As I type, I’m 28,530 feet in the air and Boston-bound for Charles Schwab’s annual IMPACT conference. IMPACT is an industry-focused conference specifically for registered investment advisors, so it is with a high degree of sarcasm that I say this is a who’s-who of the world’s most socially impressive people. This is like Super Bowl Week for former high school mathletes. But I love it just the same.

With that context out of the way, I’m going to be posting updates throughout the week and sharing tidbits from the conference. There’s not a whole lot to report yet other than the fact that the seat next to me is quire fortuitously vacant, so here’s a quick pre-conference ranking of the speakers/lecturers I’m most excited to hear:

  1. Kenneth French (Professor and Economist)—If you’ve read our newsletters for any length of time, you’ve seen us reference research and findings from Fama and French. Well, this is the aforementioned French. He’s currently the Roth Family Distinguished Professor of Finance at Dartmouth’s Tusk School of Business and has previously been on faculty at MIT, Yale and Chicago’s Booth School of Business. On Thursday morning he’s talking about the new Fama-French five factor investment model.
  2. Greg Valliere (Political Strategist)—I like nerding out to this kind of stuff. As a long-term D.C. connection, frequent speaker at IMPACT and current Chief Global Strategist of a formidable investment advisory firm, Valliere does a nice job making politics and policy relevant to investment decisions. He’s speaking in the conference-opener today along with a few Schwab big-timers like Jeffrey Kleintop (Schwab’s Chief Global Investment Strategist) and Liz Ann Sonders (Schwab’s Chief Investment Strategist).
  3. Derrick Feldman (Researcher)—As a Millennial, nothing brings me more joy than hearing what experts have to say about Millennials. So, his workshop entitled “Cracking the Millennial Code with Clients, Prospects and Employees” should be good for something—either snark or action steps. I’m sure I’ll report back.
  4. David Brooks (Author, Commentator)—David Brooks has it easy this week. He’s speaking at the tail-end of the conference during the last keynote address. Sure, he may be left with a lot to follow up on and very little to say, but he also gets to speak following a bloody mary fueled brunch on Friday. What could go wrong?
  5. Alan Mulally (Former CEO of Ford Motor Company)—Full disclosure and explanation: We own Ford for a lot of clients and have been buying positions as of late. Mulally also currently serves on the board of Alphabet/Google, another company we own in many portfolios. For obvious reason, his perspectives are worth hearing.

 

Beyond that, there will be a decent amount of networking, some business operations-focused seminars and a few jovial social gatherings. Truthfully, if the speakers above represent anticipated high points then the most cringe-worthy moment is sure to be a room full of 50+ year old investment advisors formally announcing the death of the Whip / Nae Nae dance by flailing their uncoordinated arms to the nonexistent rhythm in their own heads. Who am I kidding? I can’t wait for that. I’ll make sure there’s video.

Be sure to follow along on the blog and on Twitter throughout the week.

 

Andrew Hall is the Vice President of Narwhal Capital Management. He does not dance at conferences…unless something goes terribly wrong.

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