June 2018 IssueLong scroll reading

Morningstar Minute

By David Snowball

The Mutual Fund Observer is the product of a virtual team and, when our colleagues from England and Trinidad were working with us, a virtual global team. Chip and I reside in Iowa, Ed and Sam in Illinois, Charles in California, Bob C in Ohio and Dennis in Montana. One of the great attractions of the Morningstar conference is that it gives us a chance to work side-by-side on interviews and stories, and to share quick and personal reactions to the ideas and personalities we encounter.

As ever, we’ll try to offer some quick responses in the form of end-of-day posts to the MFO Discussion Board and to the MFO Premium commentary.

Our agendas vary. Sam Lee is slated to contribute to Tuesday’s panel, “Crypto, Blockchain, and Lamborghinis, Oh My!” Charles and I will be in attendance, intent on photobombing Sam. The only real question is whether our “Blockchain Blockheads” and “Sam I Am” t-shirts arrive in time for the occasion.

Ed won’t be officially in attendance, but will be available to confabulate at local taverns and in our retreat after the conference. Chip might well be splitting time between tech-centered panels and giving her niece a tour of Chicago.

Charles and I split time between listening in on panels, meeting managers, chatting with MFO readers and looking for interesting leads among the 100 fund firms showing in the Exhibit Hall. So far I have time set for conversations with a series of managers:

  • Venk Reddy, Zeo
  • Jon Angrist, Cognios
  • Tom Stringfellow, Frost Investment
  • Tom Florence, 361 Capital
  • Arun David and (possibly “and/or”) Vince Rivers of JOHCM
  • Beini Zhou, Matthews Asia and particular Matthews Asia Value Fund

I’ll also report on the comments of two really smart guys: Jeremy Grantham of GMO and behavioral economist (also Nobel Prize winner) Daniel Kahneman.

Charles’s list overlaps mine just a bit:

  • Darin Leone, Portfolio Strategist, Manning & Napier,
  • Anne-Laurence Roucher, Portfolio Manager, Natixis ESG Funds
  • Venkatesh Reddy, Portfolio Manager, ZEOIX
  • David Lafferty, Chief Marketing Strategist, Natixis
  • Tom Stringfellow, CIO Frost
  • Kip Meadows, CEO Nottingham
  • Phil Bak, CEO Exponential ETFs

We will, with luck, have a chance to add to that list over the next 10 days. If you’d like to say “hi” to either of us, just drop us a note!


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About David Snowball

David Snowball, PhD (Massachusetts). Cofounder, lead writer. David is a Professor of Communication Studies at Augustana College, Rock Island, Illinois, a nationally-recognized college of the liberal arts and sciences, founded in 1860. For a quarter century, David competed in academic debate and coached college debate teams to over 1500 individual victories and 50 tournament championships. When he retired from that research-intensive endeavor, his interest turned to researching fund investing and fund communication strategies. He served as the closing moderator of Brill’s Mutual Funds Interactive (a Forbes “Best of the Web” site), was the Senior Fund Analyst at FundAlarm and author of over 120 fund profiles. David lives in Davenport, Iowa, and spends an amazing amount of time ferrying his son, Will, to baseball tryouts, baseball lessons, baseball practices, baseball games … and social gatherings with young ladies who seem unnervingly interested in him.