3 themes to watch at the 2019 Morningstar Investment Conference

Morningstar 2019 Conference Preview Themes

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Next week, a good chunk of the financial services industry will descend on Chicago for the 2019 Morningstar Investment Conference (#MICUS). Every year, this event attracts the greatest minds in investment management, from RIAs to ETF issuers, fintech providers and individual investors, to provide updates on the latest developments in financial advice and share new perspectives on key trends impacting the industry today.  

As such, three members of the Gregory FCA team are gearing up to attend the event. Before hitting the road, we asked these colleagues about themes they expect to be prominently discussed at the event, and those they are looking forward to hearing about the most. Read below and follow along with them on Twitter from the conference:

1. Shifting role of advisor from investment manager to life coach

Karyn Piechule, Vice President (@karynpiechule)

While attending another recent financial conference late last year in Washington, D.C., one of the biggest themes that emerged from panels and keynotes was the idea of financial professionals being seen as more of “financial life coaches,” than impersonal vendors. Throughout the industry, a bigger philosophical shift may be taking place, where the goal is to provide more than standard investment and financial planning advice. Rather, advisors are seeking to truly understand clients and their families (e.g., likening this to a high-end boutique hotel, a concierge who knows the pillow preference of a guest, or repeat turndown service requests, etc.).

What’s interesting about the agenda at Morningstar this year is that many panels seem to echo that sentiment. We have “The Psychology of Investing,” “The Growing Role of the Advisor in Delivering Retirement Plan Advice,” “Behavioral Practice Management: Challenges Advisors Face With Clients and Their Business,” and more on the agenda, which could weave in this bigger recent industry push to integrate with a client’s financial household much more significantly than ever before.

2. Navigating uncertainty

Trevor Davis, Account Executive (@Trevor_R_Davis)

There’s a larger theme at play in the global economy that has found its way into Morningstar this year: uncertainty. Both day-one and day-two keynote speakers offer unique takes on the uncertain times ahead in today’s market.

Day one features Dr. Sonal Desai, CIO of Franklin Templeton Fixed Income Group, discussing how to find opportunity in the fixed-income space amid a shifting paradigm in the global economy. When we talk to clients, there seems to be a general consensus on which sectors are proving more resilient right now, and many point toward mortgage-backed securities or emerging market sovereign debt as the “safest” fixed-income sectors to watch today. We look forward to seeing whether Dr. Desai agrees with these areas of opportunity.  

The day two keynote from Doris Kearns Goodwin, presidential historian and Pulitzer Prize-winning author, titled “Leadership in Turbulent Times” is especially intriguing because it will focus on presidential leadership during some of the most significant periods in history. With advisors, investors and the general public more tuned in to the intersection of politics and the economy than ever before, it will be interesting to see how she tackles this challenging subject and communicates her research.

3. How technology is disrupting the future of finance

Rachelle Gaynor, Senior Account Executive (@Rachelle_Gaynor)

It’s no secret that the emerging fintech industry has kept advisors on their toes, anxiously waiting to see whether new technologies would ultimately help or hurt their practices. Although initially met with fears that technology could devalue or even replace the role of advisors, fintech seems to be getting greater recognition in the industry as an important tool that should be embraced and strategically implemented rather than ignored. This will be the focus of one of the breakout sessions we’re looking forward to most at Morningstar, titled “2019 Advisor Tech Trends.” Featuring well-respected names in the fintech landscape such as Joel Bruckenstein, producer of the T3 Technology Hub, this panel discussion will explore key themes driving the fintech landscape in 2019 and how advisors can utilize the latest tools and technologies to maximize efficiencies in their practices and better serve clients.

Aside from this panel, the theme of technology’s impact on everyone from RIAs to retail investors can be observed throughout the three-day conference agenda. As such, we anticipate it to be one of the hot-button issues dominating conversations during the event and beyond. For the latest updates on the fintech landscape and exclusive interviews with some of the biggest players in the industry, be sure to check out our new “Fintech Fix” video series.

Heading to the 2019 Morningstar Investment Conference? Stop by the Gregory FCA booth (#162) to say hello and discuss how your firm can take advantage of these trends in your PR and marketing strategy. If you can’t make it to the event, be sure to follow Karyn Piechule, Trevor Davis and Rachelle Gaynor on Twitter, where they will be posting real-time updates from the conference floor.