Morningstar Investment Conference 2009

by Martin Vaughan on 30 May 2009

I was lucky enough to be able to attend the Morningstar Investment Conference this year and it again confirmed my opinion that this is for me one of the most worthwhile conferences of the year.For those that don’t know the conference is two days of intensive presentations discussion and debate by some very high profile figures within the investment world and included alongside this are a couple of sessions presented by Morningstar analysts giving insight into their latest developments and explaining the methodology they use when researching funds. If you regularly use Morningstar’s statistical research or their fund ratings then having this insight allows you to better understand how they have given the fund the rating they have and what they have done to arrive at that decision.

One of the main benefits of the conference is that the fund managers who present are invited. Morningstar stress that the speakers are not paid to speak, in addition they are not there to ‘sell’ their new fund which therefore means as a delegate the fund managers presentations are focussed much more on their style, their methodology for stock selection, their processes and their justification for doing what they are doing and taking the approach that they are.

There were some very interesting speakers this year including Richard Buxton (Schroders) Sanjeev Shah (Fidelity) and Stephen Snowden (Aegon) amongst others. They were all very different, they all operated in a different space and all provided a great insight into their thoughts, their style how they work and what they believe will happen over the next few months and years.

By being able to listen to the fund managers you are also able to get some idea of how they think, you are able to start to understand what they have done previously, how much they use technical analysis and what other influences they have on the selection of the stocks in their portfolios.

The conference was also very interesting not least because of the current economic climate. We have just seen the stock market increase by over 30% in recent months are there was much discussion about whether this means the recovery to is on its way or whether this is just an opportunity for some shareholder to get rid of stock they don’t want.

For any paraplanner who wanted to get a better understanding of Morningstar’s methodology or wanted to have the opportunity to listen to and question leading fund managers this was a fantastic conference and one which I would recommend to you for next year.

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