement planning.

10 a.m.–11 a.m.

Break in Exhibit Hall

11 a.m.–11:50 a.m.

Manager Selection From a Practitioner's Perspective


Moderator: Russel Kinnel, Morningstar Research Services LLC / Phil Huber, Huber Financial / Anna Snider, Merrill Lynch Wealth Management / Michelle Ward, CFA, Morningstar Investment Management LLC

When it comes to choosing strategies for a portfolio or platform, the pros weigh many factors, including potential returns, risk, and cost. This panel will discuss how they distinguish manager skill from luck and how their priorities may be changing amid more scrutiny on performance and price.


Smart Plays in Developing Markets


Moderator: Karin Anderson, Morningstar Research Services LLC / Penny Foley, TCW / Anujeet Sareen, Brandywine Funds / Jeremy Schwartz, CFA, WisdomTree

Investors in search of growth often turn to emerging markets, tapping both equity and bonds in developing countries. In this discussion, the panelists will outline the best approaches to investing in the sector without taking on excessive risk.


Making Sense of the Multitude of Multi-Factor ETFs


Moderator: Adam McCullough, Morningstar Research Services LLC/ Yasmin Dahya, JP Morgan Asset Management / FeiFei Li, Research Affiliates / Antonio Picca, Vanguard

Multifactor ETFs have multiplied in recent years. Spreading one’s factor bets makes sense. But making sense of the current menu of these funds is a tall task. Our expert panel will unpack the key considerations investors should make when doing their due diligence on these funds.


Show Me the Income


Moderator: Jeremy Glaser, Morningstar / Christine Benz, Morningstar / Wyatt Lee, T. Rowe Price / Marta Norton, CFA, Morningstar Investment Management LLC

In a low-yield world, investors are hungry for income, and fund companies have developed often innovative new ways to meet that demand. At this session, you'll hear the pros and cons about all sorts of income-oriented strategies, ranging from more-esoteric managed-payout funds to even the humble balanced fund.

12 p.m.–1:30 p.m.

A Conversation With Mellody Hobson, President, Ariel Investments

Lunch Keynote Presentation

Host: Laura Lutton, Morningstar / Mellody Hobson, President, Ariel Investments

1:40 p.m.–2:30 p.m.

What Drives Investor Success?


Steve Wendel, Ph.D., Morningstar

What helps investors reach their financial goals?  In the finance industry, we naturally focus on the details of investing, such as asset allocation and returns.  But investors can fail to succeed for many other reasons as well. In this discussion, we examine the current state of American’ preparation for retirement, and examine the tools advisors and their clients can use to improve their prospects.  In particular we look at how well-selected investments, thoughtful planning, and behavioral factors jointly help clients succeed, and offer practical tips for advisers on where they can add -- and demonstrate to clients -- their value. This presentation is part of a broader initiative at Morningstar called the Investor Success Project; we’ll share an overview of this new body of research with you, as well.


Crypto, Blockchain, and Lamborghinis, Oh My!


Moderator: Tayfun Icten, Morningstar Research Services LLC / Stan DeLaney, Morgan Stanley Investment Management / Sam Lee, SVRN Asset Management / Sean Ristau, Bcause LLC

Do cryptocurrencies belong in clients’ portfolios? Does blockchain technology represent an investment opportunity or is it overhyped? In a world where newly-minted crypto millionaires are buying Lamborghinis like hotcakes, how can you engage in a sober conversation with clients about crypto? Come to this panel to find out.


Defensive Equity Investing


Moderator: Alex Bryan, CFA, Morningstar Research Services LLC / Darby Nielson, Fidelity Investments / Raman Aylur Subramanian, MSCI / Meggan Walsh, Invesco

Should interest rates continue to rise, investors in stodgy traditional strategies may be in for a surprise. Panelists will discuss how playing defense through buying dividend-payers and less-volatile stocks may leave one’s flank exposed in a rising-rate environment.


The Future of Diversification


Moderator: Dan McNeela, CFA, Morningstar Investment Management LLC/ Robert Boyda, John Hancock Asset Management / Anne Lester, JP Morgan Asset Management / Brad Vogt, American Funds

U.S. large-cap stocks have been on a multiyear performance tear, and investors in everything from international equities to alternatives and much else in between are asking why they bothered diversifying. In this session, portfolio managers on both sides of the debate will discuss how you should think about the diversification of your clients' portfolios.

2:30 p.m.–3:30 p.m.

Break in Exhibit Hall

3:30 p.m.–4:30 p.m.

Closing Keynote: Jeremy Grantham, Co-Founder, GMO


Jeremy Grantham, Co-Founder, GMO

The Race of Our Lives: Accelerating Climate Damage Meets Accelerating Technological Progress: We will completely decarbonize  our economy this century.  Exceptional scientific and engineering breakthroughs guarantee it. It will be the biggest economic event since the industrial revolution.  It will not be a lack of sufficient cheap energy that will destabilize our world.  But can this transition occur fast enough to prevent the global temperature from rising over 2 1/2 degrees centigrade? This would move the task of feeding 10 to12 billion people from difficult - even without climate damage - to near impossible.

Parallel with climate damage we are increasing the toxicity of our environment, making it apparently hostile to life, from insects to humans.

Obviously, these dangers have investment consequences.

4:30 p.m.–6 p.m.

Reception in Exhibit Hall

8 a.m.–12 p.m.

Registration Open

8 a.m.–9 a.m.

Breakfast in Exhibit Hall

9 a.m.–10 a.m.

Blockchain: Evolution or Revolution?

General Session

Moderator: Lawrence Johnson, Morningstar / Adley Bowden, PitchBook / Tayfun Icten, Morningstar Research Services LLC / Jim Sinegal, Morningstar Research Services LLC / Philip Straehl, Morningstar Investment Management LLC

How real are the threats and opportunities that blockchain presents for investors? In this session, we’ll present the results of our extensive bottom-up research into the potential impact of blockchain on the industries that we cover, with an emphasis on financial services. We’ll also look at up-and-coming venture-capital-backed companies that hope to leverage the technology to disrupt companies and business models. The provided mosaic of views will help advisors place future developments around blockchain into a fundamental context that will be communicable to clients.

10 a.m.–11 a.m.

Global Equity Investing in a World of Blurring Borders

General Session

Moderator: Katie Reichart, CFA, Morningstar / David Herro, Oakmark Funds / Diana Strandberg, Dodge & Cox

The idea of international investing and diversification has evolved rapidly, yet quietly, as the largest companies’ geographic footprints have grown larger and technology platforms have increasingly benefitted from network effects globally. In this session the panel will explore how two of the most successful global stock managers of the past two decades have evolved their management philosophies as the landscape has changed, and gets their perspectives about how they think about the future of global equity investing.

11 a.m.–11:30 a.m.

Break in Exhibit Hall

11:40 a.m.–12:30 p.m.

Including Sustainability in Your Practice


Moderator: Jon Hale, Ph.D., CFA, Morningstar Research Services LLC / Michael Jantzi, Sustainalytics / Patricia Farrar-Rivas, Veris Wealth Partners LLC


Tax-Free Yield: Finding Opportunity and Avoiding Potholes in Muni Bonds


Moderator: Elizabeth Foos, Morningstar Research Services LLC / Christopher Alwine, Vanguard / Melissa Haskell, MFS Investment Management / James Murphy, T. Rowe Price

Municipal bonds have long been a haven for investors seeking strong returns while avoiding the taxman. This discussion will focus on the best sources for yield—and their relative safety—among both active and passive strategies.


Are Growth Strategies Poised for a Comeback?


Moderator: Kevin McDevitt, Morningstar Research Services LLC / Holly Framsted, BlackRock / Steve Wymer, Fidelity Investments

Investors have been leaving actively managed large-growth strategies in droves, often replacing these funds with broadly diversified passive options. Have investors moved away from the next best thing, or are they better off taking smaller bites at the growth apple? We’ll hear the case for each.


From Fintech to Healthtech: Investing in New Technologies & Business Models


Moderator: Tom Lauricella, Morningstar / Lawrence Johnson, Morningstar / Rodney Nelson, Morningstar Research Services LLC / Nizar Tarhuni, PitchBook

Advisors are well aware of the risks and opportunities that emerging technologies present to their businesses. But how might you think about investing in fintech, healthtech, ”Internet of Things,” and other technologies on behalf of your clients? In this session, we’ll discuss emerging business models and the impact of new technologies on incumbent players.

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 or Marriott Marquis Chicago after the conference.  

Hyatt Regency McCormick Place

2233 South Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Drive

Chicago, IL 60616

Marriott Marquis Chicago

2121 South Prairie Avenue

Chicago, IL 60616

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:

  • Asset TV
  • Baird Funds
  • Ballie Gifford International LLC
  • Bitwise Asset Management
  • BlackRock
  • Bridgeway Funds
  • Brown Brothers Harriman
  • Calamos Investments
  • Cambiar Investors
  • Causeway Capital Management LLC
  • Centerstone Investors
  • Charles Schwab & Co., Inc.
  • Cogent Reports
  • Columbia Threadneedle Investments
  • Conestoga Funds
  • Cramer Rosenthal McGlynn
  • Credit Suisse
  • Davis Advisors
  • Diamond Hill Capital Management
  • Discovery Data
  • Domini Impact Investments
  • Dynacor
  • Edgewood Management, LLC
  • Envestnet Tamarac
  • Eventide Asset Management
  • Fidelity Investments
  • Financial Advisor IQ
  • Financial Fitness Group
  • First Eagle Investment Management
  • First Trust Advisors L.P.
  • Fix Flyer
  • FPA Funds
  • Frost Investment Advisors LLC
  • FTSE Russell
  • Gabelli Funds
  • Glenmeade Investment Management
  • Goldman Sachs Asset Management
  • Guggenheim Investments
  • GuideStone Funds
  • Harbor Funds
  • Hartford Funds
  • ROBO Global
  • Royce & Associates
  • Saturna Capital Corporation
  • Schafer Cullen/Cullen Funds
  • Seafarer Capital Partners
  • Sine Wave Technology
  • Sit Mutual Funds
  • Smead Capital Management
  • Snappy Kraken
  • Sound Shore Management
  • USAA Investments
  • VanEck
  • William Blair
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.

Sponsorship Opportunities

Be a visible part of the MIC experience by becoming a sponsor. It’s about more than attendees seeing your company’s logo—it’s an effective way to reach decision makers.  

Principal Sponsor

Lead Sponsors

Major Sponsors

Associate Sponsors

Social Digital Hub Sponsor

Recharge Lounge Sponsor

Coffee Bar Sponsor

See you at the conference.