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Huntington Beach, California
Over 2,500 traders and financial advisors have descended on Huntington Beach, California — a.ok.a. Surf City USA —for a financial conference.
A financial conference on a seaside? In Huntington Beach, residence to 9 miles of shoreline and the world center of beach volleyball?
Yep. And I imply, it’s on the seaside.
And who’re attendees coming to see? They’re coming to see large stars.
Wait, who? They’re coming to see hip-hop legends Method Man (Wu-Tang Clan) & Redman (Def Squad), who will carry out Tuesday night time.
They’re not the solely stars. There might be financial luminaries as nicely. Jeremy Siegel from Wharton/WisdomTree. Jeff Kleintop from Charles Schwab. Emily Roland from John Hancock. Cliff Asness from AQR. Jeff Gundlach from DoubleLine. ETF and commodity maven Jan van Eck.
But that is a kind of conferences the place the social interplay is as essential as the content material.
Reinventing the financial conference
Welcome to FutureProof, billed as “the largest gathering of top-tier wealth administration professionals, CEOs, CTOs, COOs, and fast-growing financial advisors.”
It’s the brainchild of Barry Ritholtz, co-founder, chairman, and chief investment officer of Ritholtz Wealth Management, and CEO Josh Brown.
“Coming out of the pandemic, it was apparent to us that the conventional financial conference was previous its sell-by date,” Ritholtz advised me. “Everybody was uninterested in lectures and tedious panels forecasting the future in large windowless conference facilities. Instead, we imagined what it will be like if occasions have been extra social and interactive and helpful and (dare I say) enjoyable! That was how FutureProof happened.”
Yoga? It’s so 2008 besides…
Those of you accustomed to going to conferences with a Yoga class at 5:45 a.m. on the agenda (who goes to these issues?), put together for the New Hipness.
Straight Yoga? It’s so 2008. Oh positive, there is a yoga class, however you will have a particular teacher. You’ll have:
Seaside Yoga: The Path to Mindfulness with a Goldman Sachs Instructor. Seriously? Goldman Sachs will educate me find out how to do yoga? What’s subsequent? Acupuncture with Morgan Stanley? Chiropractic with Wells Fargo? Massage remedy with JP Morgan?
Keep dancing, you fools
Forget yoga. There’s a concerted effort to maintain everybody dancing and swimming, beginning with the FutureProof Kickoff Party (“chill out, unwind and join”) and persevering with with:
Health is Wealth: Surfing. “We invite you to affix us and embrace the thrill of studying to surf!”
Dance Culture: An Interactive Session. “Immerse your self in the rhythm, actions, and wealthy historical past of Salsa dancing!”
OK that is an enchancment, however I feel I’d slightly go to:
Battle of the Buds: Wine vs. Craft Beer. “Engage in a vigorous and interactive debate as you discover the distinctive traits, taste profiles and meals pairings of each wine and craft beer.”
Now I’m beginning to get . I’ll should squeeze that in between:
Mastering Pizza Dough: Techniques for any Home Pizza Maker. “Learn the secrets and techniques to attaining the perfect texture, taste, and elasticity as you discover totally different kneading, proofing and shaping strategies.”
Let’s Roll: The Art of Sushi Making. “This interactive session gives a novel alternative to unleash your creativity and refine your knife expertise.” Refine your knife expertise? OK…is likely to be safer to simply go to Mastering the Grill: Barbecue Techniques.
Oh yeah. The financial content material
Last yr’s conference attracted 2,000 attendees, about half largely younger RIAs (Registered Investment Advisors), a number of hundred energetic dealer varieties, ETF sponsors and a smattering of distributors.
Not surprisingly, a lot of the content material is geared towards RIAs, with matters like, “The Personal Brand Blueprint: 5 Easy Steps to Attract High-Value Clients in 2023.”
For traders, there may be the ubiquitous tech bull Dan Ives from Wedbush, with “Five Tech Predictions for 2024.”
DoubleLine’s Jeff Gundlach will return once more this yr, and will communicate with my CNBC colleague Scott Wapner on Halftime Report on Tuesday.
I’ll reasonable a panel on “Global Macro Predictions” with Professor Siegel, Jeff Kleintop and Emily Roland.
Morningstar may also be out in drive, with stalwarts Christine Benz, Jeffrey Ptak, Ben Johnson and PitchBook’s Nizar Tarhuni speaking about all the pieces from retirement to 401(ok) planning to the issue of market timing to personal fairness investing.
Ritholtz Wealth Management’s bloggers and podcasters Michael Batnick and Ben Carlson may also dispense recommendation.
But even amidst this ocean of content material over 4 days, the emphasis remains to be on private interplay. There’s quite a few “networking dinners” which, if they’re something like final yr’s, are large events for younger RIAs and traders to get collectively and socialize.
And that’s the place a lot of the actual motion occurs. Last yr I met a 35-year previous RIA at one in every of these events on the seaside on a Monday night time. He had flown in together with his staff the day earlier than.
“I introduced all seven members of my staff,” he advised me. “It’s a team-building factor. I’m going to see a bunch of the audio system, however largely I’m right here to fulfill different individuals who do what I do.”
And that appears to be the theme: “Meeting different individuals who do what I do.” RIAs. Young traders. Financial stars. Bloggers. ETF sponsors. Hip-hop stars.
It’s an odd brew, however exhilarating.
Who is aware of what might occur? Maybe Method Man will announce Wu-Tang Clan is occurring tour and is launching an ETF.
Hey, a typical conference it isn’t.