The Future of Finance: Ten Key Talks from the 67th CFA Institute Annual Conference
These days, far too many financial industry conferences feature CEOs and CFOs talking up their companies or academics touting their most recent papers. That makes it tough for curious and committed finance pros to learn anything of use. This year’s recently concluded CFA Institute Annual Conference in Seattle was, as in year’s past, refreshingly different, with many presenters sharing learned opinion, startling new perspectives, and novel ways of thinking about both the world at large and the practice of investing.
A few notable examples: Nobel Laureate William F. Sharpe discussed not only his current research interests but also what he considers to be some of the most intractable problems in finance (think retirement security). Nate Silver, who gained fame with his stunningly accurate US election predictions, discussed the limits of big data — an important message, given the loud buzz emanating from this latest technological frontier. And “smart beta,” one of the hottest topics of the past several years, was the subject of both scrutiny and scorn by Paul Bouchey, CFA, managing director of research at Parametric Portfolio Associates.
Highlights from ten key talks follow below. You can find more of our coverage on the Annual Conference blog.
- Carl Richards: Six Things the Investment Industry Can Do to Change the World: “We’re in a moment in time right now where there is so much change going on in our industry, really revolutionary change,” Carl Richards says.
- Investing in the New World Order: Fundamental Analysis Is No Longer Enough: Income disparity, geopolitical instability, political polarization, high debt, and central banks in uncharted territory have changed the reality for investors.
- Bill Sharpe: Past, Present, and Future Financial Thinking (Video): Nobel laureate Bill Sharpe sat down with Kepos Capital’s Robert Litterman to discuss theory and practice in investment management.
- 21st Century Asset Management: Splitting the Difference between Fama and Shiller: Although he has made a living by exploiting anomalies associated with such factors as value and momentum, Cliff Asness also believes that markets are efficient, if imperfectly so.
- Chris Douvos, CFA: Tectonic Shift Taking Place in the Venture Capital Industry: The venture capital industry is changing dramatically and maintaining the status quo is not an option.
- Tomáš Sedláček: The Economics of Good and Evil (Video): How the stories of the Bible and the myths of ancient Greece and Rome informed the creation of many modern economic theories — and consequently its models.
- Shifting Sands in the Hedge Fund World: Investors fell in love with hedge funds after the Internet bubble burst, but beginning around 2004 something went terribly off track.
- C. Thomas Howard on Behavioral Finance: Reject the Model, Not the Real World: Conventional financial theory uses volatility as a proxy for risk, but C. Thomas Howard suggests that volatility is merely a proxy for emotion, making it measurable.
- Crowdsourcing Investment Insights: How and Why It Works: A trio of entrepreneurs explain how their startup companies are harnessing the power of social media and online collaboration to enhance investment research.
- Putting Investors First: What Do Clients Want from Their Wealth Managers?: A panel of seasoned wealth management professionals fleshed out a pressing question: How can private wealth managers better serve their investors?
Please note that the content of this site should not be construed as investment advice, nor do the opinions expressed necessarily reflect the views of CFA Institute.
Photo credit: W. Scott Mitchell