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Bright Lights, Big City: Reflections from the Dec 5th Morningstar Thought Leadership Forum in NYC

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There's nothing quite like New York City at the holidays, so it was my pleasure to join our team and our customers at the final Morningstar thought leadership forum of 2018. If you weren't able to attend, @Lakman summarized the key take-aways here. We covered everything from asset management to advisor trends, ESG/Sustainability and dug into some serious math with our quant and product team leaders for our Global Risk Model. Still as a relative newbie (I've been with Morningstar 18 months), this was my first Forum in which I was presenting. Here were my aha moments:

  1. Trying to keep tabs on all the latest technology from Alexa to video chat to virtual financial coaches seems overwhelming and we need to figure out how to cut through the noise to determine what's best for how investor clients prefer to engage with advisors and asset management firms.
  2. The need to equip advisors with risk modeling tools to help their clients better understand macro-economic shifts and other scenarios will continue to increase as advisors are seen more as financial coaches and "therapists." While risk modeling is still extremely important in investment management, the consensus from my side conversations was that advisors were looking for sophisticated, yet easy-to-use tools to help mitigate investors' fear when they read the latest economic headlines.
  3. While we didn't explicitly cover Bitcoin in this forum, I did have a great conversation with one of our clients who has worked extensively in Brazil regarding the increased accessibility to investing in developing nations. I found this to be a fascinating point of how bitcoin "democratized" investing such that those who may have started there or at least were exposed to it, now have different expectations as to how they should access advice or investing vehicles. I'm looking forward to getting our Bitcoin researchers' opinion on this topic!


    That's all for me now! I look forward to what's to come in 2019. If you attended the Forum in NYC, I'd love your feedback either below or via private message. If you didn't attend the Forum, feel free to add any questions or comments for our consideration for planning in 2019!