CHICAGO – The 2019 Morningstar Investment Conference wasted no time answering the most pressing questions on advisors’ minds.
From understanding investors’ fear of a recession and how they behave when making key investment decisions to holistic planning and aligning portfolios to investor values, Morningstar’s programing took a dive-right-in approach.
Morningstar CEO Kunal Kapoor gave the keynote address to a packed auditorium. Titled “No Better Time for Great Advice,” Kapoor emphasized transparency in data and fees and supported the fiduciary model leaving little doubt for advisors who are still wondering if the best interest approach is the way forward for the financial services industry.
Kapoor called on advisors to act in their clients’ best interest. “We follow values over standard industry practices,” Kapoor said, challenging advisors to be transparent with clients on fees.
The audience might have found some relief when presenter Sonal Desai of Franklin Templeton answered their questions about the current economy and investor fears of a recession. Desai gave the U.S. economy an excellent report card saying that the economy is on “solid footing.”
But conference goers asked even more difficult questions of Desai and the other presenters, expressing concerns over trade wars with China, currency and the Fed.
Closing keynote speaker Morgan Housel, a partner at Collaborative Fund, answered the audience’s questions about investor behavior, highlighting the disconnect between data saying how investors will behave under certain market conditions, versus how they actually behave in the real world.
In the exhibition hall, a large sign spans the right side of the room that reads “sustainability.” Morningstar and its exhibitors went to great lengths to openly discuss investor values and ESG possibilities at this year’s conference.
The push in recent years toward holistic and values-based planning has left advisors asking industry figures, “how do I align my client’s values with their portfolio?”
Morningstar replied by debuting a new virtual reality technology to attendees that uses values-based questions to help clients and advisor find the balance between returns and values and gives clients a way to visualize the impact their ESG investments have on the world.
Values, investor fears and behaviors, VR technology and a thorough health check on the economy, and that’s just day one. Attendees asked Morningstar the questions they have been asking themselves about the future of the industry, business models and how they can better understand and serve their clients.
AdvisorNews Managing Editor Cassie Miller may be reached at cassie.miller@Adnewsfeedback.com. Cassie has an extensive background in magazine writing, editing and design. Follow her on Twitter @ANCassieM.