Morningstar® Investment Conference


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. 

On the Agenda


Agenda is subject to change.


Social Comparisons and Financial Well-Being

Sarah Newcomb, Ph.D., Morningstar

Humans have a natural drive for social comparisons to 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 with others and how we feel about ourselves – when it comes tomoney. 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.


* This session is not eligible for CE credit.



Evaluating the Federal Government’s Approach to Helping Investors

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.


* This session is not eligible for CE credit.


The Bond-Pickers’ Guide to Fixed-Income Strategies

Moderator: Sarah Bush, Morningstar Research Services LLC / 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.


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.


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.


What Drives Investor Success?

Steve Wendel, Ph.D., Morningstar

Morningstar has always striven to help individual investors succeed, and we play a pivotal role by providing them with the right tools and information to help them make the right decisions. However, this conversation must be extended to identify what drives this success. From behavioral science, we know that information alone is not enough because individuals face many other barriers to success that lead to an array of challenges. This presentation tackles key questions surrounding investor success such as: Who are investors? What are their goals? Are investors succeeding? What are the drivers of their success? What should the industry do to better enable this success?


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.


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.


A Conversation With Mellody Hobson, President, Ariel Investments

Host: Laura Lutton, Morningstar Research Services LLC


New Tools for Sustainable Investing

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.


* This session is not eligible for CE credit.


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.


Global Equity Investing in a World of Blurring Borders

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


Blockchain: Evolution or Revolution

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.

See you next year.