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Simple, but Not Easy

Hello, and welcome to Simple, but Not Easy, where we turn complicated financial developments into actionable ideas. This is a podcast from Morningstar’s Wealth Group, where we equip financial advisors with our best ideas to remove friction and help clients achieve goals.


Episode 112

The Magnificent Seven continue to capture the attention of advisors and investors, dominating U.S. equity performance over the last year. Will this trend continue throughout 2024? Will growth stocks continue to beat value? What about large versus small? And what is 2023's signal about where markets are headed this year? We're delighted to be joined by John Owens, Senior Portfolio Manager for Morningstar's Select Equity Strategies, and Paul Tait, Portfolio Specialist at Morningstar Wealth. Together, they help unpack the landscape for U.S. stocks in a digestible manner.
Episode 111

The topics we're discussing today align with the recent release of Morningstar Wealth's 2024 Market Outlook. A recession seemed to be the consensus view entering the year, but markets love to fool the masses, and a stock market rally followed. However, the rally was not evenly distributed. Bonds, for example, remain in a multi-year drawdown, and many investors are questioning their role in a portfolio. With this as the backdrop, what actions make sense to support clients? In today's episode, we're delighted to have Morningstar Wealth's CIO of the Americas, Marta Norton, and Chief U.S. Economist, Preston Caldwell with us to dig into the outlook, share their perspectives, and, as always, be sure to address the implications on client portfolios and any suggested actions to take
Episode 110

A lot has already been said about the potential of artificial intelligence, or AI, but how are people actually engaging with it? And how should investors think about their AI exposure in a portfolio? Morningstar has invested heavily in generative AI, with Morningstar Mo taking the stage at our investment conference, and in a first, we're delighted to be joined by a special guest: Mo the AI character. We’ll also be joined by Adley Bowden, Head of Individual Investor and Grady Burkett, Portfolio Manager of the Hare strategy. This marks the start of a new season of Simple But Not Easy, with Nick VanDerSchie taking the mic from Jonathan Linstra, whom we thank for his fabulous insights. Together, let's turn AI speculation into real-world application.
Episode 109

Financial technology is going through a new wave of change, with artificial intelligence – or AI – taking the world by storm. But the wealth tech space is already incredibly complex, with literally hundreds of tech providers battling for market share across the advisor workflow. So, what does Ezra Group, a prominent WealthTech consultant, have to say about this? How can we get ahead of this change? We're delighted to be joined by Craig Iskowitz, Founder of Ezra Group. Together, we’ll dig into his latest technology predictions, covering AI, integration opportunities, fractional outsourcing, and more. A key takeaway: "Meet once a year with your team and talk about your technology."
Episode 108

The need for great financial advice continues to grow, with a landscape we haven’t witnessed in 15 years. So, what does BlackRock, the world’s largest asset manager, have to say about this? What might we expect from here? In this episode, we’ll dig into the latest advice trends, covering the use of models, behavioral application, and evolving investors’ needs. We're delighted to be joined by Liz Koehler, Managing Director and Head of Advisor Engagement from BlackRock.
Episode 107

We look at innovations and megatrends that financial advisors should watch for. We start with the big problems that financial professionals are attempting to solve, then discuss prevalent trends in product and technology that support better client outcomes. This is a practical discussion with an eye on the future, where we seek to arm you with everything you might need to stay ahead. In this episode, we are joined by Evan Rapoport, Founder and CEO of SMArtX, along with Matt Apkarian, Associate Director, Product Development at Cerulli Associates.
Episode 106

The complexity of operating a successful financial advice practice continues to grow and significant challenges still exist in operating an effective practice. So, in this episode, we take a 30,000-foot view of financial advisor challenges and dig into the importance of data and regulations in overcoming these challenges. Whether it is growing or defending your practice, we share expert opinions on how to navigate it. In this episode, we are joined by Nick VanDerSchie, Head of Strategy and Execution at Morningstar Wealth, and Brian Costello, our Head of Data Aggregation Strategy and Governance.
Episode 105

Warren Buffet readily admits “I make many mistakes” when referencing his own investment portfolio. This begs the question, where does that leave the rest of us? We know that today's market uncertainty can surface the best and worst of our investing behaviors. For financial advisors, what are some of the behavioral pitfalls to avoid for clients? And what opportunities can you seize? We're joined by two experts to help us dig into these important questions - Michael Laughlin, Head of Portfolio Specialists, and Samantha Lamas, Senior Behavioral Researcher at Morningstar.
Episode 104

What are the positive client messages we can share leading into 2023? With inflation and a recession on everyone’s minds, what actions make sense to support clients? The topics we’re discussing today align with the recent release of Morningstar Investment Management’s 2023 outlook titled “the positives of investing in this environment”. In today’s episode, I’m delighted to have Marta Norton and Philip Straehl with us to dig into the outlook, share their perspective, and as always, be sure to address the implications on client portfolios and any suggested actions to be taken.
Episode 103

Direct indexing is becoming a key addition to financial advisors’ toolkits. It provides the ability to tailor an index, like removing a stock or even industry, which can bring the fun back to investing and help with after-tax outcomes. In 2022, Morningstar launched a direct indexing offering for financial advisors and joined the ‘fun’. So, what’s all the fuss about? What are the salient points you need to know? Who’s it right for? And what are the thorny issues to weigh? We're joined by Sheryl Rowling, Editorial Director, and Andy Kunzweiler, Portfolio Manager for Morningstar’s direct indexing proposition.
Episode 102

Across the globe, the financial advice community continues to navigate a significant period of change. The need for financial advice has only increased, intensifying the demands placed on advisors and their most valuable commodity - their time spent with clients. Morningstar's Wealth group has also evolved by providing an integrated suite of offerings to equip advisors as they seek to empower investor success. This environment of increasing global demand for advice, and the evolution of new and improved capabilities available to advisors can be summarized in one word - opportunity.
Episode 101

Stagflation is now on the radar for financial advisors and the investors they serve. At the same time, our latest research shows that investor sentiment is plummeting. With this in mind, we are delighted to have two of our most senior researchers who will help us unpack the news headlines, where we are joined by Philip Straehl, Morningstar’s Global Head of Research for Investment Management, and Tyler Dann, our Head of Research for the Americas.
Episode 100

Investors can become confused in today’s challenging climate, and understandably so. It can be difficult for advisors and investors of all types and sizes. In this new season of Simple but Not Easy, we welcome Jonathan Linstra as your new host, along with two of Morningstar’s investment chiefs, Dan Kemp and Marta Norton, who offer straight talk to help navigate this difficult environment. They also shed light on investment lessons and what they look for. We hope you enjoy the episode, from the team at Morningstar Wealth.
Episode 99

Stay tuned for our 100th episode up next! We are reinvigorating the podcast going forward, seeking to equip financial advisors with ideas to remove friction and help clients achieve goals. But before we do, we'd also like to thank everyone who contributed to the first 100 episodes, delivering value for our listeners through both calm and stormy waters. To that end, in this episode we showcase the most downloaded so far, which still has special relevance today - investing amidst uncertainty. It covers inflation, interest rates, and context on how to navigate it all.
Episode 98

"The most important quality for an investor is temperament, not intellect". Investing is therefore a matter of good behavior. So what behaviors give advisors and their investors an edge? What behaviors are destructive? In this episode, which recycles evergreen behavioral messages and cites specific studies, Sarah Newcomb, director of financial psychology at Morningstar, Inc., and Ryan Murphy, global head of behavioral insights, discuss all things relating to behavioral science. They cover emotions brought on by market loss, how they can affect decisions, cognitive biases to watch out for and ways investors can make better decisions using behavioral science.
Episode 0

Getting personal might elicit nervousness, but why does it seem so antithetical to investing? We explore personalization and customization in financial practices: if you’re an investor, how well does your financial advisor know you? And advisors, how much time have you taken to get to know your clients? The conversation, which features Matthew Radgowski and Marta Norton as well as Head of Decision Sciences Ryan Murphy, explores Morningstar's belief that getting personal can be good for investors AND advisors—but it may be more complicated than you think.
Episode 0

Good decisions are often built on good forecasts. But forecasting is hard, in part because it requires us to be aware of both what we know and what we don’t—or even can’t—know. Morningstar Investment Management Global Chief Investment Officer Dan Kemp and Global Head of Decision Sciences Ryan Murphy discuss what good forecasting looks like.
Episode 96

We present our thoughts on the recent Berkshire Hathaway conclave. Mr. Buffett and Mr. Munger discussed their firm’s ups and downs and weighed in on such topics as their latest investment activity, inflation, cryptocurrency, and what makes their company unique. And we feature the views of Head of U.S. Equity Strategies Michael Corty and Senior Portfolio Manager John Owens, who bring years of experience to the table when giving their points of view on what Buffett and Munger had to say.
Episode 95

We’ve got the same thing on our mind as the rest of the market—uncertainty. What’s going to happen? Why? When? And what should we do about it? Well, in this episode, taken from a recently recorded webinar, we do our best to address those concerns. We also hope to allay some of the associated fears. To do so, we’ll hear from Tyler Dann, our Head of Research in the Americas; Ricky Williamson, a Portfolio Manager and our Head of U.S. Outcome-Based Strategies; and Paul Arnold, Co-Head of Asset Allocation Strategies.
Episode 0

Terry Hawkins, sales manager at Morningstar Investment Management and Paul Kaplan, research director for Morningstar Canada, discuss dollar-cost averaging, or the practice of investing slowly over time instead of in one lump sum. Research by Kaplan and others show that dollar-cost averaging might be expected to underperform a lump-sum approach. But what if it's what gets an investor into the markets?

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