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Thursday, March 26, 2015

Will Hodge Wear Sunglasses For M*?

Reported by Neil Anderson, Managing Editor

Will Doug Hodge rebut Bill Gross while wearing a pair of his own sunglasses this June?

Yesterday Morningstar unveiled the full agenda for the 27th annual Morningstar Investment Conference, slated for June 24-26 at the giant McCormick Place convention center in the mutual fund ratings titan's hometown of Chicago. 26 mutual fund shops will have speaking slots. The keynote speakers will be: Sallie Krawcheck, chair of Ellevate Network and Pax Ellevate Management; Jeremy Grantham, co-founder and chief investment strategist at GMO [profile]; David Kelly, chief global strategists and head of the global market insights strategy team for J.P. Morgan Funds [profile]; and Hodge and Dan Ivascyn, CEO and group chief investment officer, respectively, of Pimco [profile].

Hodge and Ivascyn will make the closing keynote presentation of this year's conference, a year after then-Pimco bond king Bill Gross famously made his own keynote, in shades, at the 2014 conference. Three months later, Pimco and the rest of the fixed income world shook when Gross jumped ship for Janus [profile]. And now Hodge and Ivascyn can present their contrasting vision to Gross'.

Morningstar spokeswoman Carling Spelhaug tells MFWire that M*'s analysts create "the agenda each year based on the investing landscape with the goal of bringing the most relevant portfolio managers/thought leaders in front of advisors and other attendees."

"The objective of bringing the most relevant speakers in front of attendees takes precedence," Spelhaug says in an e-mailed statement, describing the "changes at Pimco" as "one of, if not the, dominant news story since Bill Gross' departure."

Prominent mutual fund firms have been repeat performers at the M* conference in the past. Pimco has had at least six key speaking slots at the conference in the past decade (including four by Gross himself). Over the same time frame, Vanguard had at least three, and Franklin Templeton and Legg Mason each had at least two. And that doesn't count the folks scheduled to speak this coming June.

Others slated to speak Morningstar's big conference this time around include:

  • Rob Lovelace of American Funds [profile] powerhouse Capital Group, specifically president of Capital Research and Management and grandson of the firm's founder;

  • Ronon Israel, principal at AQR [profile];

  • Matthew Raynor, managing director and head of sales for BlackRock's iShares [profile] U.S. wealth advisory efforts;

  • Diana Strandberg, senior vice president and director of international equity at Dodge & Cox [profile];

  • Finny Kuruvilla managing partner and PM at Eventide Asset Management [profile];

  • Jeffrey Mitchell, head of research for global asset allocation at Fidelity [profile];

  • Steve Romick, managing partner and PM at FPA [profile];

  • Ed Perks, equity group chief investment officer and PM at Franklin Templeton [profile];

  • Pradipta Chakrabortty, analyst, partner, and PM at Harding Loevner [profile];

  • Anne Lester, managing director and PM in the global multi-asset group at J.P. Morgan;

  • Gibson Smith (but not Gross), chief investment officer of fixed income at Janus;

  • Bob Boyda, senior managing director and PM at John Hancock [profile];

  • Mary Jane McQuillen, managing director, head of environmental social governance investment, and PM at Legg Mason's [profile] ClearBridge;

  • Andrew Adams, vice president and PM at Mairs & Power [profile];

  • Taizo Ishida, PM at Matthews Asia [profile];

  • Chade Meade, PM at Aster Investment Management's Meridian Funds [profile];

  • Hilary Irby, managing director and head of the "Investing with Impact" initiative at Morgan Stanley [profile];

  • Susan Wyderko, president and CEO of the Mutual Fund Directors Forum [profile];

  • Elaine Stokes, vice president and PM at Natixis' Loomis Sayles [profile];

  • David Kupperman, managing director and PM at Neuberger Berman [profile];

  • Bill Nygren, PM at Oakmark [profile];

  • David Lyon, CEO of Oranj;

  • Todd Ahlsten, chief investment officer and PM at Parnassus Investments [profile];

  • Joe Keefe, president and CEO of profile];

  • Kyle Ryan, executive vice president of Personal Capital Advisors;

  • Marc Seidner, managing director, chief investment officer of non-traditional strategies, and PM at Pimco;

  • Michael Arone, managing director and global head of portfolio strategy at State Street Global Advisors [profile];

  • Laird Landmann, PM at TCW [profile];

  • Michael Finke, professor at Texas Tech University;

  • Joe Davis (chief economist, principal, and head of the investment strategy group) and Doug Yones (head of domestic equity index/ETF product management) of Vanguard [profile];

  • Laura Geritz , PM at Wasatch Funds [profile];

  • and a host of folks from Morningstar itself. 

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