Morningstar ® ETF Conference

Chicago 2017

September 6–8 | Hyatt Regency Chicago

Don't miss the early bird price. (Flying away on July 28.)

Morningstar presents the latest developments in the exchange-traded fund space. Our ETF-focused event presents tactics, strategies, and portfolio insights for financial professionals.

Our Speakers

Tap into a dialogue about the latest developments in the ETF industry.

Keynote Speakers

John C. Bogle


John Bogle is founder and former chief executive of Vanguard, and president of the Bogle Financial Markets Research Center. Vanguard is now the largest mutual fund organization in the world, with current assets totaling over $4 trillion.

Laurence D. Fink


Laurence Fink is founder, chairman, and chief executive officer of BlackRock, Inc. Under his leadership, the firm has grown into a global leader in investment management, risk management, and advisory services for institutional and retail clients.

Kunal Kapoor


Kunal Kapoor, CFA, is chief executive officer of Morningstar. Before assuming his current role in 2017, he served as president, responsible for product development and innovation, sales and marketing, and driving strategic prioritization. 

Michael Lewis

Best-Selling Author

Financial journalist and best-selling author Michael Lewis has published more than a dozen books on subjects ranging from politics to Wall Street. Lewis’ upcoming book, The Undoing Project, dives deep into the field of behavioral economics.

Jimmy Wales


Jimmy Donal Wales is a U.S. Internet entrepreneur, wiki pioneer, and technology visionary, who is best known as the founder of Wikipedia, an international collaborative free content encyclopedia on the Internet, and the Wikimedia Foundation.

Main Stage Speakers

Josh Brown

Ritholtz Wealth Management

Josh Brown, CEO of Ritholtz Wealth Management, helps clients align their investments with their goals and manages client portfolios. Clients range from high net worth households and corporations to retirement plans and charitable foundations. 

Sonal Desai

Templeton Global Macro

Sonal Desai, Ph.D., is a senior vice president and director of research for Templeton Global Macro. Templeton Global Macro offers global, unconstrained investment strategies through a variety of investment vehicles.

Dan Ivascyn


Dan Ivascyn is group chief investment officer and a managing director at PIMCO. He is lead portfolio manager for the firm’s income strategies and credit hedge fund and mortgage opportunistic strategies. 

Michael Kitces

Pinnacle Advisory Group

Michael Kitces is a partner and the director of research for Pinnacle Advisory Group, as well as cofounder of the XY Planning Network and publisher of the popular financial planning industry blog Nerd’s Eye View.

Laura Lutton


Laura Lutton is North American practice leader, manager research, for Morningstar Research Services LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Morningstar, Inc. She directs the firm’s manager research analyst teams in the United States and Canada.

Rohit Mahna


Rohit Mahna leads the subject matter experts, strategy, and marketing teams across banking, insurance, and wealth management. His teams handle the go-to-market strategy, industry products, thought leadership, and customer engagements. 

Sarah Newcomb


Sarah Newcomb, Ph.D., is a behavioral economist for Morningstar. In this role, she works to integrate the findings of her research into Morningstar financial management applications and tools.

Don Phillips


Don Phillips is a managing director for Morningstar. He joined the company in 1986 as its first mutual fund analyst and soon became editor of its flagship print publication, Morningstar® Mutual Funds™.

Rick Rieder


Rick Rieder, managing director at BlackRock, is the global chief investment officer of fixed income, co-head of the global fixed income platform, a member of the global operating committee, and chairman of the firm-wide investment council. 

Tricia Rothschild


Tricia Rothschild, CFA, is chief product officer for Morningstar. She is responsible for product strategy, innovation, development, and execution for the solutions delivered to clients. 

Greggory Warren


Greggory Warren, CFA, is a senior equity analyst for Morningstar Research Services LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Morningstar, Inc., covering traditional U.S. and Canadian asset managers, as well as Berkshire Hathaway. 

On the Agenda

Subject to change.

8 a.m.–7:30 p.m

Registration Open

10 a.m.–11 a.m.

The Pursuit of Sustainable Income: Navigating Dividend Strategies

Research Showcase

Michael Hodel, Morningstar / Alex Bryan, Morningstar / Travis Miller, Morningstar / Jeremy Glaser, Morningstar

Dividend strategies have an enduring and core role in portfolio design for retirees. In this session, editor Jeremy Glaser leads a panel of Morningstar experts to explore the power and perils of dividend investing.

A Fiduciary Standard: Past, Present, and Future

Research Showcase

David Blanchett, Morningstar / Paul Ellenbogen, Morningstar / Aron Szapiro, Morningstar / Christine Benz, Morningstar

While implementation details and timelines for fiduciary regulation are being worked out in Washington, asset managers and advisors are continuing to adapt to an environment in which clients' best interests are their top priority. Morningstar experts will discuss the effects of a fiduciary standard for asset managers, wealth management firms, and investors.

New Fintech Technologies and Companies That Will Impact Wealth Managers

Research Showcase

Adley Bowden, PitchBook / Colin Plunkett, Morningstar / Rick Summer, Morningstar

You have heard the buzzword "fintech" and recognize companies like Betterment, WealthSimple, and SoFi, but wonder how it could impact you and your clients. In this session, we will discuss current trends in fintech, emerging companies of note, and thoughts on how these companies are going to impact advisors.

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.

Introduction to Behavioral Finance and Advising

Research Showcase

Ray Sin, Morningstar / Michael Leung, Morningstar

In this session, you'll gain an understanding of investor psychology biases, the dangers they pose to investors, and how you can help your clients overcome them. We'll provide you with a framework for understanding why and when these biases affect investor behavior, and what you can do about them.

Beyond the Fiduciary Rule: Policy Developments That Could Impact Investors and Investing

Research Showcase

Aron Szapiro, Morningstar / Jake Spiegel, Morningstar, Jon Rekenthaler, Morningstar

In this session, Morningstar researchers lead us through the implications of a number of policy developments and their potential impact on investors, including the implications of tax reform proposals, enlarged health savings accounts, and efforts to expand workplace retirement plan coverage to more workers and include more lifetime income options.

1 p.m.–2 p.m.

Does it Pay to Invest in Companies With Economic Moats?

Research Showcase

Moderated by Dan Lefkovitz, Morningstar / Andrew Lane, Morningstar / Bridget Weishaar, Morningstar / Michael Waterhouse, Morningstar

A focus on companies with competitive advantages, or economic moats, is a hallmark of Morningstar’s equity analysis. Moats drive long-term profitability. But moats on their own are insufficient. Valuation is key to outperforming the market as stock prices eventually converge with fair value. In this session, our analysts will reveal where in today's market investors can buy moats at a discount.

New Multi-Asset Portfolio Analytics and the Latest in Target-Date Fund Research

Research Showcase

Jeff Holt, Morningstar / Nick Vassilos, Morningstar

Morningstar is committed to improving its fixed income data and analytic capabilities. Learn about upcoming improvements in cash flow, credit, and exposure analytics data. As a distinct topic, we will reveal trends in target-date funds based on our recently published research.

The Latest Techniques in Behavioral Finance for Advisors

Research Showcase

Steve Wendel, Morningstar / Samantha Lamas, Morningstar

Do you want to learn practical behavioral science techniques to help your clients overcome common psychological obstacles? In this session, we'll share some of the latest research for each stage of the advising process—including marketing, onboarding, planning, and relationship maintenance. We'll also look at how each age group has different needs, and the specific tools you can use to target them.

2 p.m.–3 p.m.

Break in Exhibit Hall

3 p.m.–3:30 p.m.

Opening Remarks with Kunal Kapoor

Kunal Kapoor, CEO, Morningstar

The financial industry is in the midst of an intense period of flux. Today’s investor has more choice than ever and, for many, that choice has created a great burden. Investors need strong stewards of their capital acting in their best interest to help secure a bright financial future for themselves and their families. Learn how our latest research and innovations are helping firms better support their clients and serve a new generation of investors.

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.–7 p.m.

Registration Open

7 a.m.–8 a.m.

Breakfast in the Exhibit Hall

8 a.m.–9 a.m.

Future of Financial Planning in the Digital Age

General Session

Michael Kitces, Pinnacle Advisory Group

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.

10 a.m.-11 a.m.

Break in Exhibit Hall

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 / Mark Finn, T. Rowe Price

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


Paul Ellis, Paul Ellis Consulting / Jeffrey Gitterman, Gitterman Wealth Management / Moderated by Jon 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

From Liar's Poker to The Big Short to his latest, The Undoing Project, Michael Lewis has proven himself one of America's greatest living true storytellers. In this wide-ranging discussion, he'll provide his take on the financial markets, sports, and more.

1:40 p.m.–2:40 p.m.

Value (Index) Investors Club

Track: Passive/Strategic Beta

Moderated by Alex Bryan / Ronen Israel, AQR / 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 / Ken Baumgartner, Wellington Management

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 / 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.

Best Business Partners for the Next Decade

General Session

Laura Lutton, Morningstar / Gregg Warren, 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.

4:40 p.m.–5:30 p.m.

"I took the road less travelled by..." Comments by John C. Bogle

General Session

John C. Bogle, Vanguard

Vanguard founder John C. Bogle will talk about the creation of the first index mutual fund and the long journey to index-fund dominance. He'll also comment on the tension between business strategy options for active fund managers and their fiduciary duty to their fund shareholders, the differences between TIFs and ETFs, and some personal reflections on his 65 years in the mutual fund industry. This session will be broadcast via a live video stream.

5:30 p.m.–7 p.m.

Reception in Exhibit Hall

7 a.m.–12 p.m.

Registration Open

7 a.m.–8 a.m.

Breakfast in Exhibit Hall

8 a.m.–8:50 a.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.

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

Moderated by Sarah Bush, Morningstar / Sonal Desai, Franklin Templeton / Dan Ivascyn, PIMCO / Rick Rieder, 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 a.m.–11:30 a.m.

Break in Exhibit Hall

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 / Marta 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 Cara Esser / Sheila Amoroso, Franklin Templeton / John Miller, Nuveen / Bob DiMella, 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. At the Hyatt Regency Chicago, you'll be just steps away from Lake Michigan, dining, shopping, and more.

Where You’ll Stay

Unwind at the Hyatt Regency Chicago after a full day at the conference. The hotel is located right on the Chicago River in the center of the city. Get a special hotel rate if you book by August 15.

Hyatt Regency Chicago

151 East Wacker Drive

Chicago, IL, 60601

Morningstar does not hire or authorize anyone to contact you to book your hotel rooms at the 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:

Thank You to Our Sponsors

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See you at the conference.